Kickstarter not making friends with Follow Friends

Kickstarter projects can now get funded with a little help from your friends—not just likeminded strangers.

The crowdfunding site launched Follow Friends yesterday, a new opt-in feature it believes will make it easier for users to connect with community members and discover new projects.

Signing up for Follow Friends is easy; just link your Facebook or Google account. Once in, you can scroll through your contacts and choose whose Kickstarter activity to follow.

Kickstarter will then send you a notification every time someone you follow backs or launches a project. The site will also let you know when you arrive on the page of a project that’s already been backed by someone you follow.

Community members like Minneapolis, Minn., native Erica Mauter have already used Follow Friends to discover new projects, but not everybody’s been thrilled with the way that Kickstarter has implemented the feature.

Just as when one person follows another on Twitter, Follow Friends users get an email every time they’re followed. For popular backers like Gawker founder Nick Denton and Digiday editor-in-chief Brian Morrissey, that means an annoying influx of messages to their inboxes.

Hopefully that’s something that Kickstarter can fix in a hurry. As one tweet from blogger David Hobby suggests, some users are already threatening to leave the site:

“If your new model includes Twitter @ follow spam, it won’t include me. KTHXBAI.”

To be fair, Hobby clearly isn’t that bothered by Twitter’s follower notifications, since he’s still using the site. Like Twitter, which allows users to choose whether or not they receive emails when new users follow them, Kickstarter includes a simple option to turn off email notifications.

Maybe someone can do a Kickstarter to launch a public-information campaign about how to log into websites and change your settings.

Photo from Erin Kohlenberg

Chase Hoffberger

Chase Hoffberger

Chase Hoffberger reported on YouTube, web culture, and crime for the Daily Dot until 2013, when he joined the Austin Chronicle. Until late 2018, he served as that paper’s news editor and reported on criminal justice and politics.