Blind Spot: Finding Your Own Way
So you’ve put up your project up on Kickstarter and get some of that free internet money. Now you can relax and let the easy money flow your way. Who cares if most projects flat line – yours will buck the trend, and continue its effortless upward trajectory. The website’s active community will be all over your pitch, and should have it funded in no time, right?
It is possible that your idea is viral enough or you are fortunate enough to be plastered all over the front page by a staff pick or project of the day; if that happens your project might succeed on its own. If this unlikely occurrence does not happen to you though, by all means read on.
That might be true when it’s new; for the first day or two you will rank pretty highly on the ‘Recently Launched‘ section of their website, and it will certainly give you a lot of bonus traffic you won’t have to work for, but as each new project is posted, you will slide further down that list. At 51 pages of listings, in a few days or a week it won’t even be possible to find your project. Most people won’t scroll more than a few pages down though. I suspect that this phenomena has much to do with the flatlining of most projects after a week or so.
So what happens at the end? Why the sudden (and common) funding spike?
There’s another searchable category: ‘Ending Soon.’ Projects enter this category from the bottom up. A project falls under the this heading once it has less than a week until its funding window closes. In addition to the Remind Me feature that I discussed previously, I think that this accounts for a lot of the upsurge in interest at the end of projects. Oh, sure, the urgency factor that is so often discussed is definitely there, but free advertising giving the fence sitters another look before the end definitely has a value.
I have read the opinion more than once that Kickstarter has poor search tools (they do) to force people to wade through all the other projects in order to find what they are looking for. This makes a lot of sense to me, and I am inclined to agree. For instance, one can look at the comic books category or the ending soon category, but you cannot filter for both criteria to dramatically reduce the scope of what you are looking for. This seems pretty intuitive to me and, in light of other accusations, such as the hiding of failed projects from external search engines, intentional.
Am I alone in this, or does anyone else have a gripe or three against Kickstarter’s clumsy interface and search tools?