Kickstarter is the most popular crowd-sourcing site and since its inception of 2009 has funded $376 million dollars for 34,000 projects. For product inventors, Kickstarter is the promised land where you they can fund their dreams quickly.
CNN Money conducted a review of the 50 most popular Kickstarter projects and found that things get ugly, very very ugly.
- 8 of those 50 projects meet their delivery commitment deadlines
- 15 of those 50 projects had not shipped yet (very very late)
- 27 of those 50 projects were delivered late (usually 2 months but some were as late as a year)
Unfortunately it seems Kickstarter is more interested in taking its 5% cut and moving on rather than helping project supporters get fair treatment. Many analysts (yours truly included) have been asking Kickstarter to take a much more active role to ensure projects are delivered on time or to implement penalties for late deliveries.
Don't forget that the worst case scenario is that your project may never actually materialize and the project creator has no obligation to refund your investment. Unlike a credit card or Paypal, you have no claim of refund for abandoned projects.
My hope is that eventually enough people will be aware of these shady situations and will take their money elsewhere forcing Kickstarter to re-evaluate its position. I think consummer protection should be at the forefront of its mission statement.