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Re: Kickstarter for Emacs

From: Nikodemus Siivola
Subject: Re: Kickstarter for Emacs
Date: Wed, 18 Apr 2012 17:19:27 +0300

Having run one reasonably successful crowdfunding campaign myself
(still working on it, actually), let me say this to those who are
contemplating trying it out:

(1) Don't underestimate the visibility a site like Kickstarter or
IndieGoGo provides. Yes, they take a cut. I still suspect it was a win
for me personally, as opposed to just having my own site with a PayPal
buttom up. Hard to say for sure with a single data-point, of course.

(2) Don't listen to people who think they know what sort of people
will donate and how much. Your guess is as good as theirs unless /you/
have done some research. Doing research is pretty damn easy: post a
web-questionnair on the same social media channels you would use to
publish the actual campaign. It will get less publicity, but it will
give you a hint. It matters that you do this yourself, instead of
relying on other people doing it for you: their social media presence
is different from yours.

(3) I think crowdfunding is a stellar model for free software, but
there are kinks that need to be worked out. Ie. striking a balance
between promising deliverables and promising to work for N months on
it. Promising to work on something for a certain time is ... meh. Why
would I pay for that? Promise to deliver specific things. Just don't
promise too much! Penalty for not delivering: no future in
crowdfunding for you.

(4) Don't expect people to shell out if you don't have a track record
or something to show that makes people trust you.

(5) Crowdfunding isn't a magic money button, but if you can credibly
show that you have the ability to deliver something people want,
they'll be happy to pay for it.

(6) Don't aim too high, but add bonus goals as the campaign gathers
steam. A campaign that asks for $3k and nets $16k is a success, and
gets extra publicity because of that. A campaign that takes over a
week to reach it's first goal seems weak in comparison. Once you've
hit the first goal future funders are easier to get, because you
become a "safe bet" -- provided you have either nice perks, or solid
public-interest bonus goals.

(7) Interestingly enough, all campaigns to which statistics I have
access (not many, but more than my own), seem to pull on average
0.5-1.5 USD per visitor to the campaign page. So spread your net wide.


 -- nikodemus

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