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:
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?