Crowdfunding at its core is a revolutionary marketing tool. Letting people sponsor creative developers, producers and companies, the crowdfunding platforms brought the voice of the audience to new heights. With crowdfunding, the public finally had a say in what is to be developed or produced. Such platforms, the biggest of which is Kickstarter, have already brought to life a huge variety of indie projects, including games, movies and books. However, a simple joke may turn into a black cloud for the whole crowdfunding industry.
There is a high chance that you haven’t been online lately, if you haven’t already heard about the infamous “Potato Salad” project. Started a few days ago by Zack Brown, the Potato Salad Kickstarter project simply stated “Basically I’m just making potato salad. I haven’t decided what kind yet.” It wasn’t for any big budgeted movie or an indie game, the project was simply for the funding of a potato salad. Started as a joke, the project, which had an initial goal of just ten dollars, managed to achieve more than $43,000 in funding with the numbers going up every moment. At this point, nothing is out of the ordinary for the online universe we are aware of – a guy makes a joke, people get on it, he becomes mildly successful. Not a huge deal, right? Where is the issue with a joke that went viral and was successful?
The biggest issue is that once someone earns a few bucks by something that went viral, everyone has to get on the “money wagon.” If you enter Kickstarter now, a site, which was before a platform for indie developers to accomplish their dreams, by also satisfying their audience and gaining new fans, has turned into a platform for people to jokingly beg for money. From the guy that wants to buy a coloring book and crayons, because he loves to draw, to every other type of meal you can find, things are slowly, but steadily spiraling out of control. Although, the true innovative projects are still one the website, every page, regardless of the category is flooded by the “potato salad” projects. The question is, how bad will it get?
Usually when such things happen, official representatives of the company at hand (in this case Kickstarter) make changes, in order for their platform to get back on its feet. However, such changes and project control hasn’t been officially addressed. Certainly a lot of moral questions have to arise from the continuing funding of almost every “potato salad” project that is posted on Kickstarter. However, the true question that has to be answered is – will people lose faith in the crowdfunding platform? Will this revolutionary way of project funding that made the voice of the people truly matter come to an end? While both questions would be interesting to tackle, the truth has been spoken thousands of years ago – “Vox Populi, Vox Dei.” Whatever you, as an audience, decide crowdfunding will be, it will become.