Kickstarter Publishes New Policies to Hold Developers Accountable

Kickstarter, an increasingly popular crowd funding site that's helped developers and inventors raise millions of dollars for their projects, wants to clear the air. First and foremost, "Kickstarter is not a store," the site stated in a blog post.

"It's hard to know how many people feel like they're shopping at a store when they're backing projects on Kickstarter, but we want to make sure that it's no one," Kickstarter said. "Today we're introducing a number of changes to reinforce that Kickstarter isn’t a store — it’s a new way for creators and audiences to work together to make things."

One of the most popular Kickstater project has been Ouya, a $99 Android game console.

Chief among the changes is a new Risks and Challenges section. Starting today, the new section will appear below project descriptions and allow potential backers to see how well the developer has been able to complete past projects. In addition, all developers are required to answer a question: "What are the risks and challenges this project faces, and what qualifies you to overcome them?"

Kickstarter is also changing up its hardware and product design project guidelines, mainly to keep developers honest and temper the expectations of backers. Under the new guidelines, developers/inventors can no longer post product simulations. They can only show products performing actions they're already capable of performing in their current state. Furthermore, product renderings are now disallowed. Photos must show an actual prototype, not a 3D rendering.

There are some mixed reactions to the new guidelines.

"I think this new rule about renderings is a bad one. Force them to add a disclaimer if you feel you must, but renders should be allowed for ALL projects," a commenter posted. "We are visual creatures and renders assist greatly in imagining what the product/project could be."

Another of Kickstarter's readers said, "I welcome these changes. Explicitly knowing the risks involved will make me more interested in funding things. It will make the model 'funding' instead of advanced order."

What do you think about the new policies?