If you’ve been on the Internet at any point in the past few years, I’m willing to bet you’ve at least heard of Kickstarter.
Kickstarter is a website where would be inventors can share there ideas and concepts with the world in hopes to receive financial backing. Usually, backers of a project will receive some sort of compensation for their financial contribution. If an individual donates to a Kickstarter project but doesn’t pay the full price of the item, usually they’ll receive a wristband, a shout out, or something to that affect.
Backers who pay the full price of an item will usually receive a copy of the item itself. At first glance, this might look like a wonderful business model all around. Inventors have an outlet to display their project, and folks who want to invest in some cool new gadgets have a place to browse in order to scope out the next big thing.
Unfortunately, Kickstarter has a number of drawbacks that may muddy their consumer friendly image. Once projects reach the funded status, Kickstarter has little power over what happens. According to their website, once a project is fully funded, creators are responsible for completing the project and fulfilling all of the rewards promised to backers.
However, Kickstarter goes out of their way to explain that they are not a store. Backers are not supposed to view the transaction as an immediate purchase, but instead are to look at it as an investment. Backers who donate enough to receive a copy of the product will eventually receive a ship date, and if all goes according to plan they’ll receive the product.
As you’d imagine, sometimes all doesn’t go according to plan. A Kickstarter case that has grown to somewhat legendary status on the Internet is that of the Coolest Cooler. Coolest Cooler seemed like a pretty awesome idea. A cooler that comes complete with a radio, blender, cup holders, and wheels to haul it all around. Backers were told that if they donated at least $185 they would receive their very own Coolest.
After super surpassing their original goal and raising upwards of 13 million dollars, backers began to receive the ship date for their decked out cooler.
The coolest reached their goal July 9th of 2014. As of today, there are still original backers of the Coolest who have yet to receive their product. If you ever feel like you’re having a crummy day due to poor customer service, Google the Kickstarter page for the Coolest. In the comments section, you’ll find nearly daily updates from folks who are still waiting to receive their product. There are comments so frequently that I first believed it had to be trolls, I then realized that only confirmed backers can comment.
One backer named Shawn Knoll commented, “Where’s my cooler?”
Another backer answered Shawn named Techy Beemer who replied, “With mine, in a plastic molding factory, still in it’s raw state.”
Kickstarter may seem like a fantastic website for consumers, and in some cases it is. There are plenty of Kickstarter campaign’s that reach full funding and deliver their products to backers without issue… That’ being said, in some cases like the Coolest Cooler, consumers end up stranded in the heat