25 February 2015
Something interesting happened this morning.
I launched our Between Two Cities Kickstarter campaign without a hitch at 9:30 am. We got a nice onrush of previous and new Stonemaier backers, and the project reached its $20,000 funding goal in 38 minutes. The next 42 minutes went well too, with the funding level eclipsing $30,000.
Then Kickstarter crashed.
I swear it wasn’t us. Stonemaier has a very supportive audience, but it’s quite small compared to The Oatmeal’s audience, and it held up just fine last month when their Exploding Kittens project went live. Though it is a little odd, because this same thing happened when I launched our Treasure Chest campaign last June.
I’m writing this post after Kickstarter has been down for 75 minutes (and counting). I have to say, it hasn’t been easy. Momentum is everything on crowdfunding. In the last 75 minutes, I’m sure that plenty of people have clicked on links to Between Two Cities from my e-newsletter alert, social media, and various blogs, and they’re all getting an error message. That may be the one and only time they click that link. That sucks.
I’ve been trying to find a positive spin on this–surely there must be something constructive we can take away from Kickstarter’s frailty, right? So I turned to Twitter, and two key ideas came up (thanks to Michael Coe for encouraging me to make lemonade out of these lemons):
Don’t Rely Solely on Kickstarter to Keep Your Business Afloat (or Any One Website or Revenue Stream)
This is a great point from Scott King. It’s something I’ve also heard from our friends at Greater Than Games: If your business hinges on a single website or revenue stream, you’re in trouble.
Fortunately we don’t rely solely on Kickstarter. We accept pledges and pre-orders through Shoplocket as well, and all of our products are in distribution (or will be).
But Kickstarter does have a major impact on the success of Stonemaier Games. I need a platform with 100% uptime. Perhaps there is no such thing.
Stagger Social Media Announcements
The other point was from Tony at Board Game Quest. He mentioned that a key takeaway for creators is to stagger social media announcements just in case something like this happens.
That’s a good idea even if Kickstarter doesn’t crash. I send out an e-newsletter the minute I launch a Kickstarter, but I try to wait until the next day to post anything to Facebook, and I spread out announcements to previous project backers as well.
That initial rush is important, but it’s just as important to keep momentum moving along by reaching people in different ways. You avoid coming across as spammy if you spread out your announcements.
What do you think? Do you have a positive or constructive spin on Kickstarter’s website being down?
And now, with Kickstarter still down, I will go eat lunch.
[Update post-lunch: Kickstarter is mostly working now, albeit a little slow. Perhaps the solution from now on is to go eat lunch when Kickstarter is down.]