Lessons from a failed Kickstarter #2: The sea of email
If there's one thing you get a lot of when you launch a Kickstarter, it's email. Happily, many of these are genuine questions from genuine backers who want to find out more about your project, or just pass on positive messages. That's lovely. There's also a big pile of genuine businesses offering their services, which you're at liberty to take up or not. And then there's a big pile of spam. It's hard to tell how much of the latter is actively encouraged by KS themselves, as many of the messages come through the KS portal itself. And frankly, I thought it would be obvious which were spam and which were not.
Here's some of the emails I got:
- Several approaches from Chinese manufacturing and fulfilment companies. All legit, but I had made it pretty clear in the campaign that I'd already sorted all that. At least read my page if you want my money...
- Lots of emails from The Crowdfunding Centre, who raise your profile by emailing, tweeting and Facebooking their quite large following, and having you as a featured project on their web page. They were asking for £3 a day for the duration of the campaign. But they also offered a free 24 hours so I went for that. Got no extra backers as a result (and so didn't pursue the paid option), but it does appear to be a way to get your project seen by more people if nothing else. Their emails got progressively more annoying as the campaign went on, as their positivity failed to diminish in line with the failure of the campaign ("Hey Ian, it's going great, you're nearly there!") No it's not (sob), just leave me alone!
- An approach from Crowdrush.co, which seems to be a legitimate service that filters projects and promotes what it considers to be the best on its site and newsletter, in return for which they offer some kind of exclusive benefit for their members (they suggested priority shipping and an exclusive add-on). I declined this on the basis that I didn't want to creates tiers of backers (and didn't do early birds for the same reason) but it may well suit some creators.
- Tabletopia got in touch, which was great because I was planning on doing that anyway. Makes your game available online (without AI, you just create a tabletop that people can access remotely and play each other). They also offered some extra help in getting set up, so that was fab.
- Something from a David Lavensky from "crowdfundingmegic.com" (sic) and "thegogofactor.com", which claim to get your project into the Top 20 in your category, using what they described as SEO for KS projects. Packages start at $35. Didn't pursue this - it's a real link to a real website with many convenient ways to pay (...), but it just looked too amateurish for me. It may well be a legit service, but if so, they probably want to get a web designer in.
- The good people at ZeMind games got in touch, offering to do a cross-promotion with their game Uncaged: World Fighters (MMA card game), whereby we each post an update promoting each other's game. I really agonised over this but decided not to, sticking to the same orginal principle that I didn't want non-authentic publicity (and wouldn't it be really obvious what we were doing?). Sadly, they cancelled as well so maybe we should have gone with it...
- I got a bunch of emails in Chinese, which I didn't read. They may well have been legitimate offers of business or friendship but I can barely get through the English emails as it is.
- A really convincing email from a Lisa J Pearson who claimed to have written a great new book on successful KS campaigns which was FREE and all I had to do was download it and post a positive review. Reasonable looking website linked, apparent photo of 'Lisa' and kids etc. I wrote back, intending to download the book, but offering some advice - perhaps don't just ask for positive reviews, cos that's not really how reviews work; and by the way you seem to have only just joined Kickstarter this month and haven't made or backed any projects, so people may question where your expertise comes from. If you're an experienced backer/creator, you need to make that clear.
Anyway, you go to the website, put in your email and... nothing happens. Odd. And if it was just an email harvesting thing, well she already had my email and I've not been deluged with any more spam than usual since then. So I don't know what that was about, but I strongly suspect there is no Lisa.
Bottom line, it was all quite fun - the full spectrum from genuine business to random spam. Nothing I'd describe as an actual scam, but maybe I just like to assume the best :-)
Has anyone come across any of these, or even subscribe to the newsletters etc they advertise?