The crowdfunding movement has directly led to the creation of tens of thousands of jobs as well as new products that might not have otherwise found their way to market. As is the case with most things, however, you have to take the good with the bad.
The bad, of course, being the one in 10 chance that the campaign you back never ships your reward. Whatever the reason (incompetence and scam jobs immediately come to mind), you end up donating to a cause that never delivers.
While crowdfunding platforms aren’t able to insure donations, at least one of them – Indiegogo – is making changes that will hopefully provide potential backers with a little more reassurance of their investment.
As part of a recent update to its terms of service, Indiegogo said that if an entrepreneur doesn’t fulfill their obligations to backers, they will take appropriate action against the campaign in an effort to recover funds which may include contacting third-party collections agencies.
Again, it’s not much of a consolation but it’s better than nothing.
Earlier this year, PayPal made changes to its Purchase Protection program to revoke financial protection to those that lose money on failed crowdfunding campaigns.
Kickstarter a few months back introduced a new tool called Kickstarter Live that’s designed to help spot potential scammers that may be hiding behind a well-polished sales pitch. It’s exactly what it sounds like – a live video stream in which potential backers can vet creators before making a pledge.