5 Ridiculous Crowdfunding Campaigns
Crowdfunding has revolutionized the way in which people obtain funding for business ventures. The top site (based on traffic) — GoFundMe — has raised over $620 million for various projects and campaigns. Other sites like Kickstarter, Indiegogo, Teespring, and Crowdrise, bring life to ideas that may have never come to fruition without the support of crowds who are behind some of the amazing ideas these sites feature.
Some projects, like Oculus Rift and Formlabs’ 3D printer involve potentially world-changing technologies that can end up being worth every penny of investors’ funds. Of course every project and campaign you see on these sites are not created equal, though, and some of these ideas are, well, completely ridiculous.
These more ridiculous campaigns are part of the reason some people criticize crowdfunding sites. In a discussion of the pros and cons of crowdfunding, Stanford University Graduate School of Business explains how crowdfunding allows entrepreneurs to obtain less funding from tradition sources, like family, friends, angel investors, and of course, their own wallets. This places less of their own “skin in the game” and they no longer have to “face” investors one-on-one.
Also, information about these projects and personal campaigns is often not nearly as complex and involved as what a traditional investor or donor would generally expect. Without performing the traditional due diligence, those who fund these campaigns are susceptible to incompetence or even fraud.
Finally, crazy ideas do receive funding and donations. “More ideas get funded today than can possibly return capital, but with crowdfunding the percentage of successes markedly decreases. A lion’s share of crowdfunded investments will never make money and investors will be out-of-luck. While small, fragmented investments limit the catastrophic risk to any single investor, too many failures will give crowdfunding a bad rap and prompt regulatory tightening,” the Stanford publication articulately explains.
Well, we’ve created a list of some of these ridiculous and crazy ideas and personal campaigns. These are campaigns that people are actually funding, but they’ll probably never earn any type of real financial return or reap any sort of benefit. Would you invest in these ideas or donate to these campaigns?
1. Midlife crisis squirrel tattoo
On GoFundMe, one member is currently asking for $2,000 to fund her “Midlife Crisis Squirrel Tattoo” (yes, you read that correctly). The campaign has earned $615 of $2,000 to date and the beginning of the description reads:
I have two Bucket List items I want to accomplish while I’m 40 — one is funding an online project, the other is getting a squirrel tattoo. I thought, why not try to do both at once? I’ve always been a multitasker.
If you fund the tattoo, you’ll receive a heartfelt virtual thanks and high five from the GoFundMe member if you donate $5. You can donate various amounts up to $2,000. And for the low low price of $2,000, you’ll receive a signed photograph of the tattoo, and the member will travel to you (anywhere in the U.S.). Would you fund this safe, and oh-so “logical” campaign for virtually no financial benefit?
2. Broken laptop with upcoming graduation
This GoFundMe member asked for $700 for a new laptop – – not $250 for a basic model Asus; not $90 for a used Dell; not even $5 for a bus ticket to the library, but $700. Perhaps this user thinks that beggars can be choosers. Her description begins with the following message to potential donors:
As much as I hate to do this, the fall semester is right around the corner and I’m out of options. As of this spring, my laptop has been on its last leg. I can no longer open Word or any other word processing programs, it constantly crashes to a blue screen, and many various programs refuse to load. As a creative writing major, it is near-impossibly [sic] for me to complete my classes without access to a computer, especially with my writing capstone coming up. In order to graduate at the end of the fall semester, I will need to write a completed novel, which I cannot do without a computer at my disposal.
The description goes on to reveal various health and financial problems the user faces, and that she intends to also use the computer for streaming games, which keep her “spirits lifted.”
As of today, this member has collected all $700. The money was raised by five people within five months. Knowing nothing about the validity of her claims, would you have given her the money?
3. The Drank Tank
Tired of waiting all of those minutes for your booze to kick in? Well, wait no more. The Drank Tank is an alcohol vaporizer, similar to the Vapshot (which Steven Colbert explains in the video above).
This Kickstarter campaign is asking for $25,650 and it has raised $2,100. One would think that a product that delivers alcohol into the body would require extensive safety testing. And this testing would come at a much higher cost than $25,650.
But, if you’re crazy enough to invest in this product, you’re money can get you up to five drank tanks, depending on the amount of your investment.
4. $1 million dollar boat
This Indiegogo user is a copycat of the million dollar homepage, where a website selling ad space for $1 per pixel made headlines a while back.
There are a few differences here that this user may not have considered, though. First, this was a unique idea the first time around but copycats usually don’t have that same charm. Second, this gentleman is trying to buy a $1 million boat with his website’s earnings, as opposed to raising money for college like the million dollar homepage creator.
So far, the campaign has earned only $3, so it’s highly unlikely that it will reach its $1 million goal by the campaign’s end in mid-January.
5. First feature film
This Kickstarter user is trying to earn $59,000 for his first feature film. The user provides a somewhat unclear description of what the film is going to be about:
This feature film is a story about a promising athlete who has to deal with personal tragedy, a natural disaster — causing physical injury as well as subsequent psychological disorders such as Dissociative Identity & Delusional disorders. This is a story about how drastically this athlete’s life changes and the challenges he must face.
But, it provides no videos, no in-depth information about the filmmaker, or any other information a financial backer would generally request. If you decide to financially back the film with a large amount of funding ($10,000 or more), the users says you can actually be in the film. You can “play a small role and be in at least 2 scenes.” But, travel costs will be your responsibility.
So far, this user has collected $0 in funding. Knowing virtually nothing about this individual or his filmmaking abilities, would you help him create his “first feature film?”