Samstag, 15. Juni 2013

Kickstarter Bandits

The team behind the crowdfunding campaign for the Kickstarted documentary may have helped catch the largest Kickstarter fraud in history just in the nick of time, and literally quite by accident.

The team explains:

A couple of weeks ago, we reached out to the project creators behind Kobe Red, a company that was raising funds to make 100% Japanese beer fed Kobe beef jerky. Their product sounded delicious and we were intrigued to hear more about their crowdfunding story for our documentary film, Kickstarted.  We thought these guys would make for a great interview. Plus, their project had massively exceeded it’s modest $2,374 goal, eventually reaching over $120,000 in pledges from 3,000 backers. However, after emailing back and forth with these guys, we started to get very suspicious about the legitimacy of Kobe Red. We decided to look more deeply into their operations and as a result helped to uncover what would have been the biggest fraud in Kickstarter’s history.

A simple interview request with the project creators turned into an exercise in rewards-based crowdfunding due diligence and the revelation that the campaign creators were being disingenuous. The campaign originally spurned some very complimentary press about the aim of the campaign, but has since resulted in news outlets like Quartz using the instance as a platform to question Kickstarter’s overall approach to fraud.

Kickstarter Scammers Cheat Backers Out Of $344,000

Last July, funding was completed on a Kickstarter project called Eyez by ZionEyez HD Video Recording Glasses for Facebook. The campaign raised $343,415—nearly $290,000 more than the $55,000 the Seattle-based ZionEyez team originally targeted.

The Eyez glasses could supposedly record video straight from your line of vision and upload it to Facebook. All in all, 2,059 backers (those who pledged $150 or more) were promised one set each by "the winter 2011 season."

It's now the summer of 2012, and those backers still haven't received a thing.

What's more, no one’s heard from the project's creators since April '10, when the team announced it would need eight to 12 more weeks to design and test the glasses and another 12 to 16 weeks to manufacture the first round of rewards. (Chief Technology Officer Joe Taylor did not respond to a request for comment from The Daily Dot.)

Aggravated backers have turned to the campaign's comments section to voice their complaints in hoards.

Some have threatened class action lawsuits while others, such as backer Lawrence Ku, have suggested that the team band together and hire a hitman to "find Joe Taylor and his pals and hammer them to an inch of their lives."

The hired muscle will have a hard time finding the purported scammers, who have been just as slow to respond to backer emails as they have in delivering on their promises.

"What happened to your claims of 48 hour response times?" backer oxymandias asked. "I have sent you *repeated* emails asking you questions—and you have not bothered to reply.
"In fact, over the last month, I have sent you 12 emails—and only one of those emails got a reply -- which consisted of a copy/paste of the kickstarter update—despite the fact that that was *not* actually an answer to the questions I asked."

On Saturday, backer Mårten Brödje posted a comment on the Eyez page detailing an email that he'd received in response from ZionEyez: Read more at The Daily Dot

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