back to article £2.3m ZANO nano-drone crowdfunded project crashes and burns

The company behind the troubled ZANO nano-drone project has pulled the plug, leaving thousands of Kickstarter backers in the lurch. The UK's Torquing Group Ltd tin-rattled its way to a record £2,335,119 from 12,075 people for the "world's most sophisticated nano drone - aerial photo and HD video capture platform". Although …

  1. Malcolm 1

    Backing != Pre-ordering

    While I can appreciate the disappointment, I'm continually surprised by the reaction of backers when a kickstarter project is unsuccessful. It is mentioned repeatedly when backing a project that backing is no guarantee of, well anything, really. If all goes well you might receive the promised product or service but it is an inherently risky proposition, especially with hardware where the complexities of product development and production seem to frequently trip up even the best intentioned projects.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Backing != Pre-ordering

      I was surprised to learn that there appears to be actual legal(?) requirements placed on the firm doing the Kickstarter.

      https://www.kickstarter.com/terms-of-use#section4

      The backers in mass aren't getting their just rewards, and the language on that page seems to say they have cause for action. But there are disturbing things in it, like "..every reasonable effort.." in reference to obligations. If it's as vague as it looks, I bet this crew decided to cut the project adrift and defy anyone to bring a successful suit. The one thing that could hurt them tho is the way Zano led backers on, right up to the last minute, with glowing reports. Naughty naughty!

      1. ElectricFox
        Alert

        Re: Backing != Pre-ordering

        Caveat Backor...

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
          Linux

          Re: Backing != Pre-ordering

          "Caveat Backor..."

          Exactly! "The value of your investment may go down as well as up"

          I backed the SPB not for the engraved tankard, hewn from the living glass, but to see the fantastical flying truss lofted to great altitude and the subsequent launch of Lohan into the Deep Purple yonder. I've been disappointed to date but I doubt I'll be suing El Reg for the years of mental anguish! I accepted that risk when I handed over the moolah.

          Icon-----------A flightless bird---------------------->

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Don't Worry

      When Star Citizen crashes no one will remember this minor crowd funded bump in the road.

      1. DropBear Silver badge

        Re: Don't Worry

        "When Star Citizen crashes..."

        I think you misspelled "Elite: Dangerous" there and, oh, that already happened.

        1. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
          FAIL

          Re: Don't Worry

          Thats strange.

          I've just spent an hour playing Elite.... must be a different game/company that never delivered

          1. Danny 14 Silver badge

            Re: Don't Worry

            Elite offered refunds for people not happy about the promised not delivered aspects didnt they?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Pirate

    Who Pays?

    Unsurprisingly, the mood down at Kickstarter is decidedly ugly...

    I'll say. 8340 comments and rising. I will say the language is not very bad, from a quick perusal, but the tone is definitely indignant. Most plan to get reimbursed by PayPal or some similar entity. I doubt PayPal wants to foot the sizable bill for every future event of this type, so there will be resistance.

    1. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Who Pays?

      That some are saying they are willing to pledge money towards the fight to get their money back suggests to me that some people just don't know when to stop digging a hole.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Who Pays?

        "That some are saying they are willing to pledge money towards the fight to get their money back suggests to me that some people just don't know when to stop digging a hole."

        There's an app for that, and it's ONLY 3.99* for a limited period only. Available on google play and itunes. Click HERE!

        * bitcoins

        1. Stevie Silver badge

          Re: Who Pays?

          Let's Kickstart a lawsuit.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Who Pays?

        Your investment may go down as well as up

        you may get back less than you invest

        The type of projects on KS are the ones that the Dragons Den and Banks wont fund due to excess risk

        read that word RISK

        nothing in KS or Crowdfunding says you WILL get something back, heck even mortgage bonds don't always pay the full amount on maturity, if you want guaranteed returns put it in a building society interest account

  3. Mondo the Magnificent
    Coffee/keyboard

    Risky business

    The BBC News Tech page has been following this story..

    Kickstarter campaigns are a calculated risk, I've ventured into some projects with success, like the "Bike Balls", which is a testicular shaped under saddle bicycle light... and they delivered!

    Many are furious with Kicksarter who commented "Creators on Kickstarter have a remarkable track record, but there are no guarantees that a project will work out."

    Sadly some do crash and burn, like the Zano has, but the strange thing about this project is that it's one man's exit (Ivan Reedman) from the project that caused it to wrap up

    Unfortunately n the world of new ideas and calculated risks some backers will and do get burned

    1. Known Hero

      Re: Risky business

      I wonder how much he walked away with ?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Risky business

        I wonder how much he walked away with?

        Most of it probably. Wonder how far down the chain the bullshit flowed? Obviously the top guy knew there was bullshit happening... but how much did everyone else know? Did they actually get anything manufactured?

        1. Fraggle850

          @AC Re: Risky business

          I'd draw your attention to the original article:

          'Although the drone did make it into production, and some people received the promised kit, it simply didn't work as promised'

          Personally I'd attribute the whole sorry affair to ineptitude rather than malice. I suspect that they burnt through their funding and came up with a turd, hence liquidation and no money to pay back their backers.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. asdf Silver badge

        Re: Risky business

        >"Bike Balls", which is a testicular shaped under saddle bicycle light... and they delivered!

        Wow that is the big success story? To each his own I suppose but lets just say you haven't sold me on the concept.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Risky business

          oh, UNDER the seat! I somehow imagined it's under your pants. People ARE inventive these days!

      2. ElectricFox
        Paris Hilton

        Re: Risky business

        Bike Balls is probably a safe bet when it comes to Kickstarter. It's a product that involves putting LEDs and batteries into a "ball sack" that hangs from your saddle (not that I'd want a pair). I'd only invest in two kinds of kickstarter projects:

        1:

        Simple things like BikeBalls. I backed Exploding kittens, and surprise surprise, they managed to deliver a cardgame that was promised.

        2:

        Complex/ambitious projects backed with a small amount of cash. Elite Dangerous was a good example: £20 for a piece of software as a deliverable. Had it failed, I could have wasted that money any other number of frivelous ways instead.

        Paying thousands for things like that homebrew contraption really is leaving yourself open...

        Paris because she's cheap and not too complex...

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    to be that guy

    Millennials are slowly learning their utopia of the gig economy and crowd sourcing/funding isn't all its cracked up to be (at least they can share their pain and pictures of their lunch on 20 different apps still). The real world can be a b*tch and there isn't always an app for that or someone to coddle you.

    1. tkioz

      Re: to be that guy

      I don't know. There are some crowd funding success stories like various content creators who use services like Patreon to pay the bills. Like any system it has its strengths and weakness, and again like any system it is open to abuse, but it still has its merits.

    2. d3vy Silver badge

      Re: to be that guy

      My little brother learned the hard way too... Donated £25 (a lot for aa college going 17 year old) to some friend of a friend in America whose "house burned down" leaving him homeless.

      After a bit of research I found the guy and yes there was a fire but the house didn't burn down. It was covered by his insurance and until the insurance paid out he was living in one of his two (yes two) motorhomes (pictures on his fb page showed two RVs the size of stagecoach inter city coaches.. Probably more floor space than my house)!

      That guy pocketed £6k on go fund me then collected his insurance got the house decorated and bought a small speed boat(I'm not even joking I started checking his fb page so i could wind my brother up!

    3. ItsNotMe
      Facepalm

      Re: to be that guy

      Yep...just one more P.T. Barnum moment at Kick-in-the-ass.

  5. Fraggle850
    Facepalm

    Turns out speculatively investing in product development is a risky business

    Who knew? Still, at least the rewards of successful investment are likely to be high, it's not like they'll just promise to send you some dysfunctional tat instead of a share of the profits... oh, wait, my bad.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Turns out speculatively investing in product development is a risky business

      yes, the money they paid was much less than any investment course would have cost! Lesson learnt (for some).

      Now, for this "How not to get scammed" project... You see, it goes like this: you invest this much in my project, and then...

  6. Matt Bridge-Wilkinson

    investment with no returns...

    I have so far been reluctant to back anything, I do look on KS regularly. I've seen some great ideas and products but the whole setup of KS rings alarm bells for me, especially as they use the word investment.

    If you were buying shares in a startup, then you are set to benefit if they are very successful and yes potentially lose if the firm is unsuccessful. That however is with eyes wide open. With KS, the best you can hope for is the product and worst is nothing at all, your return doesn't grow with the success of the firm.

    If these companies were so good wouldn't they be able to sell shares or go to individuals to get investment on the idea? However they would have to provide pretty compelling business cases to do that. Imagine if these guys went on Dragon's Den or similar.

    "It's a quadcopter that follows you and takes video."

    "Oh can we see it flying."

    "We only have a video/It doesn't fly."

    "I'm out."

    1. The Boojum

      Re: investment with no returns...

      You've hit the nail on the head. As an equity investor in a start-up, you take on significant risk but also share in any up-side, as well as having some rights. As a KS contributor you take on the same risk but have very limited up-side and almost no rights. No wonder start-ups prefer KS (yes, I know the complexities and costs of bringing in outside equity investors are much greater than in launching a KS, but my point still stands.)

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Kind Hearts And Coronets (1949)

    "I feel entitled to point out that we here regard our function as the encouragement of constructive investment and not the financing of mere gambling transactions"

  8. This post has been deleted by its author

  9. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    Investments

    can go up and down. If you can't afford to lose all your money then ANY Kickstarter investment should be treated as a black hole.

    In this case there does seem to have been a lot of 'stringing the suckers along' with emails about product status. Perhaps a wee bit of fraud might have been taking place while those with the money disappeared off into the sunset?

    The words 'Snake Oil Salesmen' come to mind.

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Re: Investments

      Kickstarter is not and never has been an investment - and sooner or later a regulator is going to take them to task over it.

      Investment means that you take a risk and own some portion of the proceeds - or losses.

      Kickstarter is a pre-order payment processor where if there aren't enough pre-orders, you don't pay at all. If there are enough pre-orders, you pay but might not actually get %thing% anyway - which puts it on fairly dodgy ground as the payment processor.

      I have backed a couple of Kickstarter things - however these have been friends where I'd happily have given them the cash in person anyway.

  10. Gene Cash Silver badge

    Old proverb

    "If it looks too good to be true, it probably is"

    Remember the shaving laser? Even Kickstarter was like "get outta here with that bullshit" before they even got off the ground, but it was AMAZING how many news stories were "this is the best thing since cars!" (for example http://www.cnet.com/news/forget-blades-the-skarp-laser-razor-wants-you-to-shave-with-lasers/)

    There was not even the first glance at the laws of physics to think if it was even possible.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Old proverb

      "There was not even the first glance at the laws of physics to think if it was even possible."

      Hmm - time to roll out a Kickstarter prospectus for a perpetual motion machine - just to see how many suckinvestors back it.

      1. DropBear Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Old proverb

        "time to roll out a Kickstarter prospectus for a perpetual motion machine"

        You're going to find the competition is absolutely vicious on KS in that field. You might have to take a number and wait in a queue - perpetual machines are a dime a dozen on KS, and I wish I were kidding...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Old proverb

        I interviewed someone for a technical position who shared that his interest in the job was just until he ironed out the kinks in his perpetual motion machine.

        Sadly, his grasp of other technical subjects - and grammar and spelling - was as tenuous as his grasp of physics.

        So we hired him.

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: Old proverb

          Perpetual motion machines on Kickstarter are the same as the ones on YouTube. Everybody knows that they are not perpetual, but the idea is the same as watching a conjurer perform - the challenge of making something that observers can't work out how it works and so there is an illusion taking place. It's entertainment, and often very ingenious at that. Nothing sinister.

          1. no-one in particular

            @ werdsmith Re: Old proverb

            > It's entertainment, and often very ingenious at that.

            I get the impression these people are deadly serious; when you get people backing $1 just to post comments and get some entertainment value the creators don't seem to be joining in.

      3. no-one in particular

        Re: Old proverb

        There seems to be a new perpetual motion machine (or similar) per week so you'll have to join the queue. Quite a few of them get backers as well, sad to say. But then the goals are often insanely high that doesn't really matter.

        Best stick to potato salad.

    2. Fraggle850

      Re: Old proverb

      > There was not even the first glance at the laws of physics to think if it was even possible.

      And such is the quality of much of what passes for sci/tech journalism in our modern, connected world.

    3. d3vy Silver badge

      Re: Old proverb

      @gene

      Are you saying I'm not getting my lazor razor?

      You'll be telling me that my flying car isn't coming next!

  11. zen1

    So let me undersand this correctly...

    People are upset because they aren't getting a trinket after pledging money on an initial start up's? Um, that is one of the inherent risks of being a venture capitalist, no? From the comments I've read on KS, people are acting like the start up was a retail outlet for this product, instead of a fledgling venture. And if they didn't pick up on the fact that there is some personal risk involved then I can't say I have a whole lot of sympathy for them, because you really don't have to read between the lines, there.

    1. martinusher Silver badge

      Re: So let me undersand this correctly...

      Sadly this seems to be a universal mindset these days. People just don't understand the notion of a risk premium or "why you charge interest on a loan" -- its not just to make money, its to cover the risk of the loan never being repaid.

      As far as I can see these people risked about $200 to develop a tiny quadcopter. They could probably buy something similar at the local hobby shop but this one was supposed to do everything. It didn't. They lost. Its not a big deal. If you can't afford to lose the investment then stick the money under the mattress (I'd usually say "put it in the bank" but these days you not only earn more from the mattress but it seems to be rather safer).

    2. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: So let me undersand this correctly...

      But Kickstarter has nothing whatsoever to do with VCs. It doesn't resemble that relationship in any way, shape or form.

      If the company becomes wildly successful, the KS backers will never see any return on their 'investment' at all - if they are lucky they get their trinket, at the very most.

      It is simply a risky way of pre-ordering.

  12. tkioz

    Honestly these people have no valid reason to be mad, they weren't pre-ordering a product, they were speculating, gambling that the company would keep its promises, and with all bets there is a chance you'll lose your money.

    Don't give money to any crowd funding effort that you're not willing to never see again.

    1. asdf Silver badge

      Have an upvote. Guess the downvotes are due to butthurt investors (ie. suckers).

    2. imanidiot Silver badge

      Kickstarters TOS for projects DOES state that ALL backer obligations have to be fulfilled or the money refunded. They DO have something to be a little bit annoyed about but sinking hundreds of pounds into a project like this is just foolish to begin with.,

      1. The Boojum

        And whenif the recipient has burned through all the money?

        I have to say that I'm not familiar with the details of how KS operates, but if the recipient of the money is a limited company then the contributors are stuffed and if the recipient is an individual I would guess the most likely outcome is that they have no money, get made bankrupt and the contributors are stuffed.

  13. Joerg

    More and more frauds with no law...

    It is just plain silly that all these frauds with crowdfunding are still allowed to happen and the law doesn't exist for these thieves.

  14. short

    KickShorter

    Could some kind soul set up KickShorter, where I can place bets against clearly doomed kickstarters / indiegogo campaigns?

    So many people seem happy to pour money into them and defend them vigorously right until they collapse, I'm sure they'll be keen to take my (escrowed) cash too.

    Of course, it'd be best if you just made off with the escrow funds after a year or so, just to teach everybody a valuable lesson.

    1. silent_count

      Re: KickShorter

      Anti-failure insurance wouldn't be the worst idea.

      KS could make it a requirement that everyone who wants a KS campaign has to pay $1k up front. That money would be used to pay someone to assess the viability of the campaign and determine how much it would cost for a potential backer to insure their pledge.

      KS could make a modest fee from selling the insurance, and posting the price of the insurance on a campaign's page would give would-be backers a better feel for the likelihood of the campaign's success.

  15. imanidiot Silver badge

    Why do people keep pledging projects like this

    The old adage: "If it seems too good to be true it probably IS" still rings true. Most of the functionality promised IS possible, just not all crammed together on a quad of that size. Simple physics pretty much make it impossible. There are SO many of these failed projects where people get all butthurt when it turns out the project leaders where either plain scamming or too stupid to manage a project like they were running. Personally I'd back off a tech project like this is so many backers suddenly jump on board. Especially a starter in the manufacturing bizz is just going to get overwhelmed. It's possible to just hack together a few dozen of these to complete your pledge rewards and be done with it. Setting up tooling and manufacture for a few hundred thousand units is something different entirely and something even large companies stumble over from time to time.

    Given this particular project however, all the warning bells should have been going off from the beginning with a lot of obvious over-promising happening.

    1. TechnicalBen Silver badge

      Re: Why do people keep pledging projects like this

      Thankfully there are some projects that do it right. Not always on KS though, usually on other sites.

      They will have a fully functional and fully designed version, possibly a pre-production/ready for production version for demonstration and even costings and production numbers up and openly available.

      In which case the KS/Indigogo or what ever becomes an equivalent to pre-orders and funds their initial production run.

      Those still have the risk of not meeting order quotas and missing the requirements to fund the manufacturing etc. But at least show they did their homework.

      1. imanidiot Silver badge

        Re: Why do people keep pledging projects like this

        I'm not saying there aren't any good project out there. It's actually quite easy to pick out those that HAVE done the needed legwork and preparation to get something produced. It's usually the electronics and marketing types that think design for manufacture and product development are an afterthought of sales.

  16. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    So, imaginary Star Trek Tech still not working in the real world then?

    Kell surpreeze!

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: Bah!

      Not really.

      It is possible to build a quadcopter that does all that. You can even do it for that money.

      No profit margin in it though, and you do need to know what you're doing and how to design for cheap manufacture.

      1. Stevie Silver badge

        Re: Bah!

        Go on then. There are thousands of people silly enough to buy that line and kick in it seems, so funding won't be a problem.

        Or shall I just call shenanigans now?

        Because I think you can't build such a machine, any more than the guys at Airware Subminiature Fully-Automated Drone Products Inc. could.

  17. wsm

    Just like for reals

    I know someone who introduces himself as an "investment banker" or alternates with "entrepreneur." To me, he's just someone who has failed in many a startup business venture.

    With this latest crash and burn, the investors are just the type this person is looking for: eternal deniers of reality.

  18. ShadowDragon8685

    Eh...

    Well, if they gave it all honest effort and simply failed, I say, shit happens, you move on with your life, and it's almost certain nobody is RUINED by this except maybe the guys who were trying to get the product off the ground (pun fully intended.)

    After all, investment is inherently a risky proposition, and while if you're careful and only back entertainment products, Kickstarter can be more like a long-term cash-up-front pre-order, anything hardware-related is going to be more risky.

    Of course, if there WAS actual knowingly fraudulent behavior involved, then that's another matter. But the distinction there is one for the courts to determine, I would say.

  19. jab701

    All the risky of being a shareholder...

    People don't seem to realise that backing something on kickstarter is more like being a shareholder in a risky venture, except:

    - If the company succeeds you get a copy of the product, you don't get to reap the benefits of shares which increase in value.

    - If the company fails then you get nothing, while this can be true as a shareholder I believe if a company folds then after debts are paid the shareholders are entitled to something, this does not apply to kickstarter AFAIK.

    I think kickstarter have changed their rules recently, you can't simply post blue sky ideas with no proof of concept any more.

    1. auburnman

      Re: All the risky of being a shareholder...

      "- If the company fails then you get nothing, while this can be true as a shareholder I believe if a company folds then after debts are paid the shareholders are entitled to something, this does not apply to kickstarter AFAIK."

      That's pretty much a technicality as a company usually only folds when it can't pay it's debts. In that case the creditors might see pennies in the pound as liquidators wind up the assets, shareholders wont see squat.

      I think there are two main issues with kickstarted organisations:

      - Key difference is with successful startups - traditional investors will own a percentage and see dividends whereas KS backers just get a product and then you're done. This isn't inherently terrible as long as the backers don't put in too much money and properly understand the risks. Hopefully this comes to be more the norm as this type of funding matures.

      -The other thing is the level of control backers have after a project is funded and the money is gone. The thread has already touched on the issue of delivery dates sliding as the project snowballs into something that needs an industrial production line, but it also includes the project dropping promised features or dropping in unwanted extras or extra hoops to jump through that piss the backer off. Examples include hidden costs for shipping outside the US, or having to give a credit card number to sign up to their store. The backer generally can't do shit about any of these except ask for a refund, which they are unlikely to get unless it can be proven the project clearly and unambiguously stepped over a line somewhere.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Convertibles

    Not the car - the bond.

    That's what you are effectively buying on kickstarter - a convertible bond.

    You loan the company money, and at the defined maturity date the bond converts into a product.

    Its not a purchase, its a form of loan - and if the company you loan the money to goes under, then you lose the money.

    The safe option is always wait and see if the product comes to life - however you do run the risk of the product never actually happening in that case...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Convertibles

      "Not the car - the bond."

      That was a car manufacturer. Their famous slab of cheddar cheese was an attempt at a sports car niche three-wheeler. The sort of thing that you wouldn't be surprised to see on KS.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bond_Bug

    2. Richard 12 Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Convertibles

      Damn - you're absolutely right.

  21. Snadowitz

    Seriously though folks. First Kickstarter is just that - a Kick Start for companies to do something. Not all of those things work or complete and that's the risk entrepreneurs take every day. If you want something now and expect it to have no kinks and wrinkles along the way then try eBay. Secondly - if anyone with an ounce of smarts seriously thought that a device the size of a sparrow could fly, transmit on bluetooth or wifi, take HD photos and videos, keep station, follow and so on, have a panel of LED's on its "chest' showing messages or whatever then they are out of their tiny minds.... The darned thing would not have the battery power to take off never mind do all of those things. If it is that easy to take a fools money then I might just start a KS campaign myself - an everlasting pen? or a loaf of bread that never goes stale? Davey Munroe must be laughing in his grave.

    1. DropBear Silver badge

      Couple of problems there. First Kickstarter is most definitely not "for companies". Second, nominally it is required by the KS ToS to have a completed and fully functional prototype of your hardware before you launch your project (if your project is about hardware). It's unfortunate that nobody actually enforces that, and (as a direct consequence) very few bother to respect it. But at least officially, that's how it's supposed to work - there is not supposed to be any guesswork involved about the feasibility of what's being proposed. That does not prevent potential issues at manufacturing time of course, but in my experience that's not where most vapourware projects get into trouble.

  22. Handy Andy
    Mushroom

    I think people are mislead into thinking they are not gambling because the upside is so poor.

    Best case: you get your trinket a bit early and 5-10% less than proposed eventual retail.

    Worst case: you lose the lot.

    If the upside was double your money or get something for 20-30% of retail, then people would be more aware they are taking a risk.

    There have been a few projects now I have almost backed that have turned to shit, TriggerTrap was another. Now I realise the risk reward profile, I'll keep my money and just pay retail when/if the product arrives.

    1. ShadowDragon8685

      That depends on what you Kickstart, mate. Stick with entertainment titles.

      I got the deluxe edition of Shadowrun: Hong Kong, and some goodies (an e-novel and a map,) and got my mitts on the full game earlier than launch, for my $25 Kickstart, when the deluxe edition alone ran to $30. Not a huuuuuge boost, I suppose... But I was pretty confident I would get it, and I was gonna throw the money at it anyway.

  23. grizewald

    I have no sympathy for the people who put money into this and lost it all.

    After even the most basic investigation into the state of play regarding quadcopters, you would spot the fact that the Zano uses very simple brushed motors and propellers from a toy quadcopter. Just knowing enough to recognise the kind of technology they were planning to use would tell you that the project's goals were unrealistic.

    Caveat emptor, fools are easily parted, etc etc.

    I don't think Kickstarter is particularly at fault. Surely it's the investor's responsibility to exercise due diligence?

    1. auburnman

      I think if KickStarter is at fault it's because they provide a sheen of respectability to shysters and incompetents; precisely because as another commenter noted they present to the public the impression that they have tight controls in place to keep out fraudsters and people who haven't actually got a working product yet. Whereas in actual fact these controls appear to be just smoke and mirrors.

      If you take a look at eBay, I would bet you still find a fair few dodgers on there still. In fact a pal of mine knows all too well it's still easy for a seller to mail out a broken piece of shit and swear blind it was mint condition when sent. Perhaps the 'dodger magnet' phase is something internet platforms just have to go through as they mature.

  24. happy but not clappy
    Holmes

    Kickstarter need to take some responsibility

    Do they say, in big letters, there is a chance you will lose all your money. If they don't, are they not guilty of mis-selling a financial product and therefore liable?

    As much as Caveat Emptor applies, it needs to be spelled out really clearly. I feel slightly sorry for those who were duped.

    Micro Drone 3.0 on indiegogo is looking good though...

    1. no-one in particular

      Re: Kickstarter need to take some responsibility

      They say it in small letters every time you go to make pledge.

  25. druck Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Good luck with seeing any of your cash again

    The last time I was unfortunate enough to deal with a liquidator, they spent 2 years sending me great thick wads of literature through the post, explaining the substantial costs they running up (a fair proportion from posting great big wads of literature). At the end of I got next to f'all back, what a surprise.

  26. aaaashy

    we have been here before with Kickstarter projects ....

    my gf purchased a 2nd tier (date when sponsoring the article) FREEDMAN CHAIR about 3 -4 YEARS ago

    we have heard nothing since the rumours started then there had been a couple of accidents from people sitting on their chair which then collapsed, seemingly due to being assembled wrongly (but it also appears that it is very easy to assemble it wrongly due to the poor instructions and possibly poor construction)

    i received this reply from a journo who had written about his experiences with Kickstarterr on the Freedman chair fiasco:- " .....this entire Freedman Chair project has become a massive failure. My chair sits against a wall holding a coat as a reminder of the $600+ I wasted on it.

    I have learned the company that makes the chair (The Miracle Chair Company) is "In Administration" - insolvent and close to failure perhaps?

    <https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/08086051/insolvency>

    Kickstarter has some important legal language about providing refunds if a project is not fulfilled, but it's not clear if they will invoke some sort of proceeding. I have contacted them for comments and haven't heard back.

    For those of us that have already gotten the chair - we're probably screwed.

    So, lots of silence about all this right now from the company, but I continue to dig for more details and updating my blog about it."

    and i bet there are plenty more horror stories about Kickstarter pledged non-starters/non-finishers

    anyone care to investigate a bit further???

  27. d3vy Silver badge

    Ha, the have a change.org petition going to try to get the PM to intervene.

    The company has gone bankrupt... Guess they don't understand the process.

  28. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    Kicking into tech projects is always dodgy. Most of the ones I've looked at have had "pie in sky" writ large in the description.

    Even if the concept is seemingly watertight, tech has a way of seducing would-be designers into making grandiose claims they haven't actually tried to implement or into "improving" the product as part of the initial build.

    Hence the Peachy Printer - an intriguing idea for a 3D printer (a really basic one; comparing it to even a mediocre commercially available printer is akin to comparing a Pi to a full-sized mini tower but we knew that going in - or should have done) . It is still in development over a year later than anticipated due to tech improvement creep.

    Will I be crushed if I don't see my $100 pay off? Yeah, sorta. Will I be surprised? Only a little. As soon as they started telling us they were changing the design (for the best of reasons) I knew they had gone seriously off the rails. When kickstarted projects go into R&D post-funding it is a bad sign.

    Tech isn't the only product class that suffers from over-claiming and under-delivering. Look at the mess Chaosium has gotten into with their stupidly over-funded Call of Cthulhu rewrite. And they *know* about publishing stuff.

    It is hard sometimes to sort out the sudden onrush of incompetence from the sudden de-cloaking of a bad actor prior to his heading for the Neutral Zone, but I have to say that the overblown claims for the Zano Drone had to be ringing alarm bells in any real engineer's head long ago.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019