Crowd Power

Indiegogo Bends Its Own Rules, Lowers Fundraising Goal for Hills Star Whitney Port

The fundraising goal for Whitney Port's Indiegogo campaign has been switched from $50,000 to $10,000.
picture 3 Indiegogo Bends Its Own Rules, Lowers Fundraising Goal for <em>Hills</em> Star Whitney Port

(Photo: Indiegogo)

A few weeks ago, Betabeat wrote about an Indiegogo campaign started by Whitney Port, star of The Hills and The City. Ms. Port began the campaign to raise $50,000 so that she could show her fashion line, Whitney Eve, at New York Fashion Week Spring 2013.

But today, when we went to check up on the campaign’s progress, the funding goal had mysteriously dropped by $40,000. Now, Ms. Port is only soliciting $10,000.

Betabeat has learned that Indiegogo agreed to change the fundraising goal for Ms. Port’s campaign. She is an Indiegogo partner, which is why both parties agreed to lower the goal.

“The goal was lowered as we got other cooperate beauty sponsors and didn’t want to continue to raise funds we didn’t need from the fans,” a publicist for Ms. Port told Betabeat.

For some background: Indiegogo offers two funding options when users opt to create a campaign. There’s the “flexible funding” option, where users get to keep however much money they raise, regardless of if they ever meet their goal. The catch here is that Indiegogo retains a 9 percent fee for all money raised during a flexible funding campaign if creators don’t meet their goal (vs. 4 percent if they do). On the flipside, a fixed funding campaign–which is what Ms. Port is running–has a stated goal, and the project creator only gets funding if that goal is reached. For successful fixed funding campaigns, Indiegogo retains 4 percent of funds raised.

Four percent of $10,000 is only $400, so it’s highly unlikely that Indiegogo would bend its own rules just for a couple hundos. But the incident raises some important questions about crowdfunding and the difference between the experiences of corporate and average users. So far, Indiegogo’s most high profile campaign was for Karen Klein, the bullied bus monitor. The Oatmeal, a renowned web comic creator, also ran a wildly successful campaign on the site. But for the most part, campaigns on Indiegogo are created by regular, every day people without connections to Hollywood.

Will Indiegogo begin to allow other users, who aren’t celebrities or “partners,” to change their fixed fundraising goals if projects aren’t taking off the way they’d hoped?

Follow Jessica Roy on Twitter or via RSS. jroy@observer.com