Here’s how Kickstarter’s easier approval process is going so far

Kickstarter spells out how its new “Launch Now” feature has been working to improve the overall quality of projects on the site.

Kickstarter cofounders Charles Adler, Perry Chen and Yancey Strickler. (Photo courtesy of Kickstarter)

Kickstarter has put out some more information on its fast-track approval process. In June, we did a story on the new process for most Kickstarter categories. Now after several months in the field, Kickstarter has come back with some statistics and insights into how “Launch Now” is actually working.
Since “Launch Now” became an option last June, 69,015 projects have been submitted to the crowdfunding leader’s site.
In short, about 40 percent of all projects that were proposed to Kickstarter got the option to “Launch Now,” that is, to bypass a human’s review.
Of those, about 22 percent still asked for a human to review them. Overall, Kickstarter reports, 69 percent of all projects get reviewed by a member of a the Kickstarter team. Yancey Strickler, the CEO, breaks the numbers down in a post on the company’s blog. He writes:

It’s important to note that every project on Kickstarter is reviewed — first by an algorithm and then, if needed, by a member of our team. How does the algorithm work? It analyzes thousands of attributes in a project and looks at how our team has handled similar projects. If the algorithm gives a green light, the creator can launch their project immediately, or get personal feedback from a member of our team first. If the algorithm puts up a red light, the project is manually reviewed by our team to make sure it meets our rules. Simple as that.

So, even though the majority of the categories are eligible for “Launch Now,” that doesn’t mean a majority of submissions get the option to use it.
Strickler’s point both then and now is that Kickstarter has run enough projects to be able to automate certain kinds of projects, because history has shown projects with certain attributes to be a very safe bet.
The robustness of the system got tested (somewhat comically) by the tech news team at Yahoo! They tried to run a project for a time machine through Kickstarter, IndieGogo and RocketHub. They did everything in their power to indicate that their project was ridiculous, as a way of seeing which system did the best job at stopping fraudulent campaigns.
Kickstarter pretty much stopped them cold and RocketHub, effectively, did as well. Though it was still, technically, viewable online. Sort of. IndieGogo basically stopped them, though the campaign did go live for a few days.
That said, if someone were to try to run a fraudulent project for a hardware project (which is also the kind most likely to make big money), Yahoo! points out that Kickstarter’s process has the advantage of requiring a working prototype, as well as thoroughly vetting someone’s identity (so if fraud were ever found, the guilty party wouldn’t be anonymous).
The world of crowdfunding is evolving rapidly, however, and Kickstarter’s partially robotized process is just one way it’s changing.

Companies: Kickstarter
Series: Brooklyn

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