So far, 0% funded on the IndieGoGo campaign. So, what have we learnt?
Well, the first thing I've learnt is that crowdfunding is as rife with corruption as most other online endeavours. Over the past 48 hours I have received multiple offers from people who will fund my campaign and let their friends know about if I pay them to.
Most of the offers link to profiles over on Fiverr.
There are a mix of services available. Some are genuine offers to advise and guide you on your campaign, others are offers to advertise your campaign on a blog, podcast, YouTube channel, etc. This are all pretty much straight forward and amount of paid for advertising. Nothing nefarious here, although seeing some blogs I know here was a bit of a surprise.
The seedier side of things consists of the people who are offering to back campaigns if you pay them.
Why would I pay someone to back my campaign?
The crowdfunding sites feature campaigns that are active, e.g. that are receiving pledges, more prominently than they do any inactive campaigns.
Their first job is to make money, and it isn't going to persuade you to host your crowdfunding campaign on a particular service if the first batch of campaigns you see are all bumping along at 0% funded with a the clock ticking down fast.
Once you've exhausted the "friends and relatives" pledges, buying in some pledges would seem to be the next best thing. I can certainly understand the temptation. "Day one and already 10% funded!" makes a great Facebook status, tweet, and blog post, much better than "0% ... oh God, why don't any of you like me?". (Don't worry, we're not here for the funding, we're here for the science)
Most of the "paid for pledges" also promise exposure to a new group of potential funders either through mailing lists, tweets, or website postings.
Why we should not be surprised
Paid for endorsements are nothing new. They have been a staple of the advertising industry since time immemorial and anyone who thinks that celebrities genuinely like the products they endorse has clearly never seen this a certain episode of Noel's House Party...