Last month, a little device on Kickstarter called Anonabox captured the imagination of every major tech publication and thousands of backers, promising a tiny device to plug into your router and anonymize all of your Internet browsing. When backers threw shade at Anonabox and pointed out that it was probably a knockoff of a Read More
Beef in the Crowdfunding Game
Take a quick browse through successful crowdfunded projects, and you feel like you’re getting a glimpse of the future. Oculus VR. Rocketskates. Hoverboards. It’s Star Wars, Back to the Future and every other futuristic fantasy come true. But every once in a while, that glimpse ends up being a total mirage.
On Indiegogo, a campaign called Bleen has raised some red flags among its backers who are starting to think that the bleary claims made by its elusive founders are starting to sound like total bullshit. Bleen is a projector that creates 3D holographic movie displays and comes in the shape of a small egg, the design of which is meant to evoke the sculpture of Jeff Koons and the “neogeometrical abstractions” of a Sarah Morris painting. Read More
Crowdfunding sites like Indiegogo and Kickstarter can be a great place to make impossible dreams come true. Some campaigns are total pipe-dreams, sure, but they at least they often have a few working test models and a real plan. Others are simply empty promises and total trash.
The latest dubious campaign is the Kreyos smartwatch, which promised a waterproof, voice-activated wearable device. As revealed by Android Police late last night, the project founders never delivered on their promise, refused refunds, and have since made off with the cash. Read More
Last week, we covered Vergence Labs‘ canceled Kickstarter campaign and relocation to Indiegogo. Kickstarter’s no-comment policy regarding suspended projects means there’s no way to know the official reason for the cancellation. But now it looks like someone–though it’s not entirely clear who–has embarked on a spammy promotional campaign for the Indiegogo project, blasting out emails from a “Sergey Grin” and blitzing Twitter with @replies linking to the new project.
Founders Erick Miller and Jon Rodriguez were unable to respond by publication time (despite multiple requests for comment), but it’s presumably either them, or someone who is very, very enthusiastic about their idea. Read More
Despite all the enthusiasm for Kickstarter as savior of hardware companies, it’s still worth caveats all around. Backers should remember there’s still the occasional scam, failed project, and downright bad idea. And would-be money-raisers should remember that they are using someone else’s platform and therefore subject to Kickstarter’s oversight, like it or not. Last month, we covered the case of Tentacle Bento, a card game yanked from the site. Today it looks like another, less overtly offensive project got the ax: Vergence Labs’ social video glasses.
Vergence Labs proposed to build YouGen.tv glasses, which would (supposedly; we’ll believe it when we see it*) record high-def video, which users could then share socially. The project picked up some positive press at the outset, and as of earlier today, backers had pledged $63,790, exceeding the original goal of $50,000. But sometime this morning, the project was suspended and Vergence Labs’ profile deleted. Read More