Has crowd funding popularity reached a dangerous peak with a dedicated TV show?
Everyone has an opinion about crowd funding. Ask someone who's project has been funded via a site like Kickstarter and they say they love crowd funding. Ask a person who donated $30 and hasn't heard from the campaign organizer in six months and you get a much different response. Everyone seems to like the concept, but the outcome is what dictates the overall opinion.
In my experience, risk is the most overlooked aspect of crowd funding. We know which e-mail scams to instantly delete, but we tend to be more trusting of "someone" who takes the time to set up a crowd funding campaign on one of the many available sites. Scams are rampant everywhere, but we tend trust a website with links to a Twitter and Facebook accounts. They must be "good" right?
If a project centers on a cool gaming idea or maybe a reboot of a beloved retro game title, I'm all over it. I always have to slow down and do some actual research before taking out my wallet. It's easy for me to get swept up in the vibe of a retro gaming project without stopping to make sure everything adds up.
When shopping in a store, regardless who created a product, the store protects your purchase in the form of a refund/exchange in most situations. There's no such protection in crowd funding. You donate $20 to a great idea and once they have your money... you hope they make good on it.
The notion of a TV show highlighting various campaigns sounds pretty cool, but I worry that it lends a layer of credibility to crowd funding that builds a trust that may not exist. I would never suggest that campaigns highlighted on TV are not genuine, but adding this sort of content to television may make us trust the model more than we should.
Crowd funding is a fairly new & growing phenomenon, but its important to be cautious and verify facts. You'd never buy a new car without knowing its real value. The same should be true with crowd funding campaigns. However, being relatively new, similar metrics for validation are not readily available for measure. Online auctions/sales sites have ratings systems to qualify sellers. Those seeking crowd funding are likely doing it fo the first time and have no track record to tout.
The Crowd Funder Show
There is no limit to the idiocy dubbed programming by network TV channels. Reality shows have taken over the airwaves largely due to lower production costs. They range from nature themes to business strategies. Some even slide toward the game-show genre. Many rely on personal conflicts and the cameras roll as fights ensue.
Shows like Shark Tank attempt to show that ingenuity hasn't completely faded. The Crowd Funder Show seems to take the high road and showcase various projects that are in the funding phase via internet crowd funding sites. I can't speak directly to the quality of the show since it runs solely on a Buffalo, NY station.
It sounds legit, but the larger story here is: Crowd funding has made it's way to television! When things are presented factually on TV we tend to trust them. As I said, I'm sure the Crowd Funder Show qualifies it's participants, but as crowd funding grows, more TV exposure is quite likely. Our trust in this financing model may also grow. Be cautious out there!
From The Crowd Funder Show website: In response to the rapidly growing social media phenomenon known as Crowd Funding, The Crowd Funder TV Show is a half hour weekly show that profiles the best, brightest, and most interesting crowd funding projects along with their campaigners who are looking to make a mark, follow a dream or improve a community.