Yesterday we wrote about “kicktrolling”, or Kickstarter backers bidding at high amounts only to then withdraw the bids as the campaign seemed near completion. It’s a practice that seems purely mischief driven, but it also seems it is becoming more widespread. Chris Stevens and Andrew Carl of Locust Moon Comics in Philadelphia posted on FB about a Kicktroller who hit their “Locust Man vs Monster” crowdfunder for a comics anthology. I’m piecing together the story from both their comments, but what happened is that someone pledged $2000 for their $600 campaign, which sent the campaign well over the goal—and set off warning bells. They reached out to the funder and Kickstarter to be certain but were told it was legit. However when it came time to collect, the funder disputed the amount. By then the money was already sitting in their Amazon account—where it remains, unable to be withdrawn.
There are a couple of real world consequences to this mischief or deliberate fraud or whatever it is. First off, Locust Moon still has to pay fees on the money since Amazon collected it “So as far as Kickstarter concerned, we received the money, and thus had to pay a percentage of it in fees. And for a small campaign like ours, that percentage of $2,000 wasn’t tiny,” Carl wrote.
In addition, because it looked like the campaign was well over goal, it was more difficult to get REAL backers.
Finally, because the campaign was funded at the stretch goals, they had to fulfill additional rewards—rewards which no one has paid for. “In our case, everyone whose money we actually received has or will have gotten what they were promised, stretch rewards included,” says Carl. “Even though the Kickstarter campaign itself didn’t actually raise the money we needed to pay for all of it. Our backers don’t need to suffer from this troll’s crap (that’s our job).”
According to Carl this same scammer has hit at least one other person’s campaign with a similar large amount and similar withdrawal. (We’ve reached out to hear that story as well.)
As we mentioned yesterday, with a lot of money changing hands via crowdfunding, it’s easy to see why people are messing with the structure for kicks or just to be total assholes. We’ve reached out to Kickstarter for comment as well.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.