A project can go off the rails and fail even after its funding succeeds for a number of reasons. There can be unforeseen costs, or design problems, or a team member quits or fails to deliver their part of the project. Often, when a project skids to a halt, the final updates are obscured from the public and sent only to backers, which may be part of the reason failures are often not well-publicized. Occasionally, backers who receive them pass them on or post them publicly on forums, which is as good as it gets in terms of letting the outside world know a project did not ultimately pan out.
This sums up my views on Kickstarter nicely. I’ve only backed three projects. One failed to be get funded, one involved someone I knew online and trusted, the last one was a fantastic 8-bit Nine Inch Nails album.
None of them were big risks. I spent $40 across both successful projects and would have given $20 to the one that failed.
Overall, my investment of $60 is not outrageous and I knew going into them it was money I could afford to lose. Even if successful, there is no guarantee the thing I’ve helped fund will materialize. There’s no guarantee I will ever see anything for my investment.
And I, as the little fish in the investment pond, have no recourse. If the project’s creator runs out of money, I will not get a refund. I understand that.
Which is why I’m skeptical about crowd-funding much of anything. I’m much happier to buy the thing when it comes out than back its creation.