Kickstarter Changes Rules, States: 'We are not a Store'Kickstarter has cracked down on hardware projects. Over the last few months, the service has had a serious influx of projects who have had no actual product to show, no prototype ready, and no proof that they could pull off the project outside of renders. And Kickstarter doesn't like that.
Starting today, for a hardware project to be listed, the project's creator has to have a prototype mostly working. That's going to put a damper on a lot of projects moving forward.
In addition, Kickstarter has created a new section called 'Risks and Challenges' in which the team can explain some of the potential hurdles the project will face. This is in response to the increasing concern over accountability in Kickstarter projects, with many of them failing to produce any viable product. Or, if the product does get produced, it is long past the shipping date.
Kickstarter has also made the move to prevent job-lots, bulk orders of hardware products from Kickstarters. While there are exceptions (Arduino development boards being a key example), moving forward Kickstarter really wants people to be buying one copy a piece.
Kickstarter is a great platform that has truly revolutionized how projects get started. You might even go so far as to say that it single-handedly restarted the hardware startup community. As any analyst will tell you, hardware startups are hot right now. Even a year ago hardware was considered a dead end where it was impossible to find funding. Really, it was only with a few of the high profile hardware startups that came from Kickstarter (the Elevation Dock and the Pebble smartwatch come to mind) that people began seeing hardware as a place to go again.
But that doesn't mean that platform is without its share of growing pains. A service like this has never existed before. There are still things to be worked out before Kickstarting becomes mainstream.
Until then, we will continue to worry about risk in Kickstarter projects.