Saturday, June 1, 2013

The Kickback Machine: A Research Tool for Kickstarters

The Kickback Machine is a research tool that allows Kickstarter candidates to compare successful and failed Kickstarter projects side-by-side so that they can get an idea of what works and what doesn't work. It's taglines are clear warnings to those who have dreams of Kickstarter success and glory: "Do your homework" and "Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it."

The Kickback Machine is the brainchild of Dan Misener, a radio producer and tech writer for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Misener got the idea for the site a bit over a year ago when he realized that Kickstarter makes it hard for the reader to find the records of failed projects. (He was quick to note at the time, however, that he doesn't think there is anything "nefarious or ill-intentioned" in this, just that it's "an interesting design decision" when it comes to how failed projects are or are not displayed.) Note that The Kickback Machine's project records go back only to mid-June of last year.

The Kickback Machine gives the reader tools to search for and browse projects by Kickstarter categories. Readers can further refine the search to view only successful or unsuccessful projects in the category, and to further filter by goal (i.e., dollar amount). For example, we searched for successful projects in the Comics category with a goal of approximately $10,000 and got these results.

In collaboration with Daniel Woelfel's CanHeKickIt project, Misener added a checkbox option last October to the projects display page that replaces each project thumbnail with a chart of its funding trajectory, so you can see the progress of its funding over time.

For more interesting news about Kickstarter, also keep an eye on Dan Misener's blog using his "kickstarter" search tag.

Tip of the hat to the Digital Trends blog.

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