Crowd-funding pioneer Kickstarter has announced changes that make it easier to launch a project on the platform, removing prohibitions on product renders and allowing projects to be listed even without physical prototypes.
Kickstarter now allows projects to display product renders and simulations of planned functionality, reversing rules it introduced to protect backers.
Launched in the UK back in 2012
, Kickstarter is one of the most well-known crowd-funding platforms. Using the site, people who want to create something but lack the up-front funds can ask for 'pledges' - cash sums taken only if the project's overall funding goal is reached or exceeded - for which contributors can receive rewards ranging from a message of thanks or a T-shirt through to the finished product, dinner with the creators or even a starring role in a film.
As with any crowd-funding service, Kickstarter has its risks. There have been projects apparently created in bad faith where the money has vanished into a black hole, and others that have simply misjudged the difficulty of their chosen path - including Double Fine Adventure
, which ran out of cash despite raising an eye-watering $3.3 million on an original goal of just $400,000. To protect backers, Kickstarter strengthened its rules in 2012 to include the requirement that all projects are reviewed by its staff before going live and banning the use of simulations or photorealistic renders, requiring projects to demonstrate only real-world prototypes and their current capabilities.
Sadly for backers, these changes have now been reversed - and then some. Under its new, simplified rules, Kickstarter is allowing anyone to list a project without the need to have it reviewed by company representatives - although a voluntary review can still take place to help refine the pitch, if requested. The ban on simulations and rendered product images has also been removed, as have rules on using funds to launch social networking projects, gambling, the purchase of property or offering bulk-buy pledge levels.
'The health and integrity of the system are our biggest priorities,
' claimed Kickstarter's Yancy Strickler of the changes. 'Our Moderation and Trust & Safety teams are working every day to make sure everyone on Kickstarter is following the rules. And these streamlined rules still expect the same things from projects that we did on day one: make something to share with others, and be honest with the people around you.
The new rules are available for viewing on the official site