Kickstarter is a website that allows users to accept global public donations to fund a set project. Project creators choose a deadline and a minimum funding goal (Wikipedia). People who back Kickstarter projects are provided with rewards that increase in value and may include the product that the project will create based on the amount they donated. If the goal is not met by the deadline, no funds are collected. Given this there is still no guarantee that the project creator will be able to complete the project due to underestimating the project’s costs or unforeseen technical difficulties arise. Despite this risk, Kickstarter has received over $1.9 billion in donations since it began in 2009 from 9.4 million backers to fund over a quarter of a million various projects that include films, stage shows, literature, and technologies (Wikipedia). The most highly funded projects on Kickstarter include the Pebble Time smartwatch and the card game, Exploding Kittens, which collectively reached about $30 million in donations.
The type of crowdsourcing that Kickstarter utilizes is known as crowdfunding. Crowdfunding is the practice of funding a project by raising financial contributions from a large number of people. Kickstarter therefore is an excellent example of crowdsourcing because all funds for projects are collected from public contributions. Advantages of using crowdsourcing may include improved costs, speed, quality, flexibility, scalability, or diversity (Prpić). Kickstarter definitely benefits in these ways from utilizing crowdsourcing as alternative funding. Kickstarter can be used so project creators can “make a lasting impact on society, culture, and the economy” (Kickstarter.com). Kazoo Magazine, which was funded through Kickstarter, reaches a target audience of young girls that inspires them to be smart, strong, and fierce and features interviews with women astronauts and athletes. Ukiyo-e Heros is a Japanese wood printing business that employs 15 people who would otherwise have a difficult time in an established and impenetrable industry (Kickstarter.com). Despite this, the team has shipped their handcrafted woodblock prints to more than 60 countries around the world (Kickstarter.com). As shown from examples like these, projects are widely diverse and can have a profound impact on culture and society because projects can come from anywhere in the world. For this reason, I believe Kickstarter is one of the best examples of crowdsourcing.
Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. “Crowdsourcing – Wikipedia” n.d. Accessed February 13, 2017. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crowdsourcing