35: Crowdfunding Suspensions & Re-Launches
In this episode, we’re going to revive the subject of what to do when your campaign goes wrong—in this case, so terribly wrong that you actually need to restart it. So, we’re going to talk all about the mechanics of re-launches, both voluntary and involuntary. So, if you ever receive one of those dreaded notices that your campaign has been suspended, then don’t panic—we’ve got your back! Let’s get started…
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1. Creators should remember that failure is normal, avoid any irrational expectations, stay humble enough to progress, work hard, and resist discouragement.
2. Creators should solicit feedback from backers (and perhaps others) anytime campaigns are not performing ideally, and use it to determine how to improve.
3. Creators shouldn’t fear to re-launch campaigns whenever they need serious revisions in their product, timing, goal, and/or presentation—and, in doing so, creators should keep their backers fully informed and treat them similarly to pre-launch leads.
4. It’s important for crowdfunding campaigners to both know and follow the rules for their respective platforms, and to render it sufficiently obvious to reviewers that they’re doing so.
5. A campaign’s relative popularity statistically increases the likelihood that people will notice any rules-violations that merit suspension.
6. Kickstarter is notorious for sometimes suspending suspicious campaigns without either warning or explanation, and it will never reinstate suspended ones for any reason whatsoever—but it does make mistakes, and creators can sometimes negotiate with it to re-launch.
7. When faced with suspension, determine the reason, appeal this decision, inform your backers, preempt the cancellation if possible, re-launch on Kickstarter if possible, remobilize your backers upon re-launch, and then proceed as before.
[00:51] Zach overviews Funded Today’s growing array of free resources for crowdfunding campaigners, including its page-design analyzer, its pre-launch checklist, and its success guide.
[01:58] Zach announces Funded Today’s coming book about crowdfunding.
[03:06] Zach previews this episode’s contents.
[03:54] Thomas talks about avoiding irrational expectations of success, accepting that failure is normal, and refusing to let failure yield discouragement.
[05:46] Zach reminds listeners that the market matters most, and urges entrepreneurs to seek feedback from their backers anytime their campaigns aren’t performing ideally, while Thomas notes that personal contacts and/or e-mailing lists can also help.
[08:33] Thomas and Zach assert that minor problems can be solved without re-launching, but that serious issues (with timing, goals, presentation, etc.) should lead entrepreneurs to cancel, resolve those issues, and then re-launch to enjoy a second launch-day spike in “organic” attention.
[13:08] Zach cites “Trust Me, I’m Lying” about the importance of hard work, and basing one’s success in reality rather than in fantasy.
[15:39] Thomas observes that the crowdfunding community is kind to re-launches, and that creators can treat their current backers similar to pre-launch leads for their re-launch.
[17:25] Thomas and Zach transition to address involuntary re-launches.
[17:56] Zach remarks that involuntary cancellations occur when Kickstarter or Indiegogo believes that a creator has violated its rules, whether rightly or wrongly.
[19:25] Thomas notes that only a small percentage of campaigns get suspended, and overviews Funded Today’s experience at saving suspended campaigns, and Zach notes that Funded Today was never once responsible for such suspensions.
[25:16] Zach and Thomas introduce Funded Today’s involuntary re-launch checklist, which Funded Today uses with its own clients.
[26:22] Zach overviews common reasons for suspension, urges creators whose projects were suspended to start by determining why, and also to be persistent in following-up because Kickstarter is often reticent to provide information.
[29:13] Thomas urges creators whose projects were wrongfully judged to appeal such decisions, either to avert a pending suspension or to resolve issues in order to re-launch.
[32:48] Zach urges creators who fail to avert suspension to communicate with their backers about what’s happening while they still can, and then pre-emptively cancel their own campaign.
[34:56] Thomas urges creators to negotiate a Kickstarter re-launch if possible, but otherwise transition to Indiegogo, which is more lenient.
[36:18] Zach urges suspended creators who re-launch to re-mobilize their previous backers, and then proceed as before.
[37:46] Zach reviews the seven-step suspension checklist, and Thomas endorses it.
[38:50] Zach and Thomas present this episode’s Projects of the Week.
Zach Smith: (00:00) Funded Today Nation, welcome back to the Funded Today podcast. Man sometimes I feel like it's been forever since we’ve last chatted. Today, we’re going to revive the subject of what to do when your campaign goes wrong? In this case, so terribly wrong we actually need to restart it, so we’re going to talk all about the mechanics of relaunches both voluntary and involuntary, so if you ever receive one of those dreaded notices that your campaign has been suspended don’t panic we got you back let’s get started.
Announcer: (00:25) The Funded Today podcast is brought to you by fundedtoday.com. Funded Today is a premier marketing and video agency. From startups to Crowdfunding to Amazon and beyond, Funded Today has helped their clients generate hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue. If you’d like help launching or growing your business visit www.fundedtoday.com to speak with one of their experts.
Zach Smith: (00:52) Welcome back to Get Funded Today, the Funded Today podcast, I am Zach Smith.
Thomas Alvord: (00:56) And, I’m Thomas Alvord.
Zach Smith: (00:57) And it feel like it's been forever since we’ve been back on, so we are excited to get back at it and I think you’re going to love the topic today, but just before we proceed, we just wanted to briefly remind you about our growing array of free resources we’ve been doing, to benefit our funded campaigners and inventors just like you. Are you sure if your campaign media is as effective as it could be? If so then our beautiful ultimate crowdfunding page design analyser overviews some basic principles of creating persuasive campaign media as it helps you evaluate your own video on page. Are you worried about missing anything important as you prepare for your launch day, if so then our thorough ultimate crowdfunding prelaunch checklist lists point by point what you can do to help minimize your regrets, or are you craving a crash course about running the successful campaign form conceptualization to fulfillment and beyond, if so then our powerful ultimate crowdfunding success guide synthesizes all of our collectivism about successful crowdfunding and do a single comprehensive reference handbook. You can download any or all of these completely for free right now our website we will link to them in the show notes as well, and I got one more for you. Funded Today “The Book” is very close to completion. We have spent years writing this book literally years, and I’d say we are within months from finally realizing this book to the public.
Thomas Alvord: (02:13) Zach it was actually four years ago I believe that we started discussing the book and even having people asking us about the Book it's incredible that finally after nearly four years of working on this it's about to come to the market, all of our wisdom that’s still in a book.
Zach Smith: (02:31) I’m excited yes it's crazy I can’t believe four years Thomas that’s crazy, for me I was thinking like two to three but yes now that I look back on it, my guess you’re going to love this book, and the reason is taking so long is like Thomas mentioned we wanted to make sure we got it right, we wanted to make sure we had learned all the ropes that we had tested every theory, this book is no fluff straight to the point make it happen and I think it's going to be the best book ever written of crowdfunding and I’m perfectly confident to say that in front of anybody so, you’re going to love it, we will give you some teasers in upcoming episodes so that you can get prepared for this and if you want the book email us, let us know we’ll make sure you get on that waitlist so you can get those early bird discount prices. Today, we’re actually going to draw from one of the chapters in the book to talk about the mechanics of successful relaunches. We touched upon this topic already in some of our previous podcast episodes especially number four about failure pivoting success so you’ll want tore view that one, but we felt that the details of relaunches were important enough to merit their own episode. Firstly, we’re going to review briefly how to analyze your campaign success factors. We’re going to discuss how to tell that your campaign would benefit from a relaunch, basically whether you should develop or not, and we are going to examine how to relaunch a struggling campaign as affectively as possible. Secondly, we’re also going to teach you how you can minimize the risk of your campaign from getting suspended, plus exactly what you can do if it does get wrongfully suspended in the form of a proven seven step checklist. So although we always hope for the best, we’re going to start getting you prepared for the worst just in case your campaign doesn’t go exactly as planned. So, Thomas to kick us off how do handle voluntary relaunches?
Thomas Alvord: (03:58) That is a great, great question. Most people don’t realize it and people who come into their campaign and it should be like this right, your campaign is going to succeed everyone is going to love it, they’re all going to bow down to your product and give you all their money because your product is absolutely amazing, right that is always the dream, otherwise we wouldn’t be putting in sleepless night and putting a capital or sacrifice this to bring it to fruition, but the reality is campaigns fell about twice as often as they succeed, and when I say fail and succeed I’m talking about just hitting their goal. Right some people might hit a goal at $50,000 but really in their mind they immediate or wanted to raise $200,000 and so in their mind they felt, so you got to realize coming into it failure is normal, so don’t set yourself up, no fund intended for failure right, you got to go into it realizing people might buy and people might not buy and you really don’t know and I think we shared before the great irony is the people who go on to raise a million dollars very often are the people who are like holy smokes I thought I was going to raise $75,000 may be a $100,000 this is blowing my mind, and then the people who are like “Ah! my campaign is the best I’m going to raise a million, I’m going to raise "five" million” and it's like “Oh! You raise $3,000” and after setting a lot of traffic people aren’t interested so again you got to realize “failure is normal” and don’t bring yourself up right that is just part of the process. Please go see episode 4 about “Failure, Pivoting and Success” it's important to understand those principles.
Zach Smith: (05:45) And Thomas I think you made a really good point, when you face failure I think it's important to remember that the market is what matters most, we got a whole episode on that one as well Number 11, you need to strive to obtain as much feedback as possible from your backers about why the market isn’t responding well enough to what you’re offering. Crowdfunding backers as we’ve said before are generally very willing to provide you with feedback about your product, the problem maybe your product, your price, your platform, your funding goals, your reward structure, your timing, your media, your marketing something else or perhaps some combination of such factors remember that’s our “7-Ps” episode number six all about helping you figure out how to analyze what maybe going wrong, and then you have to learn from that feedback to pivot into doing something even better.
Thomas Alvord: (06:27) And this feedback can be your “Triple F” and there is a whole episode on Triple F, your friends, family and fools who commit to support you and maybe they do support you but they’re saying I’m just doing it, but you’re getting their honest feedback “hey, I think the price is really high, or I don’t care about this, I’m not into this type of thing” whatever it might be and that’s also we’re having an email list is valuable, and again if you launch your campaign on Kickstarter on Indiegogo you can message the backers, and grant it it's not the best pool but because they’ve actually backed your product and really you want to get the feedback for the people who have that supports your project, but you can get that feedback and that’s super valuable, and again you got to realize, you just got to take the punch list, right and bad feedback is good feedback because it's helping you see where to improve, right, it's kind of like they say if you go to the doctor and you have some chronic sickness and you can’t figure out what it is, your hoping that you can go to the doctor and the doctor can tell you this is the disease you have, this is the problem you have right, because once you know what the disease is, once you know what the problem is then you know how to troubleshoot it what to address, but then tell you even know what that is you got to get that feedback right.
Zach Smith: (07:44) I love that doctors analogy Thomas because for literally years of my life I had something going on in my upper shoulder quadrum area of my back and I never know what was going on and I would try to rub it, I try to massage it, I tried all the other things, and eventually I got an MRI just like you describing and the MRI revealed the partially torn left labrum, and from that point forward as crazy as it sounds the pain basically stopped because I knew what I could do to work around it, I knew there was an option for surgery, I knew what I could do to strength the surrounding muscles and literally ever since I haven’t had any trouble with this partially torn left labrum for exactly the reason that you’ve described.
Thomas Alvord: (08:22) Yes, and so you have to do the diagnostic if you can and maybe you don’t have a good product market and again that episode 11 I think is one of my favorite so go watch that. Now in some cases you can easily solve these problems without ever needing to relaunch, sometimes it's a confusion about what people are getting, or sometimes it's a price point and you can lower the price point while your campaign is still alive. However in other cases your problems maybe serious enough that is actually best to just completely start over, and believe it or not this can be a very effective strategy, when you launch a new campaign must often you’re going to see a spike in organic attention during the first few days of your campaign, and it's nice to get a second chance at this if you didn’t have everything right enough the first time, and this is especially true when your products, your prices, your goals, your timing and or your presentation needs serious revision. For example, Coolest Cooler one of the most well-known campaigns because they raised over $10 million but also because they failed to deliver and the result is PR about that, but in any case we may initially launched they didn’t even hit their goal, or maybe they did but they were hardly raising anything, I believe they didn’t hit their goal.
Zach Smith: (09:51) I’ll give you a little back spur in that one Thomas, they even had some of the best Internet marketers because I'm kind of from that space. They had guys like Brendon Burchard guys with I think a million person email list or something right, sending out an email to his list, and even that couldn't get them above a couple $100,000 race.
Thomas Alvord: (10:04) Yes. And so with Coolest Cooler when they had initially launched it was around wintertime, people aren't thinking about buying a cooler in the wintertime right? And so they relaunched in a better season they launched during the summertime with a finished design and a lower funding goal, and the rest is history, they absolutely crushed it, okay.
Zach Smith: (10:28) How about this example Thomas? Satoshi One, they're faring horribly on Indiegogo, they don't get any pledges at all, but then relaunch on Kickstarter, they did hire Funded Today and then they have great success, literally. It was just a platform choice.
Thomas Alvord: (10:41) Yeah, and then the third example I feel proud because I feel like I was the one who found this issue.
Zach Smith: (10:47) You were.
Thomas Alvord: (10:47) But with SHOTBOX right, SHOTBOX is this product that allows you to basically put whatever product in this little box and then you can put your phone on the top and then take a picture, and their product they had actually launched another Kickstarter and have done well, and so they had another Kickstarter with the complementary product, and they launched at it completely failed. They weren’t going to hit that well they have hired us right, they weren’t going to hit their goal they hired us saying, “hey let's try to get a tour was only $20,000 or so, and it wasn't even going to hit it”. But I looked at it I analyze it and I realized “Oh, their video in their page needs to be tweaked, they're not describing the product sufficiently well, that people know what it is”. And in this case, we didn't even get feedback. I was able to just look at it as an outside paradise because I hadn't been working on that campaigns right, so I didn't know what I didn't know.
Zach Smith: (11:45) I think you make a good observation there too Thomas, sometimes we are so entrenched with our own product even as marketers of the product like we are, sometimes at Funded Today in this case since you weren't even involved in the marketing on this, so that point in time you were able to look at this from a fresh perspective. Sometimes, when nothing's going right, go ask somebody who has no clue about anything about your product, “hey, why is nobody backing this” or what do you see as any problems here, or what do you like about that”.
Thomas Alvord: (12:12) Right? And I just misspoke I said “I didn't know what, I didn't know” that's not what I meant to say. What I meant to say is when you're working on a project for example you forget or you don't know what you know, and so when you work with somebody else they know what they don't know, and what I mean by that is you might look at the product, and you know exactly how it works, exactly what it means maybe there is acronyms, maybe there's other industry terminology you're using, that other people aren't familiar with, just basic stuff like that, so somebody else who doesn't know anything comes and looks at it, they can be like this doesn't make sense. In any case, we relaunch SHOTBOX, and it raised 10 times as much, it raised over a $100,000. So again, sometimes there might be issues you can tweak mid-campaign and keep on selling with your current campaign, but other times a complete relaunch will be necessary. And it's not a bad thing it can be very effective.
Zach Smith: (13:08) I want to kind of step outside the box here for a second I read an article recently I love Ryan Holiday if you've read some of his books Thomas and I actually got started on it on one of his books called “Trust Me, I'm Lying” it's all about manipulation of the media and different things like that fascinating study but he got to.
Thomas Alvord: (13:24) That sounds kind of bad, and I hate I mean you love it book is about manipulating, but you love it.
Zach Smith: (13:27) I mean he’s got a catchy title, “Trust Me, I’m Lying” so it's not necessarily negative, it's about use the media to get attention for your big idea, and he has all kinds of crazy, crazy good ideas that are both fascinated and sometimes, you know a little bit like interesting, but he also writes a lot about business and I read this last night, and it stuck out as we're talking about relaunches, and different things, and maybe this is the right time, maybe it's not but I’ll share it anyway. It goes like this, this is from his article entitled “I Don't Have Faith in Myself, I have Evidence”. He said A few years ago, an interviewer asked Jay-Z about his incredible self-assuredness it's a good question. He does seem like a person with unending faith in himself. How else could he rap the thing that he raps? How else could he have gone from the Marcy Projects to Madison Square. The truth is it wasn't self-belief that got him there, and then he does this quote “people don't realize, I put a lot of my life into what I'm doing right now. I didn't just have a hit record and get lucky, I put a lot of my life into it, so the things that come out of it is not due to bravado and arrogance, I have confidence because of the work that I put in and I put in so much work”. And then he contrasted the following way, that’s the hard way. People prefer Rick Ross’s line in that way, people prefer his way, and then Rick Ross goes “our faucets used to drip, I used to ride the bench, but it was written in cursive for this ting to exist”. Man what are you talking about, to me these two approaches are a perfect illustration of difference between ego and confidence, belief and evidence, delusion and ambition, both men are successful, but one lives in reality, the other in fantasy, and Jay-Z far more success than the other two. And now here is the line that stood out to me the most “on a regular basis”, because this is Thomas and me too, this happens to us probably every single week, on a regular basis, I get emails from people who are trying to do big things, they are convinced they have the some multibillion dollar idea, a genius pitch, some brilliant artist concept, they also have complete certainty that it will be a success. I just need you for the marketing, how many times do we hear that Thomas?
Thomas Alvord: (15:16) All the time.
Zach Smith: (15:18) It's always fascinating to see where this certainty is based on, because it almost always turns out to be, well, nothing, just illusion “faith without evidence” wishful thinking. They think their success is written in cursive, when really success and confidence are carved from the work produced. Anyway, I just loved that, and I think as we're talking about relaunches and what relaunch, it's kind of important to consider what Ryan writes here.
Thomas Alvord: (15:41) Like we're saying, you need to get that feedback. What does the community, what does other people think about your product? Do they want it? And luckily, the crowdfunding community is actually relatively pretty nice to those who solicit feedback, and also to those who relaunch. If you restart, it's not going to count as a strike against you. You can treat your current backers much like pre-launch leads, but you can mobilize to basically maximize your relaunched a success. So, just make sure you communicate regularly, openly with your current backers, with the crowdfunding community as you prepare to do a relaunch. So, your backers and the community constantly understand what's happening, and that they're not surprised. You don't want to launch a new campaign, cancel your other one and then everyone is surprised, right? You want to have this dialogue going on, and so when you re launch, they know what's happening.
Zach Smith: (16:39) Most importantly, kind of from a technical perspective on Kickstarter when you cancel your project, you don't get their information. So, you want to get their names, their phone numbers, whatever you can, even if you only have 50 to 100 backers because those 50 or 100 backers when you relaunch are going to be your first earliest supporters for a successful relaunch. So, it's important to gather that info as best you can say, “hey, if didn't work out this time, try and relaunch a month from now on I'm cleaning up the following things based upon the feedback that all 50 of you guys gave me, and I want to be my early supporters, and I'm going give you the early bird discount when we relaunch. Can you please give me your name, email, phone number, whatever you have so that I can let you know the moment we launch?
Thomas Alvord: (17:15) Yes, otherwise, you cancel your campaign, and you can still do updates through the platform, but you're limited to that. These are voluntary relaunches, you're voluntarily canceling your current campaign and then relaunching. But sometimes you don't have that luxury too voluntarily cancel your campaign. Sometimes out of the middle of nowhere you get that email Zach.
Zach Smith: (17:43) And that leads us perfectly to topic to “how do you handle involuntary relaunches? So in some rare cases, you may need to relaunch your campaign, even though it is faring really well due to what's known as an involuntary cancellation, or a suspension essentially. “Involuntary Cancellations” arise because platform staff on Kickstarter or Indiegogo or wherever else you want I guess believe that you violated their rules, whether they're right or wrong, so it's important to keep their rules we’ll link to those in the comments or – in our show notes so you can have those and to render it sufficiently obvious that you did so. Here is an example “one client did a follow-up campaign after Indiegogo on Kickstarter with a larger battery and just a few other changes. But they didn't make those changes very obvious, so Kickstarter canceled it. Fortunately, they did get some emails and some warnings, and this client was able to explicitly point out all the changes to Kickstarter staff in order to avoid being cancelled. Lots of other examples, little heroes kind of comes to mind, They had copyright issues with Marvel and Disney they had a pretty cool product we even mentioned it as a problem of the week here on this podcast but it was suspended by Kickstarter because they were taking IP that wasn't their own and they had said that they had licensing agreements when in fact they likely did not and Marvel got mad. So that was a pretty big example, and then sometimes when you try to do a bunch of campaigns on the platform all at once, Kickstarter doesn't like that, they want you to fulfill one product and then another, and another, and trust me it's smart that Kickstarter does, this is a really good thing they do. They don't want you launching 10 different projects at once because it's hard enough to get one off the ground, and if you're trying to spin three or four different places the same time you're going have even more difficulty and more difficulty is bad for the platform, because then people think you scammed them when in reality you probably just had a difficult time bringing new business to life because bring in new business of life is in and of itself very hard.
Thomas Alvord: (19:26) Now and Kickstarter understands that's some campaigns will fail and they want to mitigate that right. I know some creators in some certain categories that they will generate or create a new campaign say every six months, but they deliver like on 20 campaigns, and so even though the prior one is still in production, Kickstarter is fine with them lunching again. So, you are a serial well, knowing notorious in a good way Kickstarter creator then yes you don't go to worry about how many campaigns you launch. But I'm pretty sure we have seen pretty much everything, and we have given the number of campaigns we work with we have actually worked with more suspended campaigns, and I've actually helped save more suspended campaigns than anybody else in the entire crowdfunding space worldwide. I bet my money on it. And I remember talking with somebody always probably two or three years back and he said, “hey, why does Funded Today get so many campaigns suspended?” And I said what are you talking about? We don't and they're like yeah, look at these campaigns that you guys have worked on that got suspended, you guys get so many campaigns suspended. I went and I looked at it, and we get all the information of every campaign that's on Kickstarter and on Indiegogo and we can see how much every campaign raises? What the eventual end state is that it hit the goal, did not hit their goal, was it suspended and so we can run analytics, and it's been a couple of years since I ran I guess I probably should ran for this episode, and I forget if it's like one in 500, or it's like one in 1000, maybe it was one in 10,000, but I'm pretty sure like one a 1,000 campaigns get suspended. I wish I had the number, but basically I ran the numbers, and then I looked at the number of campaigns we worked on, and I said, it's actually isn't that different. It's actually about the same. We just worked with so many campaigns that by virtue of statistics, we are going to work with more suspended campaigns. We're going to deal with more suspensions just because we work with more campaigns than anybody else in the world. And also, you know we talked about this a while back with the Kuroi Hana knives right they were on track to only raise maybe $50,000, or $100,000 I can't remember the number and we worked and ended up raising was it a million or two million? Yes, we were running marketing in every country in the entire world virtually. And we get this letter well Kickstarter freezes the campaign, they're about to suspend it, they give you it. Basically, Kickstarter gives you a 48-hour notice saying we're going to suspend your campaign here is what you need to do. You can message your backers let them know it's going to be suspended, and Kickstarter this is one of my again we love Kickstarter, but we have some pet peeves I guess that's any relationship, right? But they send the letter out like Friday afternoon it could be fluke, but it seems like it happens so often, does it Not Zach? It's like why are you spending it Friday afternoon, doesn't make it so there's like hardly anyone to talk with, so again we've dealt with all of this, but basically they suspended it and they said, “hey you're violating German Law because you're saying that the knives are made with Japanese steel or its Japanese manufacturer” I can't remember. And it was like this little nuance that had to change to be compliant with German Law. And, so Funded Today is a marketing agency in the United States, our client is in the UK they're manufacturing this using Japanese steel or Japanese manufacturing and we're having to deal with the German Law in terms of what is allowed for advertising, and literally because of the German Law Kickstarter was going to suspend the campaign. And I remember talking to Zach it's an irony that if people work with us, we potentially could get your product suspended because we're going to make the whole world see our product, if it's a good product. So, if there's a little nuance with some random law like in Germany then we might run into that, but again we were able to resolve it because we dealt with this so much, but it does have.
Zach Smith: (23:58) And by the way Thomas great honor $2,459,335 bucks between Kickstarter and Indiegogo, so your point is Spot-On this product that was going to raise hardly any money $2.5 million, and that creates a lot of exposure across the world, and if you in some ways that's really good, you're going to figure out really quickly what IP you might be violating. What copyrights, what patents, what kind of issues, so there's a chance we might make your product so successful that it's going to get seen by the whole world. But to your point we have never had a campaign suspended in our entire lives for something that Funded Today has done directly, and I think that's something we could be really proud of. We always market honestly and ethically, and we've never had any issues with the nearly 3,000 projects that we've run. So, we’d still recommend Kickstarter over Indiegogo even though Indiegogo seems to be a lot more lenient when it comes to suspensions, because I think Kickstarter Suspension Policy as much as we wish there was a little more transparency does create a lot more trust, and trust leads to long term retention of backers. And long-term retention of backers means that you're going to have more people who back more projects just like yours.
Thomas Alvord: (25:05) One example that comes to mind Zach is Lobster Bag.
Zach Smith: (25:09) Definitely review Lobster Bag, if you want to kind of see how that ended out. It actually ended in a pretty good way, because of our petition of Kickstarter we were able to get a relaunch we were able to make it successful. We hope involuntary cancellation or suspension doesn't happen to you but it does, we have you covered and this is our third and final topic “Involuntary Relaunch Checklist” we put this together to kind of go over what you should do should the worst happen to you, and sometimes this could be the best thing to happen so.
Thomas Alvord: (25:35) And we should probably be calling this involuntary relaunched checklist for $10,000. The reality is most people will never need it, but the people who are going to need it this could be the difference between losing $100,000 or being able to still collect $100,000 from your backers. So this is super valuable for anyone whoever has this situation come.
Zach Smith: (25:59) And if you do work with us we've internalized this checklist, and we basically have the systems and processes in place so that if the worst were to happen with your campaign, or even if you were to get some sort of a warning from Kickstarter Indiegogo we immediately go through this checklist and essentially guide you through this crazy situation, and sometimes I think that's what's nice about working with somebody like Funded Today versus going it alone as well. So, without further ado, let's go through these points. Number one, you got to determine the reason, how do you do that email Kickstarter Indiegogo immediately because usually they send you template email that doesn't make any sense, and you don't know what you’ve violated. Generally, if you follow-up aggressively they will give you a little bit more details. Here is a couple things it could be though, and you want to ask yourself these as you go about it because sometimes you can apologize, so let's go through them. Number one, running multiple campaigns simultaneously “Hey, sorry Kickstarter I didn't know this, I had a campaign on Kickstarter Indiegogo I have just cancelled the one on X platform, are we good now?” Inadequate prototype section “Hey, I'm sorry about that. I just updated my prototype section here is a thirty second unedited, untouched, unfiltered video that shows exactly how my product works, are we good now?” Renderings, rather than actual photographs, “Hey, sorry, and again don't do these things in the first place, by the way” take our advice, listen to our page design in our video episodes and just do it right to start. But if you do mess it up here's how you fix it, renderings rather than actual photographs, don't put renderings on your page, if you do change them out and take actual pictures of your product. Copyright infringement allegations, why are you trying to copy Disney or Marvel? Don't do that, don't lie to us, if you are doing that, it's not a good idea, it's going to get your project suspended because we're going to raise you so much money, we're going to be so successful that the whole world is going to hear about your project and anything you did, shady or dishonest is going to be exposed, claims that your product has already been offered for sale on a different platforms. Please don't go buy a product and tell us it's new from Alibaba, that's stupid, that's not going to work long-term, and somebody else is going to do the same thing, and kill your margins, you're not going to make any money long term anyway, don’t do that. Also, don't sell your product on your website or anywhere else before you go to Kickstarter or Indiegogo, they don't allow that, and they're going to catch on. They have entire teams of trust in safety that look into things if your project becomes successful. Now, if you want to launch your project, you don't raise any money, nobody is going to know anything because it doesn't matter, because nobody backing your project. All these things really only come to light when you become successful. These are among the most common reasons we observed, and again they're not the only possible ones. Kickstarter is not always very forthcoming about the reasons, like we said, you got to email them a bunch, and usually they want you to figure it out. They don't want to tell you why you did it because they think you should know, and I understand their point there. So, you may need to follow-up persistently like Lobster Bag, Lobster Bag did nothing wrong, remember that one they did nothing wrong, they got suspended fortunately, Kickstarter realized their mistake they admitted their mistake, and let them relaunch. But most of time it's because you did something wrong and you weren't honest with Kickstarter, you weren't honest with Funded Today, or you weren't honest with yourself, again, if you don't think you violated any the reasons you can't think of anything, the best way is to email Kickstarter, you can get them at firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com and start asking them, “hey, I need to know what happened here” and usually been nice and they don't suspend immediately, they will send an email and say “hey we're going to suspend your campaign, you have five days to correct XYZ. Sometimes they'll do that for you, if it's not egregious the thing that you violated.
Thomas Alvord: (29:16) Well, I was just going to say that leads to the next point which is to “appeal the decision” if you believe or you know that they've made a wrong determination, then you need to present Kickstarter with the evidence, including you messages from their own team showing that your project complies with its policies. We've even had campaign where somebody had a product on Indiegogo didn't work, and then they relaunched on Kickstarter and they said, “Hey, is it okay if I relaunch on Kickstarter, here's why I'm doing it”, and literally somebody from Kickstarter said yes you could do that, and then a week or so or two into the campaign Kickstarter said “hey we’re going to suspend your campaign”. So you have to show Kickstarter what you're doing your evidence so they can look at it objectively and say okay they are in compliance, it was a mistake on our end. Look the reality is we're all human. Businesses are human in the sense that they make mistakes right, because it's people who are running them or if it's algorithms it's people who wrote the algorithms, and they make mistakes. And so if theirs is mistakes made you need to present evidence to help them see, here is why that was a mistake. Now, if Kickstarter has already suspended your campaign, you got to understand they will not reinstate your campaign under any circumstances, they never have we hope and wish they would have the future because sometimes they literally have made mistakes, and they're like, “oh, oops sorry, that was bad”, and it's
Zach Smith: (30:49) Lobster Bag. Lobster Bag literally email oops, sorry,
Thomas Alvord: (30:54) It's crazy, but if it has not suspended it, then you might be able to avert that action. So, please note that although Kickstarter may be callous, it is honest. So, if it says that it'll cancel in 48 hours, then you'll enjoy this 48-hours to figure out how pursuit.
Zach Smith: (31:15) And just A side point on what Thomas is talking about here and kind of maybe hitting on point number one and two as well determining, the reasoning and then appealing the decision with Kuroi Hana that we mentioned earlier the one that raised nearly $2.5 million and became really successful. When you work with Funded Today, Thomas is an Attorney and he doesn't represents you by any means, he doesn't even wear a legal hat, but he understands law really well. He was able to effectively communicate with these with the company from Germany and petition on behalf of Kuroi Hana in front of a team of that of that campaign Kuroi Hana, and ultimately wasn't an injunction I can't remember how far it went, it went pretty far and get the campaign reinstated essentially and able to be live on Kickstarter again, and this was crazy, there was no way I was going to happen. So, I think sometimes working with a company like Funded Today if you’re wanting to raise a lot of money, and you don't even know if potentially here going to be running into any IP issues or anything like that. Sometimes working with an agency like us who has been there can be very effective, and I look to the Kuroi Hana and I still I guess I count my lucky stars and think of how lucky we were, but in reality it wasn't luck, it was Thomas's expertise with the law, it was his ability to communicate on behalf of Kuroi Hana essentially to save that project, it was a pretty remarkable change of events considering that it probably should have been suspended, but because we were able to work out all the logistics so quickly, Yes, I mean it was a $1,000,000 loss of that point, and in the end, $2.5 million yes, – no they did at $1.7 Million Euros just on Kickstarter alone, and then another, you know, $600,000 - $700,000 in Indiegogo. So anyway, that's – it's an engine but I think I lookback and I think no one could have handled that except Thomas. So pretty cool story there. “Contact your Backers” that's the third thing, this is very important we talked about this earlier as well, if suspension certain, you need to inform your backers, because usually when you're suspended Kickstarter doesn't let you talk to them anymore and not the same way that you can win your projects in life, and that trust is going to be broken, too. If you could be the first ones explaining, what happens, it's going to come across a lot better because Kickstarter sends everybody an automated email when your project is suspended or canceled, that basically says “this person has violated, and this is big long list of things we just went through” and point number one and they immediately think you've done something terrible. And if you haven't something terrible, it's good to let him know you haven't, it's good to get their emails their phone number, whatever you can so that you can contact them and figure out how you're going to relaunch successfully after you get past all the red tape
Thomas Alvord: (33:32) And to really highlight what Zach said you need to do this beforehand, when your campaign is suspended, you as the creator are not able to message the backers anymore. The backers can still message on the on the board and have the discussion, but you can't participate in that, and you can't send any of them a message. So, you're left in the dark I think the practice should change because it just causes so much confusion. I understand the flipside, you don't want to have some creator marshaling all these backers to go and message Kickstarter and tell him how horrible they are and to reinstate it right? Like they don't want to do with that either right? So, it's two sides of a coin on both sides aren't ideal, but that's the approach Kickstarter has taken, maybe there's other reasons I not aware of, I imagine it probably is. So you have to do it beforehand, otherwise the backers were left in the dark and literally when you have a whole bunch of people on the Internet who have no information, you know how that goes right. It's going to turn out favorably for you.
Zach Smith: (34:37) Yes, love it, next point. “Preempt the Cancellation” if suspension is certain but hasn't already been implemented then preemptively cancel your own campaign after you collected your backers contact info before Kickstarter Indiegogo suspend you this looks better and it ensure you'll continue to update your backers, unlike if Kickstarter suspends your campaign. It's a painful thing to do but sometimes it's the right action to take.
Thomas Alvord: (34:59) And the last well I guess it's not quite the lasting, but number five would be to reconsider the platform you're launching on, right? If you could negotiate a way to satisfy Kickstarter’s requirements in order to relaunch on its platform, it's actually worth your effort to do so. So, maybe they're saying, we're going to suspend it like you can't get out of this, but they'll still let you relaunch on their platform, or maybe it happened and you didn’t have time to notify your backers, but you can still relaunch if you can talk with Kickstarter and relaunch on their home do that, otherwise you can usually transition to Indiegogo instead. Over the past few years, Indiegogo has become a little more strict but there are a lot more open and understanding, and their customer support is usually more willing to lend an open ear.
Zach Smith: (35:47) And one thing I do love about Indiegogo is their ability to distinguish what level your project is at, I think Kickstarter should probably integrate this into their platform and perhaps it's coming in 2020 I don't know but Indiegogo will let you say whether this is just a dream like this is just that idea in my head or whether you've got a prototype or they'll even they even have a new thing that guarantee shipping I think. So, Indiegogo will literally put their money where their mouth and say this product is so good we've reviewed everything, we've looked at their prototypes, we know they're going to ship and we're going to ensure that if you back this project, you will get your product. I think that's a pretty cool thing that they're doing to try to build more trust on their platform.
Thomas Alvord: (36:21) Yes.
Zach Smith: (36:23) Number six “Remobilize your Backers” this is the point of why you contact your backers in step three, after you relaunch your campaign contact your original backers persuade the bunch, give them the discounts let them know that because they stuck with you through thick and thin, you're going to hook them up on your next project, and by doing this remember that's the “Triple F” essentially, you got you've got your extra folks here. You've got your “Friends, Family and Fools” these are your family. This is your tribe of people who decided to stay with you even after a cancellation or suspension and they help you get that initial 8 to 10 hour upon launch momentum that propels you to Kickstarter trending magic all those good category you want to rank in newest, and by doing that you have a much better chance of ranking higher in the platform and getting organic and direct pledges from the platform Kickstarter Indiegogo themselves. And number seven's pretty straight for almost just “Resume your Marketing” proceed as before this is a SHOTBOX 2.0, cancellation, relaunch, and like we've said, we did nothing different on the marketing side of things. We just followed everything that Thomas thought needed to be changed for this product relaunched and the rest was history. By the way, if you if you need good product shots and this is what we're totally not getting paid for this but I want to say it, get yourself a SHOTBOX 2.0, I love Aaron Johnson, I'd love the company, they're really good. Product photography is so important when we do some of our Amazon marketing we told people so many times or pictures were probably the thing that we're killing them. Use the SHOTBOX 2.0 you'd be surprised what a world of difference it could make when you take higher quality product shots, so total aside one through seven just a recap for those of you who weren't paying attention is clearly you should “Determine the Reason” two “Appeal the Decision, three. “Contact your Backers” four “Preempt the Cancellation” five “Reconsider your Platform”, six. “Remobilize your Backers” seven “Proceed as Before” and there you have it. That is everything we think you need to know about “Crowdfunding Suspensions and Relaunches” Thomas anything else you want to add before we wrap this baby up?
Thomas Alvord: (38:14) If you're being suspended, there's a good chance you're being successful. Now hopefully, it's not because you ripped somebody off, or ripped some product off, but no you're always going to run into hiccups when you launch a business. This is something to have on your radar, and make sure you knew everything above board. But even if you're doing everything above board and you still run into these issues, follow these steps. If you're listening to this, you may be because you're dealing with this issue right now, and we can help you without potentially, and it's not if it happens in the future, you can come back and listen to this
Zach Smith: (38:53) Love it all right, it is now time for our favorite part of the episode. These are Funded Today's products of the week, and I've got a personal one with you today I'd like to share, and this one I think fits perfectly into the aspect of a re-launcher a cancellation or maybe a perform issue, and I want to talk about it. This is my good friend Tim. He's actually a personal friend, in addition to a person who's really spent a lot of time for probably the last year or so, he has invented a product called “Digi-Chill” currently live on Kickstarter right now not doing as well as everybody would help it's only raising a couple $100 bucks a day, but it is raising a couple $100 a day, which means that people like the product. What is the product? Digi-Chill is a product that prevents your phone from overheating. So, whenever your phone gets warm your batteries being damaged stop the harm with Digi-Chill that's the pitch. How does it work? It is very, very interesting essentially and not, and before we get into how it works this also does quite a few things. Wireless Qi-charging that's cute, but pronouncing it incorrectly, this will increase your phone's lifespan. It'll safeguard your phone, charge your phone faster. But the part that it does better than anything else in the market is it charges your phone faster. Some people will ask about fans. Well, you know, use a fan and that will that will cool it, really. And if you go to his product page, you will actually be able to see thermal technology showing a phone using Digi-Chill after 60 minutes and a phone without, and the one image is basically a dark purple, and the other one is like the sun bright yellow, works really, really well, it's the same technology that electric cars are using, if you're kind of following Elon Musk story electric batteries are cools for longevity, and if you want your phone to last longer and who doesn't it? I mean there are 1,000 bucks I just buy a new one. Samsung Galaxy Note 10 and got my wife, the iPhone 11 really a $1,000 bucks a piece right. If you want to you want your phone to last longer, use the Digi-Chill it will cool your phone, it is amazing how it works, again I can't get into all the technology, but a lot of it's on the page, have a look at it, and the last thing I want to say about this product was we've been asking the nearly 70 backers. Why'd you back this? How'd you hear about it? What's going on? What makes you like this product? And the responses have been really amazing. Basically Tim is – as steps that were teaching in this episode because he knows people are backing it, every day is getting a couple of people that back this product in there saying, I love this. I love the technology I can't leave somebody didn't think about this before. These are all things actual backers are saying. So he just got to figure out what's wrong here, is it a price issue? Is it a platform issue? What's the situation? Is it a presentation of the product issue, you know does the product not look as good as it could? It's hard to know, right and that is the idea behind a product like this, which I think a huge potential but just hasn't reached its full potential yet. Check it out its Digi-Chill D-I-G-I-C-H-I-L-L, Thomas what you got for us.
Thomas Alvord: (41:38) I wonder Zach is that and I had never thought about this. But there's another P issue at play here, and I never thought in terms of our piece but a Prevention in a way you're preventing your battery from being damaged and it's always harder to sell prevention than it is to sell a remedy. Right on your phone battery is it dead, does your phone battery die after have half a day? Yes, dollars are hitting it. Use this and now will you know, it'll have full charge, and it will last the whole day again, right? Like that was so really well. But as this is prevention so I don't know, and sometimes you might build a presentation to convey that but.
Zach Smith: (42:18) Prevention is really tough, isn't it? You will know you need it when you're buying the new iPhone. When you're spending the $1,000 bucks to get the new fun, you're like gosh dang it I swear I bought this lot. I bought a phone last year and spend a $1,000 bucks. So, yeah, you make a good point. It reminds me of another product that I worked with probably nearly a decade ago. These were a We call that “Stop the Pop” because they were called EKTIO. E-K-T-I-O John Starks one of the famous New York Knicks was behind the product. We got to work with him a little bit on selling this product, and the idea was the shoes would make you not sprain your ankles, and I love them, I still wear them today to this very day. I've never sprained my ankle wearing E-K-T-I-O shoes, and they have a couple different ways of doing it while still allowing you have some pretty good momentum. But they just never caught on because you only really wish you had the E-K-T-I-O shoe after you hurt your ankle. You wanted to wear the Jordan’s or the LeBron's or the Kobe's or whatever else it was at a time, instead, so make a good point Thomas. that's a good way to that's a good thing to consider.
Thomas Alvord: (43:12) My product of the week is I want everyone to go back in their mind that time when they were a kid, and I'm pretty sure everybody has all had a chance to own at one point or another in their life a rubber band gun. And, you know, the one that comes to mind – you know, sometimes you got, like some of the good ones that has kind of like the wood clip that you could just pull the rubber band back and then it just has the clothes pin. You know, what I'm talking about? You just put the rubber band in there and you and you push the rubber band or the clothes pin, you just push the end and it releases the rubber band, right? And so you got, like, a single rubber band shot, but then I remember having like a plastic rubber band gun back when I was younger and it had a wheel that would spin, and you could put like a rubber band on it, but then you could spend it back a little bit and then put another one, and on the wheel you could fit maybe five or six rubber bands. So, you could have like is continuous action, right? You could shoot six rubber bands at a time. Well, this – the product of the week I'm choosing is called the Rubber Band Mini Gun. It literally is a fully automatic rubber band gun. It's made from wood. It looks incredible. It's like Holy smokes, like if there was an analogy sometimes I kind of look at things I might manage crazy, right? You go to McDonald's to get like a drink, and there's a huge right or you go to the gas station and their cups are so massive, oh my holy smokes like in the United States everything is like super-sized, right? I mean, there's even a documentary about that, right? Well, this is the Super-Size Rubber Band Gun. It looks absolutely awesome, right? An adult would love this, and kids would drool over this right? You literally can put 144 rubber band guns into it, and have automatic shots like this gun is incredible. Even if you're not going to get it, you have to go check it out it’s called Rubber Band Mini Gun. It's on Indiegogo right now and again it is awesome.
Zach Smith: (45:20) Now, the dad in me says, make sure you wear some safety glasses if you're going to try this guy out. I did barely become a dad over this last span of time, so had a baby girl. Wear some safety glasses. you're going to use the Rubber Band Min Gun?
Thomas Alvord: (45:33) That’s right I'm glad you have that dad instinct you know
Zach Smith: (45:40) I was just thinking about it, they had 144 rubber bands coming at you. I had a lot of fun as a kid that sounds pretty amazing.
Thomas Alvord: (45:46) Yes, it sounds like for sure somebody's eyes going to get punctured.
Zach Smith: (45:50) By the way, we rise this product a ton of money, this has been one of our most successful projects this year. So from just a marketing perspective, it would be good to look at that one. It converted extremely well. We're on Indiegogo InDemand right now, Rubber Band Mini Gun. All right Funded Today Nation that wraps this one up, as always. Please let us know what you thought of today's episode on Crowdfunding Suspensions and Relaunches. And by the way, if this episode saved you, if you're listening this 10 years in the future, whatever I know in the next month or two let us know? I'd love to hear about how – what we taught you did something good for you. Those are the kind of stories that keep Thomas and I pumped and make us want to keep recording more and helping you. We love getting stories like that. So please let us know. “Hey, Zach Thomas that one really saved me, I loved point number three”. I did it not working. Thank you. Saved my product and now I've got a million dollar business something like that, right? Love to hear that. What's been your favorite episode so far and why? By the way, go check out that episode with Dale Backus and Ohsnap that was the one that we did last time. We're getting a lot of good feedback on that people loved it, and another one like that next week and you're going to love It, we're going to talk about prototyping and manufacturing. We're going to get the very best expert in the world on this. He's the guy that actually helped him develop his product, so you're going to want to jump into this one. I think you're going to love it “prototyping and manufacturing” and again, we love to hear from so email us firstname.lastname@example.org leave a comment on our website funded.today/podcast or review us review us on iTunes or your favorite podcast listening platform I love getting those reviews, I love learning what you like, I even love learning what you didn't like. So let us know we'll keep making these episodes better and better for you as we get better ourselves. And as always remember, don't wait until tomorrow get Funded Today.
Announcer: (47:25) Funded Today is the worldwide leader in Rewards Based Crowdfunding on Kickstarter and Indiegogo combined they have raised over $200 million and counting for thousands of new ideas and inventions worldwide. If you got an idea for a new product or invention visits fundedtoday.com to speak with one of their experts.
References and Resources
- Wikipedia: Trust Me, I’m Lying
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