Indie No Go

IndieGoGo.com versus Kickstarter.com

UPDATE: At bit under half way we are treading toward $60k and have earned over $26k with over 700 backers so far – how can anyone dispute the power of Kickstarter over any other site?

Giant 2 Inch Soft Foam Polyhedral Dice -- Kicktraq Mini
There are many crowd funding sites including several new ones specializing in games. I know them all to just be a lot of hot air and expect them to go under in a year. But IndieGoGo has had some staying power and is an alternative to Kickstarter when you want to fund something outside the scope of kickstarter or if you cannot find someone to work with in the USA. While Kickstarter is certainly in need of many improvements, they are by far the king on this domain.

As I’ve preached in many of my blogs, the key to crowd funding is getting people to notice you and talk about you. Social Network plays a very key role in your success. But as much as half of your success could be attributed to the organic traffic on the site you’ve chosen to launch on.

indiegogo

I recently ran an IndieGoGo campaign for the first time and I was very disappointed. I run Minion Games, a proven company with 7 Kickstarter campaigns under our belt and several more from my other company Kickin’ It Games. I like to think I know what I’m doing. I’d like to think that my customers would follow us wherever we go. I was wrong…

I ran two more or less identical campaigns on IndieGoGo and Kickstarter within a month of each other. I performed the same amount of marketing for both campaigns. I reached out to my network of customers and followers for both campaigns. I did very little different between both campaigns. What did we find? Well IndieGoGo campaign made about $2000 and Kickstarter made that in the first day and it’s now nearly $10,000 in 2 days.

INDIEGOGO CAMPAIGN

http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/giant-2-inch-soft-foam-polyhedral-dice-set/x/3090207

KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/miniongames/giant-2-inch-soft-foam-polyhedral-dice

kickstarter

The obvious take away here is that it’s extremely obvious that everyone’s first (and only) choice should be to use Kickstarter if at all possible.

TIP: It is also very important to accept payment in US Dollars as English Pounds scare people away.

 

On IndieGoGo which only got pledges of $2052 before it expired and failed. During this process I was able to make use of their interface and found out many of the differences between Kickstarter and IndieGoGo:

 

The Comparison:

  • IndieGoGo uses YouTube videos and no splash image (Kickstarter has it’s own video hosting and allows you to define a nice splash image page that you can change to highlight things about your campaign)
  • Anyone in the world can create a campaign (Kickstarter is limited to the USA and UK)
  • Much less campaign owner verification and vetting, thus a higher chance of fraud (Kickstarter requires identity verification and Amazon payments requires company verification – that’s not to say there are not fraud attempts on KS too)
  • There is no staff review of your project before launching, I assume they do them after. (Kickstarter requires you to submit your product for review before launch, but you can still change it as much as you want after accepted)
  • Rules about acceptable campaigns are much more flexible as you can run a campaign just to raise money for a charity or a vacation (Kickstarter you must fund a tangible product or event and must supply rewards related to that. You cannot fund your life or a charity.)
  • You can use Paypal on IndieGoGo. (Kickstarter requires you to use Amazon Payments)
  • Pledgers are charged when they back you and refunded if the campaign fails (Kickstarter only charges pledgers when the campaign ends successfully)
  • Can’t modify your pledge as a backer (Kickstarter allows pledgers to change their reward level and their total dollars pledged during the campaign. This is extremely valuable in Incentivising people to pledge more later in your campaign)
  • You cannot cancel your pledge once it’s made. The creator can only refund you after the end of the campaign. (Kickstarter you can cancel your pledge as long as it’s not within the last 48 hours and won’t make it below funding)
  • indiegogo_commentsComments section has a Private check box but never explains it. I assume it means only backers can read if you click it? (Kickstarter has no such option at all – but allows private updates that then can be commented on)
  • Vastly smaller audience to sell too (Kickstarter earned more in 1 day)
  • Allows for a underfunded campaign to still be completed (collected) at a higher rate of 9% (instead of 4%) (Kickstarter is an all or nothing deal with 5% fee)
  • Doesn’t have any auto-shipping costs add on (Kickstarter allows you to require a fee for outside the USA, though it’s done half-ass)
  • Limited dashboard analytic (While Kickstarter isn’t all that much better, it is better. But the real bonus is that the site Kicktraq.com has tons of more stats on your campaign)
  • indiegogo_referralsBetter campaign site referral and individual referrals handling and reporting (Kickstarter uses a faulty system that overwrites itself a lot and can’t be trusted)
  • No automatic or group mailings, thus no mailings to reward levels (Kickstarter allows you to send a mailing to everyone in a reward level)
  • No survey option on completion (Kickstarter, while implemented poorly, has a survey option to help collect data after the campaign is completed. Sites like Backerkit.com also offer further services)
  • No Kicktraq support (Kicktraq is a great service to help browse campaigns, to get statistics and to even get referrals. It does not support IndieGoGo)
  • Maximum of 12 reward/perk levels (Kickstarter has unlimited levels of rewards)
  • My understanding was that you can’t cancel your IndieGoGo campaign after its got pledges, but at least one person has said that is wrong. So I’m not sure. (Kickstarter you can cancel your campaign at any time- even if it’s funded)

ABSTRACT

I advertised both campaigns in my mailing lists, on my facebook pages, in my twitter account, and even in a Kickstarter update to previous backers (yes I pimped the IGG campaign in an update to a completed KS project that had more than 1400 backers).  I also posted both to all the usual forums/threads on BoardGameGeek.com

It could be argued that since the IGG campaign was run first that the KS campaign would have had a built in customer base to start, sure that’s true to a small degree. But that doesn’t explain getting 5 times the funding in 2 days from launch. After 3 days we’re at $14,000 and 426 backers. On IGG we had less than 100 backers after 20 days.

 

Some more info from a backers point of view can be found on this thread:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/981729/indiegogo-vs-kickstarter

day8

16 thoughts on “Indie No Go

  1. I stopped reading after spotting two inaccuracies back to back. Yes, it is too possible CANCEL AND CHANGE PERKS mid-campaign on Indiegogo. It’s also possible to skew data to get results you want when doing any kind of research, so. . . .

    • Rose, how is it possible for a backer to cancel their pledge? You can add PERKS sure but that’s not what I’m talking about. Though I don’t think you can change PERKS after someone has pledged. You cannot modify your pledged amount after you pledge. How did I skew the results of 5 times the pledges in 2 days then I got all month on IGG?

  2. The GOBLINS Miniatures creator had a similar experience: “Yeah I started it there about a week before this one and didn’t find any support over there, so I sort of abandoned that one for this one. Unfortunately you cant cancel indiegogo campaigns as far as I know. Found a much better gaming community here on KS.”

  3. I’ve backed 221 projects on Kickstarter (not all funded) and though I’ve looked at and considered three or four projects on IndieGoGo, have backed exactly 0. Why?
    – I hate that you have to pay immediately when you pledge instead of when the project funds on IGG. Getting refunds can be time-consuming and tricky; if a project fails on Kickstarter or if I change my mind, no biggie because no money has changed hands yet.
    – I hate PayPal with a passion. They have screwed me over in the past, and I do not trust eBay to do right by customers or merchants here either. Amazon Payments has always done me right, and as a loyal Amazon customer for over 10 years, I feel safe and happy dealing with them.
    – I don’t know how much vetting IGG does of projects and therefore, really hesitate to back. Projects are vetted reasonably carefully on KS and it doesn’t feel much riskier than retail, providing I’m not scared of delivery delays (I’m not). Out of 221 projects, I’ve had five massively delayed and a few deliver poor quality. That’s actually almost BETTER than my retail experience. 🙂
    – I hate not being able to change or cancel my pledge on IGG… the number of times I have changed (usually to up it!) a pledge on KS would make your head spin. And a few times, a family situation or a disappointing turn in the project has caused me to cancel… that seems important as a capability of the system.
    Honestly, the foam dice project on IGG was the first one I’ve even looked at in a while, and that because I trust Minion as a project creator. Still, with all the negatives of IGG, I just couldn’t click the button. I didn’t realize that the dice had moved over to KS and will go have a look now. 🙂
    :J::A::Z:

  4. Gamer Gridz on

    Thanks for the article, I have suspected that the difference was this extreme and am sad to hear that it is. As a Canadian without an American partner I will be soon running an IGG campaign but would have run a KS in a heart beat!

  5. Among other details here that are not accurate, the idea that Kickstarter “vets” for fraud is simply wrong. As I tried to explain to the author, when Kickstarter requires people to submit a request to launch a project is doing nothing more than exercising curation. It’s a business model, an aesthetic choice, period. It certainly has nothing to do with their concerns about eliminating the riff-raff. In fact, they state very clearly that buyers need to be their own police, KS is not responsible for any projects that renege on the contract in any way. When people have complained about campaigns being late to fulfill perks, do you imagine they have take action? Nope. Never.

    It’s fine if you have a preference for Kickstarter or Indiegogo. And I agree that Kickstarter makes more sense if you’re a certain type of project–games is one. But the idea that Kickstarter is some sort of popular virtual land where more browsers hang out, money in hand to fund you, couldn’t be farther from the truth. This has been established and re-established, time and time again.

    I had hoped the author would clear up so many of the vague comparisons, because in their incompleteness they quickly become falsehoods, They have little to do with the actual reality of the differences (and/or lack of) between the two platforms. It’s not right to disseminate these inaccuracies. The desire for truth and transparency is at the core of crowdfunding. Don’t muddle it up.

    • “But the idea that Kickstarter is some sort of popular virtual land where more browsers hang out, money in hand to fund you, couldn’t be farther from the truth. This has been established and re-established, time and time again.”

      Rose, could you point me towards articles and other data that supports this? Thanks.

      • Hi C,

        You begin with an untenable premise. Crowdfunding and social media engagement are inextricably linked. The fact that you have to bring your own crowd is built into the fabric of what crowdfunding is.

        The data I can give you is all the vast data out there that reasserts time and again that running a successful crowdfunding campaign begins with building an audience that loves your idea and then bringing them to the place where they can contribute to it.

        Kickstarter has created an aura of exclusivity. This is how this perception that you will be more successful on it got started–and, as we can see the inaccurary is constantly perpetuated.

        Now, there will always be people who won’t contribute to Indiegogo because they don’t like PayPal, or they don’t like fixed funding (which IGG offers, to btw) or they like the idea that they can change their mind and take back their pledge at the last minute (a terrible side effect that KS campaigners have suffered and complain about constantly).

        But there will always be exceptions to anything. If there are 10 people in a room who weigh very little but 2 who weigh a lot, the average weight of the group will be skewed because of that minority. That’s why though data has its place is not always accurate in the crowdfunding space where people are more likely to vote with their heart than with their head.

        As I said, the author ran campaigns and got certain results. Fine, that happened in those instances. But to take it to the extreme and declare Kickstarter to be superior as a result is misguided. That’s my only point.

  6. Me again. Here’s a stat that you can find on KS or IGG–or many other place; I just happened to read it on a site this AM:

    20% to 40% of money comes from friends and family and the rest is from “viral connections.

  7. my name is rose on

    And I backed zion eyes, 9 year old fund my life rpg camp, and Icouldnt be happier with the products I will never receive .
    (I don’t know rose or care who it is)
    Kickstarter is a big fish in a small pond because people are vary but not that wary when they want to get in ‘on the ground floor’… rob thomas made veronica mars come to theatres sometime next year through kickstarter… if someone does it better and gets a handful (or even 1 well known) project and everyone gives positive feedback who participated the system can be changed.
    Kickstarter makes 5% of hundreds of millions of dollars without lifting a finger.

  8. an interesting read and while I may agree with the conclusion I think I may not agree with some of the supporting evidence.

    Pounds vs Dollars

    While financially I doubt there’s much difference. I do think CONVERSION to my local currency would be valuable. (BundleStars – http://www.bundlestars.com/ ) does this and it’s in valuable.

    While i understand it’s hard to judge I don’t see any thought given to the quality of the two products vs demand. Is it possible that the IGG didn’t do as well because the KS product was better? Probably not but I note the absence of that being factored out.

    You do have KickTraq on the list twice for exactly the same reason. I get it KickTraq is on KS and not IGG. I’ve always found judging phones because of an app one had that the other doesn’t to be odd. The fact that one phone has this app and my phone doesn’t. Doesn’t make it better. It makes the APP selection better and that might be a factor in making the decision but my phone still has a larger screen a faster processor and a smoother OS.

    That said it sounds like KickTraq is a useful tool to the platform.

    >Vastly smaller audience to sell too

    this like KickTraq is imo slightly wrong criteria to judge. Ordinarily I might say the audience has nothing to do with how good the website is but in a crowd funding site that’s not exactly true.

    Still, that said I think we’re mixing up aspects of the site with feasibility of using it. There’s plenty IGG can do to fix things like pledge alterations and mass emails and such. There’s nothing they can do directly to inflate their user base. That again is like saying the iPhone is a better phone because more people use it. The two are related but not causally.

  9. Just read this article, and have to say that Mr. Mathe, you’re right on point.

    And even though we’re commenting a few years later, these truths are still the same for 2016.

    We found Kickstarter to be a little clunky with editing functions, but miles ahead of anything that IGG offered. The mere fact that on KS you’ll garner a lot of support by discovery alone gives KS a tremendous edge.

    For our Kickstarter, about 50% of the funds came from people who just searched KS for new games and sports-related games. This helped greatly as our game is a niche market within a niche market – so we definitely needed that boost from the KS platform.

    Good job, James, and great article. I wish we’d have read this a while back – would have been a little less tooth-pulling!

    Jody Pike Mendez
    Game Developer | Roll Saga Baseball

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