Kickstarter Lesson #147: Prefundia

30 April 2015 | 22 Comments

Prefundia is a web app that helps creators to build a crowd before the crowdfunding campaign and then announce the launch of the project. It’s free and easy to set up, and I think it’s a service with good intentions.

But I wouldn’t recommend using it.

I had a good discussion with some fellow creators about Prefundia a few weeks ago following an excellent post by Dirk Knemeyer about his recent Tesla vs. Edison Kickstarter campaign. Dirk spoke highly of Prefundia, and the general attitude from many creators was that it couldn’t hurt.

However, my suspicion is that it actually can hurt.

I’ve written about how the priority of every creator at least 6 months before launching a crowdfunding project is to create a monthly or bimonthly e-newsletter. It is by far the best way to “capture” contact information and keep people in the loop about a project launch, as well as engaging subscribers in the long term.

Prefundia, however, offers a one-time deal: If you direct someone to Prefundia, they’ll get a notification from Prefundia when your project launches, but that’s it. You don’t get their e-mail address. It’s a one-time engagement. [UPDATE Jan 2016: Apparently Prefundia changed their mind, and now creators may download a list of e-mail addresses. Remember that you cannot add those e-mail addresses to your e-newsletter list, though, as they need to separately opt in to each form of contact).

E-newsletter subscribers can unsubscribe whenever they want if they lose interest, but at least there’s the potential for a long-term relationship. Because of that, I simply wouldn’t give people the choice between Prefundia and e-newsletter.

Some creators pointed out that they might get a few backers from people browsing Prefundia. Sure, it’s possible, in the same way that it’s possible Doc Brown might have discovered my treasure chest project by searching on Google for “uranium alternative to plutonium?”

Is there data to back up this presumption? Thanks to James Mathe’s recent survey of hundreds of Kickstarter backers, there is:

KS_mailing

Just in case that text is too small, the chart is basically saying that out of 703 respondents, only 3 people preferred to get a notification about a crowdunding launch from Prefundia (or Launchrock, a similar service). That’s pretty darn conclusive.

I applaud Prefundia for innovating, but my goal here is to look out for my fellow Kickstarter creators, and I really think you’re much better off focusing your time and attention on building a crowd in advance of your project launch through an e-newsletter.

What are your thoughts?

22 Comments on “Kickstarter Lesson #147: Prefundia

      1. Not only don’t you get the email but you are not allowed to send them a message from your page at any time after launch either. So you’re basically wasting your marketing efforts building a user base for Prefundia and not your company.

  1. As someone who has created a Prefundia page, I can attest that you do not get email addresses. Having that said, I’m glad you covered this topic Jamey, and I totally agree that by having a Prefundia it could hinder your ability to establish long term relationships with potential backers, if you promote it.

    When I created my Prefunia page I hadn’t really looked into the psychology behind it, or even thought about all the points you’ve mentioned here. I could take it down, but my philosophy now is that I’m not promoting it in any way, and nobody even knows it’s there unless they happen to go to Prefundia and start browsing through projects. I also added a link to my website on my Prefundia page, and a message to anyone who would like to receive additional information about my game to subscribe to my newsletter (which I have on my home page).

    Do you think by me keeping my Prefundia page up (but not promoting it) could still hurt in any way? To be honest, I won’t be making a Prefundia page my 2nd time around, but since I have about 30 subscribers on there now I’d hate to get rid of it at this point. That’s 30 people that will get an automatic alert on my day of launch, which could turn into potential backers (at which point I’d have their email).

  2. Mike: That’s a great question. I think if a few people have discovered your project solely from searching on Prefundia, that’s totally fine. You’re not cannibalizing your e-newsletter if that’s how people are discovering your project.

    1. Thanks Jamey, it’s good to get the clarification from you regarding this. I’m still learning a lot of things and still very new at this, but you’ve got the invaluable experience and have been through all the trial and error, so I really appreciate your advice and input.

  3. Thanks for clarifying @Mike. Having a Prefundia page to pick up people who browse there seems fine. But I wouldn’t promote it or push people towards any third-party solution where you don’t get the email address.

    1. Thank you Randy, it’s great to hear your feedback on this as well. That’s pretty much what I was thinking but now it just clarifies things a bit more. I certainly will not promote it, or even mention it to anyone. At this point, I’m just leaving it there in the event someone already on Prefundia happens to find it. Meanwhile, I’m directing everyone to my e-newsletter.

  4. We looked at Prefundia too, but we couldn’t see the value in using that over using the KS preview page. I agree with Jamey. We added a newsletter popup early on, and although it didn’t light the world on fire with adds, we did get a steady trickle of people, most of whom are still us today.

  5. Newsletters all the way for me. Not only do I get notification of project launches, but I get to follow the progress of new designs from designers I’ve appreciated or have designs that interest me but their last publisher went bankrupt due to industrial action in the shipping industry (*sighs* – Chromocubes does look awesome, though, and I’m intending on printing off the P&P at some point.)

  6. I have used Prefundia, and I have seen people redirected to my campaign thanks to it, but it is better to have done the same amount of work on your KS page already and invite people to see its preview. This way, they can leave you both feedback and they can also click the “notify me on launch” button on the page.

    On the other side, they will get notified at the beginning of your campaign, so it will be up to you to gain their trust afterwards to subscribe to your newsletter after showing them what you are capable of.

    1. Evangelos: That’s a good point for anyone who is new to your company. Their first exposure to you is your opportunity to gain their trust so they opt in to your e-newsletter later.

  7. Do you think it’s better to create a simple website (even if it’s just a single page) than use Prefundia? A website might take more time, but you would be able to build a mailing list and have a long-term presence on the Internet. Or is it simply too much work?

    1. Sheldon: I’m definitely an advocate of adding value to other people through some sort of ongoing media, whether it’s a website/blog, podcast, or YouTube channel. You need to have some sort of real estate where people can find you. That said, for the quickest of startups, you can use MailChimp to create a webpage just to collect subscriber e-mails.

  8. This is from the viewpoint of a backer. I don’t bother with sites like Prefundia. I subscribe to a number of forums that have a section devoted to crowd funded projects. I rely on these to “get the skinny” on the project creators as well as to alert me on projects that are most likely to appeal to me. I also rely creators of previous projects that I have backed who gave me reason to return. Finally, looking at the projects in fellow backer’s profiles has yielded some great prospects.

    Jamey, if you would prefer to keep the comments more from a creator perspective, please let me know.

  9. Thank for this guys.
    Like the comments from Randy, Mike, James and others. Your discussion certainly clarifies the use of Prefundia.

    To be honest I’ve never considered it as part of pre campaign exposure build up as I would prefer to straight link people to the KS preview. This way people get to know the project and get the exposure to what the KS is before the campaign starts, giving those new to it time to familiarize themselves with it.

    On the other hand it was not obvious to me that it can be useful as the discovery tool improving your exposure.

    All the Best :)

  10. Just got an email from Prefundia saying I can now download my followers – they must have had a change of heart. All you get is the email and date they followed your campaign, but that’s all I need. And just in time since my campaign launches tomorrow!

  11. Has anyone had good a experience with using Facebook Lead Ads? I have all these page likes but it would really be great if I could get email address to go with them.

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