Kickstarter Lesson #65: How to Get US Backers if You’re Running a Non-US-Based Kickstarter Campaign

16 October 2013 | 64 Comments

Up until October 31, 2012, Kickstarter creators were limited to US citizens and US companies. Kickstarter requires creators to link their Amazon payments account to Kickstarter, and Amazon payments requires a social security number or EIN.

So for the first few years of Kickstarter’s existence, if you weren’t a US citizen or company and wanted to run a campaign, you had to essentially hire someone in the US to run the campaign for you or serve as your Amazon payment connection. That requires a lot of trust and accountability, so it wasn’t all that common.

However, Kickstarter has since expanded to the United Kingdom and Canada. A few days ago they also announced that creators in Australia and New Zealand will have access to Kickstarter starting on November 13.

Kickstarter graciously shares data for the first month after launching in new countries, and I want to highlight some of that data for today’s topic. Here is the breakdown of backer locations for the first month of activity for UK-based Kickstarter projects:

US backers: 23%

UK backers: 39%

EU backers: 23%

Other areas: 15%

And here is the comparative breakdown for Canada-based Kickstarter projects:

US backers: 44%

Canada backers: 22%

Other areas: 34%

Let’s compare those stats to Euphoria’s breakdown. I’m using Euphoria for this example because shipping was free to most locations worldwide, which helps to democratize the data:

US backers: 61%

UK backers: 8%

EU backers: 18%

Canada backers: 9%

Other areas: 6%

This data illustrates that UK and Canada-based projects aren’t fully accessing the US market (the same could be said for many US-based Kickstarter projects due to shipping costs, but because of Euphoria’s free shipping in the US, UK, EU, Canada, and China, I think those are the numbers to aim for. That could change as Kickstarter grows in other countries).

I believe there are two primary reasons why UK- and Canada-based Kickstarter projects don’t have as many US backers as US-based projects. The first is obvious; the second, not as much. Also, please note that I’m a US backer, and I am guilty of the things I’m going to describe below.

  1. Shipping: US backers are spoiled by free shipping. We expect the shipping cost to be built into the reward price, so when we have to pay extra for it, we feel like we’re losing money. It’s going to be hard to break us of that entitlement at this point, so you’ll need to be creative when finding a way to ship goods to US backers. Fortunately there are a bevy of fulfillment companies you can use in the US. You can even use the same methods I use to affordably and efficiently ship goods to US backers.
  2. Burning Suns by SunTzuGames — KickstarterCurrency Conversion: Okay, US backers, admit it. When you see a reward level that says “Pledge £55,” you have no idea how much money that is in US dollars. Kickstarter will tell you the US amount at checkout, but not on the project page. So it leaves US backers confused and intimidating by how much £55 could be. The real answer? Right now, it’s around $89. Here’s what you can do to help US backers: Tell them the converted $ amount right there in the reward level. I advised Emil to do this for his Burning Suns project, and he even wisely added Euros too. You should make sure to note on the project page or FAQ that the converted amounts you post in the reward levels are based on the conversions at the time the project launches. UPDATE: Kickstarter appears to now add little notes next to the funding goal and reward levels that offer conversion estimates for backers, so this added notation may no longer be needed.

Before I go, I want to turn this around to non-US backers regarding US-based Kickstarters: What can we do to make our projects more accessible to you? Obviously better shipping rates (and shipping from within your countries so you can avoid high customs fees) would help, but would the currency conversion be helpful to you, or is that not needed? What else?

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64 Comments on “Kickstarter Lesson #65: How to Get US Backers if You’re Running a Non-US-Based Kickstarter Campaign

      1. Hey, non-US backer here… I’ve recently seen a project that I was very interested in, but they only offered the reward to US backers… Not to be deterred, I sent a message to the creator and (politely) asked if they have any plans for their product to be available worldwide in the future, or if they had considered shipping outside the US (specifically to the EU), and charging the shipping cost to the backers… The response was essentially, “Thank you for asking, but no, we likely won’t be offering this outside the US”… No harm, no foul, except I’ll likely ignore any of their future projects as a result… Contrary to this, there was another project (one that I was less interested in, but still deemed it worth a look) that was also US only, but this creator wrote back to say they are looking into options for International shipping but at the time they hadn’t found anything that suited them and was feasible, in their eyes, for non-US backers, and that they chose to go ahead with the project as US only as it was their first project and they felt like keeping it “simple” would benefit them and their backers in the long term, but they also mentioned that if this was successful they would continue to look at going into retail in non-US markets, or at the very least running a second edition in expanded regions with the knowledge they gained from the first campaign… I kinda see it from their point of view, and can’t fault a first time creator who stays in their own region just because it may be easier to manage, but either way I appreciated their response a lot more and now I follow their KS profile, so I should get notified of future campaigns they may run…

        Basically, for a first time project, I don’t mind creators who stay local to their own region, I understand it, learning about foreign tax law and high shipping costs or finding a regional fulfillment center and trusting them to handle your passion project can be daunting… But if they don’t show any desire to branch out in future, they lose me… If they seem to want to continue looking at ways to spread their product and make it more accessible, I’ll follow them, and hopefully one day I’ll be able to support them…

  1. I’m located in Germany and recently discovered that Deutsche Post offers flat international rates ( that seem almost too good to be true – unless I’m misunderstanding something here, I could ship my game, a 90-card game, for €3.70 to ANYWHERE in the world. That’s crazy cheap, enough that I’m now looking at German manufacturers to possibly bring down freight.

    If anyone understands this system better and notices I’m making a bonehead move here, let me know!

  2. Personally, I like moderate shipping costs (let’s say 6$ to the US) that don’t increase if you back 1 or 2 extra copies. This way the shipping costs are not offputting but still motivate backers extrinsically to share the campaign.

  3. How much does the form of currency, Euros vs USD, for example, matter to US clients when backing a project? I’ve been told by several campaign organisers that there is an aversion to backing projects not in USD.

    1. Gordon: Thanks for your question. I do think there is a slight aversion, but at this point Kickstarter is really good at showing the currency conversion on the project page, both under the funding goal and each reward level. So I think it’s much less of a problem now than it was a year ago.

  4. It’s actually *less* hoops, not more. You don’t need to have an Amazon account or anything of the sort and everything remains in Kickstarter. The problem is that it’s a different system, so some people may become suspicious because of the differences to what they are accustomed to.

    I can imagine that having Amazon as the backend made sense at the beginning, as it was an established platform for which most people already had an account and which offered additional peace of mind for pledgers (in the form of reasonable dispute policies, for example). But right now, given that KS has become a household name, I think that people would be more receptive to doing everything within KS. (It likely won’t happen, as it would entail additional costs and nightmares for the KS staff and the Amazon fees are paid for by creators anyway. But they could certainly do it if they wanted).

    1. Agreed the problem is that it’s a different system, andvaranaut. For people who have never backed a project before, paying KS directly would probably be better. But for experienced backers who have only backed US campaigns before it’ll definitely be a barrier. I wonder what percentage of backers fall into that latter category? I imagine it’s large. (80%?) I also wonder what percentage of those backers would bail out when seeing the extra billing steps required (as compared with using Amazon again). I imagine that’s a pretty large number as well. (50%?) Putting those two guesstimated numbers together leads to a 40% loss in funding! I’d love to hear what you, Jamey, or anyone thinks of those guesstimates!

  5. As a Canadian (company) working towards creating a campaign, my biggest concern is KS not supporting Amazon payments to Canadian projects. Here’s a quote from the KS site “When pledging, however, backers of Canadian projects will enter their payment information directly on Kickstarter rather than through Amazon Payments. All pledges will be processed securely through a third-party payments processor.” (from This means backers will have to jump through extra payment hoops to back a Canadian project! I imagine this is a barrier that cause many to bail out. So, as much as I’d love to “represent myself”, this coupled with the currency conversion issue makes me believe I should try to find a US business or individual to list the project. :(

    ps. Thanks again, Jamey! Your blog is gold, gold, gold.

    1. eddyboxx: That’s really interesting, and (I can imagine), frustrating. From what I can tell from the comments on today’s blog entry, the fewer hoops backers have to jump through, the better.

  6. Hi Jamey, You’re right, the currency is converted, but only when the pledge is being made. Ideally, all the different pledge levels on the right of the project page would be converted on the project page so the potential backer sees it in their local currency. (Assuming of course they are logged in, or just set the page locale.)

  7. I think the way the currency is dealt with is something Kickstarter could improve. They use Amazon payments which handles currency conversions on the online store, so would have thought the user could just specify the currency they want to pledge in, and Kickstarter would display a realtime conversion.

    1. Sam: I actually think Kickstarter is doing something like this now. If you go to a project based in a foreign currency, after you select a pledge level, I think it tells you the approximate current conversion.

  8. I wish Amazon payment was possible outside the US too, I’d love to have a kick starter account but I’m also extremely paranoid about using credit cards online and Amazon is one of the few sites I feel safe using. I don’t understand why they don’t have it as an option, Amazon has stores in all Europe and I’ve used several times without a problem.

    Will this be possible in the future?

    1. Carol: Thanks for your comment. I think the various iterations of Amazon around the world are different financial institutions, hence the difference in payments between US and international backers. Thus I doubt they’ll offer a solution for you in the future, but you might write to Kickstarter (or Amazon payments) so your voice can be heart.

  9. Thanks Jamey. Thanks Jess. Sorry for the belated reply, I missed my confirm emil for the thread. At this stage we are planning on launching in Australia and keeping shipping $5 for AU, US and UK ($ everywhere else). With the AU$ the way it currently is it it actually really favours UK and US backers so hopefully we get a lot of them :). We’re submitting our project to Kickstater tomorrow for approval and hoping to launch on the 18th. Thanks again Jamey, your blog is extremely very awesome!

  10. @Jamey, thanks. I have now decided to launch from UK.

    @Mike, I only know the process for setting up as a foreigner in UK and I think it is the same for US.

    You need to have a) a company, b)a bank account and c)a company secretary. So you have a) and b), but don’t you also have c) from when you created your company/bank in Delaware? Then you might be able to reuse that secretary as your person in US. That is what I am going to do in the UK.

  11. Interesting and helpful post, Thanks Jamey. Quick question that’s related. We are an online retailer making personalized kids products considering posting a project very soon. While based in Australia (where we make and ship product from) we now have separate business entities and web sites eg .com, .au and variants in all 3 countries. In the UK we have customer service staff and office, however in the US we currently only have our Delaware LLC, postal address and bank account etc. With no actual staff in the US could we still set up to run a US campaign? I’m assuming a US campaign would give us the best results? Failing that should we consider UK over AU?

  12. Jamey, thanks for a great post with great comments!

    I am as a Danish citizen considering whether to launch from UK or US. I am considering to launch with free shipping cost no matter where in the World you live to take that concern out of the equation.

    UK would be legally be easier for me to launch, but I fear my campaign would not reach same potential as if it were launched from US and in USD. Does any of you have numbers confirming that hypothesis?

    And Jamey, how many backers in % do you think you would loose if you hypothetically launched from UK?

    1. Thanks, Jess. That’s a good question. Free shipping can be very appealing, but make sure you first work through those costs.

      It’s tough to compare UK to US projects, as there are so many variables in play. But I still think that projects launched in $USD have a better chance of overfunding due to the elements I discuss in this blog post. On the other hand, you might gain some UK backers who wouldn’t otherwise be interested. It’s really tough to tell what the % swing would be.

      If launching from the UK is considerable easier for you, I might recommend launching the project from the UK and, if it really doesn’t do well and you attribute it to UK vs. US, you could relaunch the project later from the US. Otherwise if it’s not that much harder to launch from the US, I would recommend doing that.

  13. I’m a little surprised by how much of a barrier the country of origin seems to be for some commenters here when its not the US. But those stats dont lie and project creators would be mad to ignore them. Converting currencies seems a strange barrier but there it is. Sketchy fullfilment is a real issue of course but its equally possible no matter the country of origin. Surely its more the individual fulfillment method. But again perceptions matter no matter how incorrect they may generally be.

    Its hard to make case by case comparisons I’d be very interested to see averaged backer numbers between projects in a few categories between the US, Canadian and UK Kickstarter projects. I think those raw numbers balanced with the backer location percentages from each KS domain are critical… eg are lower US backer numbers counterbalanced by local fervour, or not?

    Clearly, as you say Jamey, for now people should attempt to back from a US company and use similar or better fulfilment options that US companies do.

    I’m still amazed at how many US projects end up at double or more the cost for internationals than US backers when a proven alternative exists. As an Australian KS backer I just can’t wait till the majority of KS games in all its domains are fulfilled using the Amazon method for US / Canada / Europe combined with direct fulfillment from China to AU / NZ and other areas. Then we get more standardised prices and more games all round. Utopia.

    1. Oooops i mean for now people should attempt to create projects from a US company if possible and use similar or better fulfillment options than other US companies do.

      1. Kim–Well, I should add that even with direct shipping from China to Australia, it’s still more expensive than standard domestic shipping. I have some ideas for the future to lower it even more, but I think it will always be higher than USPS domestic rates. Maybe if Amazon fulfillment comes to Australia…

        1. Yes China to AU / NZ certainly will be a little higher than domestic USPS rates. I think most backers In AU/NZ are just wanting to know if they are paying the minimum possible postage with the bounds of reasonable delivery time frames and quality packaging. That’s really no different than every backer I suspect. Regarding fears of foreign fulfillment, If games are going to regular distribution in the US then they can also go to backers via US fulfillment or Amazon US all remotely managed. That’s a key benefits of your Amazon model – surely it means the actual fulfillment issues from whatever source country raised by Jewelyaz above are irrelevant. That’s one potential barrier overcome for US backers of international projects.

          I don’t have a solution about fear of foreign currencies other than to say best if done from a US LLC. Although it still sounds like some US backers would still view a foreign designed game done under a US LLC in US$ in KS with some suspicion… How widespread is that fear I wonder?

          Jamey have you ever seen a comparison of raw backer numbers by projects created in different KS domains? I’m just assuming US KS games tend to have higher average backer numbers… but how big is the difference?

          1. Kim–That’s a good question about Kickstarters that use US currency but are based on in other companies. I think if you’re transparent about, there’s no issue. For example, look at The Agents. Shar made it clear that he’s located in Israel but has an address and a company registered in the US, and he did pretty darn well for himself. :)

            I haven’t seen such a comparison, no. I think it’s tough to compare different projects in that way–each project is different. I think the only way you could truly test it would be a blind beta test where some people who sign in to Kickstarter see the US $ version of a project and others see the UK $ version (all other things being equal) and see which one does better.

  14. Though it’s not necessarily a unique position, as a Canadian I balk at US projects that charge the same shipping to Canada as to the EU. The feeling of “subsidizing” shipping for other backers – including those in the US who get it “free” – leaves a bad taste in my mouth, even though it’s partially Kickstarter’s system of only allowed one “outside of US” shipping price. Lots of campaigns have dealt with this either either by making special tiers or breaking down actual costs for shipping to each area, so the ones that haven’t are that much more obvious.

    In regards to currency conversion, it doesn’t really matter. I can look it up if I care but have a pretty good idea what the US/CAN conversion is most of the time.

    The only other thing I can say about accessibility is: Don’t make it look like you’re “throwing us a bone.” A current game campaign right now only has one (super expensive deluxe edition) tier for international backers. Another dungeon-themed game shipped international rewards almost a month after US ones, without any communication – we had to find out via the postmarking on the package invoices after waiting weeks and weeks. If you treat me like a “second-class” backer, I’m not going to pledge (or support future projects).

    1. Jacq–Thanks for your comment. You make some great points. I do want to point out how the subsidizing works, though (at least, this is how it should work):

      If shipping to the US (freight plus courier) is, say, $13/game, I would include that in the price of the game on Kickstarter. So a $49 game on Kickstarter would actually be $36 plus $13 in shipping.

      Say that shipping a game to Canada is a total of $25. I should not charge $49 + $25 to Canadian backers. Rather, I should charge $36 + $25, or $61. Thus the subsidy applies to all backers, not just US backers.

      My hope is that other project creators get this. I think most of them do. If not, don’t back their project.

      1. I think it’s the transparency that can be a huge issue. Project creators like to say “free shipping to the US” because it sounds better to US backers than “shipping to the US included” – but unless they specifically outline the game + shipping costs somewhere, as you did, it’s comes across as negative towards me as a Canadian backer (I can’t speak for others)

        Just as an example, a project I looked at a few minutes ago has the base game pledge at $80. They list an MRSP of $89.99, and “free” shipping to the US ($30 shipping outside the US). Looking at this from my POV, I *know* it doesn’t cost $30 to ship the contents from US-Canada, and certainly doesn’t cost $30-domestic shipping costs (or, more basic, shipping from US-Canada is cheaper than shipping US-Australia). The question is, where does that extra $10 or so go? At worst, partially (or totally) to offsetting shipping costs to those who back from places where it’s more than $30 to ship. At “best” it goes to the main campaign, which while not really evil or anything, is still a little bit dishonest (to say the cost is for “shipping” and then putting it towards something that’s not actually shipping).

        So, my options are: Back for $110. The game sells well and I can eventually purchase it from my FOLGS for MSRP + Shipping (which may work out to about $110), more likely a discount off the MSRP will make it less. I can purchase it from my FLGS for MSRP, or discounted (eventually) online which ends up costing me <$110. If the game doesn't do well enough to be available anywhere post-KS, it's no big loss and it's probably better that I saved my money on something that doesn't live up to they hype. So regardless, the best economic choice for me is "Do not Back."

        Of course, all of that goes out the window when we're talking about themes that are close to my heart or campaigns by designers/artist/people I'm a huge fan of, or people I want to support but not necessarily get a copy of the game from. But I think those fringe cases aren't what you were addressing.

        Sorry the reply was so long. Hopefully the "Thought Process of a Canadian Backer" is useful to somebody, somewhere.

        1. Jacq–I think that’s a really valid question for that campaign. It doesn’t sound like they did the math right. Perhaps you could suggest the Stonemaier Method to them (shipping directly to fulfillment, thus making it the exact same price as the US games)?

  15. I concur with most of the comments, but I’m a little puzzled at the insistence on separating UK and EU when it comes to shipping, which seems to be on the rise. UK *is* part of the EU, so if you get your games to the UK, you can distribute them without customs costs to other parts of the EU. I find the separation to be confusing – just talk about “Rest of the EU”. UK is probably a natural target for most KS games – but so is Germany, for instance, so anything which helps reduce confusion for other EU backers is good in my book.

    At the current time, I would go for inline currency conversion within KS (perhaps along with the original quantity, eBay-style) first, US$ as a unified currency if it was allowed (which it probably isn’t) second. The main trouble I see with currency conversions is psychological, and it has been hinted at above – if you are paying in £ or € and the project is in $, then you know that the final amount you pay in your “home” currency is less than the dollar amount (quite a bit less – over a third less in £ or over a fourth less €, as of today), which is good – it feels like you’re getting the game “cheaper”. But in the other sense, I can see how the fact that the number itself goes up when doing the math could possibly turn some people off.

    1. Andvaranaut–That’s a good point. I separated it in my data because (a) I wanted readers to be able to compare it to Kickstarter’s numbers, and (b) because I’m sending a shipment of games directly to But you’re right, they’re part of the EU, despite their use of pounds instead of Euros.

      Yeah, Kickstarter doesn’t let creators choose the currency of choice–it’s set based on where you’re launching the project from.

      1. FWIW, I don’t have a problem with the data you give ;) I was referring to the Shipping section on the project pages. Lately I have noticed a trend of including “UK” and “EU” in the Shipping section separately – even if the shipping costs are the same! (eg. Alien Uprising). I wonder why this is!

  16. I too am able to do approximate currency conversions in my head. My problem is that so many UK game projects seem to have the same numbers as similar US game projects, but different currencies. For example, I would have been happy to back Burning Suns for $55, or at least interested, but 55 pounds was quite a lot of money for one game.

    1. Kenny–I think it depends on the type of game. Burning Suns has a ton of custom plastic pieces and components. It’s the type of game that will have an MSRP of $100, so $84 is a discount on that.

  17. As someone in the UK it’s shipping, 100% shipping.

    First thing I look at, and the main reason I took the leap and backed Euphoria. If it had been $30 or $40 shipping I wouldn’t have done so.

    Currency I don’t have a problem with, when it says $50 I know that it’s well under £50 and make my decision based on that. I can see the US view though, they see £50 and know it’s more than $50 but not by how much.

    1. I agree, it’s 100% a shipping issue for me too, I find currency conversions trivial to perform.

      I’ve had a backer tell me that the UK method of payment verification includes more “are you sure?” steps than the US version and theorise that it costs some amount of impulse backers. I’m not sure that’s very likely, but I can’t think of any way to measure it.

      1. Same here. the ‘two thirds’ conversion from £ to $ is easy enough, and usually accurate enough, and the two currencies are pretty much stable (Now that the USD has restabalised after it’s weirdness during the mid point of the W administration, which caused a hell of a lot of problems for American citizens studying in the UK around 2005, anyway) so that the slight fluctuations aren’t sufficient to make it make much difference. Meanwhile, if I need more detailed information, or it’s a currency I can’t estimate in my head… I just pop onto, and boom. Easy to use interface, up to the minute information.

        The shipping issue is worse with addons, since most projects don’t seem to list weather shipping in the pledge level includes addons or not, so you need to check. And then there’s always a sense of trepidation on account of ‘have I made sure I did the maths right’ if shipping isn’t included in one of the pledge levels, in the same way that some people (including myself) have with addons anyway. And then there’s the occasional nasty customs surprise when the project doesn’t have a UK fulfilment company, etc.

        1. Gizensha: That’s an interesting point about how the more stuff you add to your pledge, the more difficult the currency calculation becomes. That’s another good reason to keep add-ons simple and streamlined. :)

  18. I’d suspected that those two points would be the big sticking points for US backers backing non-US projects, it’s nice to see I’m not alone in that. I also suspect that, to expand on the second point, that generally speaking US backers may not be as used to dealing with foreign currencies, which could make them even more averse.

    As an Australian, and with Kickstarter kicking off here next month, I’ve been wondering whether it would be better to run any (hypothetical future) campaigns as AU or US ones. Despite the extra hassle involved in a US one, it seems more practical, as any money received from KS is then going to be in US dollars, which would seem more practical for the actual production of a game. I’d be curious to know how other non-US projects have fared in this regard.

    1. Zaid–That’s a good query about whether a non-US creator should run a US currency project if they have that option. Honestly, I would say that they should run a US project if possible, at least at this point in the evolution of Kickstarter.

  19. As a EU backer, every time I see a project I like I have to first look at the shipping price. It’s so awful when you would like to participate but the shipping is almost the same as the base pledge.

    It’s encouraging when the creator takes his time and resources to “warm” the project to non-us backers, be it shipping, conversion rates, languages… it all helps but when I try to “recruit” amongst my friends, in the end it’s all about the shipping. So thank you for creating the Stonemaier method ;)

    Another thing that could help would be if Kickstarter allowed the use of Paypal, but that’s something that is not in the creator’s hands.

    1. Carol–I think what you said about Paypal may be a big reason why more and more projects are adding a link to Paypal to the project page during the project. I’m on the fence about that method. It seems good for some international backers, but not as good for the community built around the project since those funds aren’t visibly added to the project total on Kickstarter.

          1. There is a way around the Paypal issue. That is if you have a Paypal debit card, you can use it to pay, however it does still have to go through Amazon Payments.

            Paizo brought up in their Kickstarters a reason they weren’t accepting Paypal for their pledge manager for add-ons after the Kickstarter. That is that part of the Paypal TOS requires that when money is spent to purchase a product, you as a seller are required to ship the product within a certain number of days (forgive me but I don’t remember the number). You can have your account closed if you don’t do this. This could be a reason that Kickstarter isn’t allowing them as a funding option.

    2. As a former eBay seller who has gone through living hell because of Paypal’s random account policies, I am so thrilled that Kickstarter uses Amazon Payments. I don’t care if they ADD Paypal, but if they make it the sole payment vehicle, that will be the end of both my Kickstarter accounts.

  20. So, those of us in Europe can do an approximate calculation in our heads (£1 is about 1.1 Euro is about US$1.50), but we have to explain this to Americans. How disappointing.
    On the other hand, Amazon in the US has never had any trouble processing my UK credit card payments.

    1. Ed – Yeah, I’m sorry that us Americans aren’t great with those conversions. I’m sure some are, but I think it’s a minority.

      As for Amazon, buyer accounts are different than Amazon seller and payments accounts.

    2. Ed, I don’t want to be rude, but you’re used to doing the conversion in your everyday life, for the most part. If Washington State, Texas, and Missouri each had their own currencies, while the rest of the US used another, US citizens would be WAY more used to converting in our heads or on our computers. But the entire US uses a single currency, and when we travel, we find many places directly accept our money — many bordering-US Canadian cities, much of the Caribbean, a lot of places in Mexico, heck, even in Taipei, some places wanted my green dollars. Only when I’ve traveled to the UK and France have I been forced to convert to get along. So it’s not something I’m used to, and I’m way more well-traveled than many Americans who have never left the country.

      As a backer of over 350 projects, mostly games, I have to admit that I have serious hesitation about backing UK-based projects in particular (even though I dearly love my former in-laws!!):
      – I can do the conversion to Pounds Sterling in my head but hate the inaccuracy and worry about it. The exchange rate fluctuates too often for me to be sure that my “guesstimate” is actually correct, so I have to look it up.
      – The exchange rate fluctuates — my pledge at about $100 on the first day of a project — the day I am most likely to notice it — could be $120 when the project closes — that’s too much ambiguity for me, and I’m usually not interested enough to track a project to the bitter end.
      – Shipping costs are often really high from the UK and rewards take a long time to get here.
      – I really hate to see a heavy product shipped from China to the UK and then shipped BACK across the ocean and then the land to get to me in Washington State. I know all Americans are hypocrites on this point from the moment they are born, but every little bit DOES matter and it’s a special project — Cornish Smuggler — that gets me over this particular hump, and then I feel very guilty about it. ESPECIALLY because these games are usually sent from China directly to the western US to go into normal distribution channels without the lengthy trip to the UK. If UK project creators would do shipping to North American backers in North America, they will get a lot more of my attention.
      – And another note about shipping… one game that I backed at a high level involving custom art was shipped to me from Greece at great expense… it was sent just about the slowest possible way and took SIX MONTHS to arrive (!!!)… and then because it was poorly packed, the contents were damaged. Both the creator and I were intensely frustrated by the whole thing and I was left really angry about it because I didn’t know that the creator was based in Greece until AFTER the campaign was over… their Kickstarter account was based in a US city about an hour away from me! That single experience two years ago deeply damaged my trust in Kickstarter and I’ve asked many more questions of ALL project creators who do not provide clear and convincing evidence of their location. It definitely soured me — maybe unfairly, maybe not — on European projects in general. Spell out shipping plans in great detail and convince me I’m not going to end up with a bunch of postal-service mauled crap three or more months after the game shows up in my FLGS…

      I’d love to back more European projects but feel cautious about doing so.

      1. I guess the Greek experience I’ve had is completely different, since I’ve dealt with Shieldwolf Miniatures (which resides near Athens) and they are always quicker to ship in my UK address than companies that actually ARE in the UK.
        As for the rest you’ve noted down, I’ll agree with you.

  21. I, a US backer, recently tried to pledge for a Canadian project , Citizens of Earth, that didn’t use Amazon payments. Because it was routed through the UK, my card was declined. I’m glad that my bank was watching for fraud, but I was hesitant to try again with a different card. The project is 33% funded with less than a week left, so I doubt it will make it. I wonder if other US backers had similar problems that caused them not to pledge…

  22. I’ve been using google $ to £ converter since I started on Kickstarter and find it very convenient & current. I don’t like the alt price in the pledge description (an area already busy with info) but can see why it may be useful, if only as a loose guide.

    I think low shipping is very important, perhaps most important, and we were aiming to keep it the same for the three main zones, US, UK & EU – and list them in that order.

    I am contemplating the wisdom of including shipping in the pledge total, making it clear that the total includes this. Not convinced it’s a good idea unless actually ‘free’.

    I’ve been wondering about those figures for the very reason you highlight – thanks for sharing. The US is an important zone not to alienate the way some US based projects do outside US. We’re looking at using amazon too at the moment.

    1. Lloyd–I completely agree that you shouldn’t include shipping unless it actually is accounted for in the pledge level. Thanks for your thoughts!

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