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The Onion rips Kickstarter a new one [video]

It appears as though the tide is turning on crowdfunding — a surefire symptom of success. Earlier today, my friend and colleague Molly McHugh wrote about the coming tipping point in the crowdfunding scene, with more and more company’s jumping on the bandwagon — and how that might not be a good thing for anybody.

And now, this. In a new skit segment (below), The Onion News Network cuts straight to the heart of what makes Kickstarter a risky place to put your dollars and cents: scams. Actually, the point of The Onion bit doesn’t focus on real scams per se — the kind where you donate your hard-earned cash to someone who plans on simply running off with the loot. Instead, it calls foul on the whole concept of handing over dollars to talentless wannabes.

“Cyber alert: An insidious new Internet scam called ‘Kickstarter’ has already conned thousands of unsuspecting victims into donating money to so-called ‘important personal projects’ that are in actuality just terrible, useless garbage,” says fake anchor Scott McKay .

True as that may be — it certainly feels true, anyway — the fact of the matter is, only the “best” projects rise to the top, while projects that nobody has faith in get swept under the rug, unloved, and unfunded. (In case you’re not familiar, money donated to Kickstarter projects are only transfered if the project reaches its funding goal in the allotted time, which is usually about a month.)

So, really, there isn’t much concern that people are just chucking money at crappy garage bands or bad poets on Kickstarter. There is, however, a real concern about actual scams — the type described above. But even then, the Internet seems to have a way of cleansing itself of such filth. An example: At the end of April, a video game Kickstarter project (one of the most successful categories on the site) called “MYTHIC: The Story of Gods and Men” sought to raise $80,000. Problem was, the whole thing was fake. The development team was fabricated, the art for the game stolen from other game creators. And before the project had reached even $5,000, Kickstarter had shut the project down thanks to the Internet’s collective outcry

Regardless, it doesn’t appear as though Kickstarter or the crowdfunding way of making projects come to life is going anywhere. In fact, the exact opposite appears likely. And when something is going as strong as Kickstarter, it’s OK to laugh at its expense.

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