Crowdfunding has come into its own in recent years, and right at the vanguard is Kickstarter. It's been around since 2009, and moving from strength to strength. It's now the most well-known and most successful crowdfunding platform in the world.
Part of that was thanks to its rules and approval process, which made it more difficult for scam projects or projects that are little more than begging letters to launch on the site. Now, Kickstarter has "simplified" its rules in a bid to open the platform to more creators -- and in the process done away with some of the safeguards that made Kickstarter feel more trustworthy than its competitors.
The biggest change is that Kickstarter is removing its approval process. Instead, creators can choose to launch their projects on the spot, without needing to be seen by Kickstarter staff -- although the option to get feedback from a Kickstarter community manager is still available if the creator wants it. This feature is available now to the majority of projects, and rollout will be finalised in the coming weeks.
The site has also simplified its rules, cutting more than two thirds of the original rules document. The remainder comes in at just 200 words. Many of the rules have been cut, and only three remain: firstly, the project must create something to be shared with others. Secondly, projects must be honest and clearly presented. Finally, projects are not allowed to raise funds for charity, or offer financial incentives or prohibited items -- the list of which seems to remain unchanged.
These updated rules -- which can be seen here -- remove the prohibition of product simulations or photorealistic renderings, a rule designed to prevent fraud or misleading campaigns; the prohibition on funding social networks, the purchase of property, or gambling ventures; and offering rewards in bulk. In fact, this last rule has been reversed, and creators can now offer bulk hardware to backers as rewards. A cached version of the previous guidelines can be found here.
In a post to the Kickstarter blog, co-founder and CEO Yancey Strickler said, "The health and integrity of the system are our biggest priorities. Our Moderation and Trust & Safety teams are working every day to make sure everyone on Kickstarter is following the rules... We're always looking for ways we can better serve creators, backers and the public. That's why we're so happy to announce both of these changes -- and make it a little simpler for more people, and more diverse ideas, to thrive on Kickstarter."