IndieGoGo.com versus Kickstarter.com
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.
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.
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:
- 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)
- Comments 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)
- Better 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)
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: