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Indiegogo offers insurance to protect users from failed crowdfunding campaigns
A solution to their woes—or a band-aid on a bullet wound?
The crowdfunding platform is currently testing out a $15 “Perk Insurance” on on wearable tech product Olive, promising to refund backers if the product doesn’t ship within 3 months of the estimated delivery date provided.
The insurance is provided by Indiegogo rather than the campaign creator themselves.
The company has a rocky reputation when it comes to curating the products it allows on the site. While rival Kickstarter is fairly proactive in removing questionable campaigns from their platform, Indiegogo takes a far more hands-off approach, previously telling the Daily Dot that they don’t “arbitrarily define the value of any campaign on behalf of the campaign over.”
This stance has produced numerous “scampaigns” that have raised hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars, despite questions raised over their viability—the “impossible” Ritot projection watch being a prime example.
Indiegogo refused to discuss the insurance pilot with TechCrunch—saying only that it “regularly develops and tests new features to meet the needs of both funders and campaign owners”—but the perk could be understood as an attempt to restore faith in their platform and guarantee backers peace-of-mind, without compromising on their principles.
However, the introduction can also be interpreted as an admission that there are serious problems with their checks on projects—as seen in projects that Indiegogo has refused to suspend despite widespread criticism, only for the creators to later admit they can’t deliver what they promised.
The crowdfunding industry will always have an element of risk—but that doesn’t mean platforms shouldn’t seek to minimize it wherever possible. It remains to be seen whether Indiegogo’s experiment will be viewed as a viable solution to this issue—or a startling admission of failure.
Rob Price is a technology and politics reporter who served as the U.K.-based morning editor for the Daily Dot until 2014. He now works as the news editor for Business Insider, and his work has appeared in Vice, Slate, the Washington Post, and the Independent.