Are Kickstarter deals really deals?By - 08/18/2016
I love a good idea and a good deal, and crowdfunding sites appear to deliver both. Or so it seems. After seeing that the earliest backers of Canary paid $199 for a device that now sells for $177; I started to wonder, are early bird deals really deals? To determine how often a deal is really a deal, we will examine ten successfully launched projects.
Is Kickstarter a Ripoff or Investment?
|Early Bird Pricing:||Other Pricing:||Estimated Retail Price:||Current Pricing:|
|Canary||$199 / Indiegogo||$249 / Indiegogo||$249||$177 / Amazon|
|Piper||$209 / Indiegogo||$219 / Indiegogo||$279.99||$199 / Amazon|
|SmartThings||$99 / Kickstarter||$149 / Kickstarter||Unknown||$199.99 / SmartThings.com|
|iSmartAlarm Preferred||$79 / Indiegogo||$129 / Indiegogo||$149||$169.15 / Amazon|
|Autonomous||$399 / Kickstarter||$499 / Kickstarter||$499||$250 / Autonomous.ai|
|PetCube||$99 / Kickstarter||$149 / Kickstarter||$199||$149 / Amazon|
|Sentri||$199 / Kickstarter||$249 / Kickstarter||$349||$249 / Amazon|
|BeON||$199 / Kickstarter||$229 / Kickstarter||Unknown||$199 / BeONHome.com|
|Nanoleaf Bloom||$40 / Kickstarter||NA||$40||$39 / Nanoleaf.me|
|Korner||$98 / Indiegogo||NA||Unknown||$98 / KornerSafe.com|
Not only was Canary not a deal, early supporters overpaid without benefit as the first units shipped with their fair share of problems. For $250, you could purchase one early addition Canary unit in matte black or silver. You can buy the same thing now for $73 less and with fewer issues. Verdict? Ripoff.
Of course we can’t talk about Canary without Piper. The two seem to go hand-in-hand. Though not related, they are similar products. Those that backed the classic Piper have lost $10-$20 on the investment. To me, that seems reasonable. After all, it has been several years since the campaign ended and they’ve since launched the Piper nv as a successor to the classic version. Verdict? Could be worse.
And finally a deal that makes sense. When SmartThings launched their hub on Kickstarter, they offered consumers a fair deal: $99 for a hub and 3 devices. To put it into perspective, they currently sell their hub for $99, no extra devices. Verdict? Investment.
iSmartAlarm launched their popular self-monitored security system on Indiegogo. Early bird backers were invited to purchase a basic package for $79 or a preferred package for $99. Currently, the preferred package sells on Amazon for $169.15. Also, iSmart has expanded their line by adding new security cameras, upgrading app access, and they’ve managed to maintain a zero subscription approach. I’d call this project an Investment.
I remember when the autonomous standing desk launched on Kickstarter. I coveted the desk but wasn’t ready to spend $399 plus $99 for shipping on a new desk. Recently, I bit the bullet on an autonomous desk, and I’m glad I waited. You can now purchase a standing desk for $250 plus $49 for shipping. For those that overpaid by $200, I resent that for you, it was a Ripoff.
PetCube launched their pet entertaining camera on Kickstarter. At $99 for early birds and $149 for those that missed the earliest deal, it probably seemed as though this camera, with an expected retail price of $199, would be an investment. However, as seems to be the case with other crowdfunded cameras, this device didn’t hold its value. It is currently selling for $149 on Amazon. I suppose it Could be worse.
With an estimated retail price of $349, I can see why backers would want to invest in a $199 early bird Sentri. Unfortunately, those that didn’t catch the early bird special are probably feeling like this purchase was a wash. Almost 400 people backed Sentri for $249, the same price it currently sells for on Amazon.com. Could be worse.
The first 100 BeOn backers were able to snag a set of 3 bulbs for $199. Backer 101 and beyond paid $229 or more. Currently, BeOn sells a 3-pack of bulbs for $199 on their website with a 100-day money back guarantee, free shipping, free returns, plus they are shipping a product that has been tested and improved. In this case, it would have been better to wait, but I suppose it Could be worse.
NanoLeaf Bloom sold their sexy bulb on Kickstarter for $40. Current retail price of the bulb is $39. I was a backer of the NanoLeaf Bloom, and it shipped without issues and worked as promised out of the box. Though backers didn’t get a deal, they also didn’t purchase a headache. Could be worse.
Korner’s marketing pitch started as “home security for under $100”. Indiegogo backers had the choice of a 3 sensor pack for $98, including the first year’s annual fee, or a 2 pack for $78. Currently, Korner’s pricing matches their Indiegogo pricing to the penny. Could be worse.
Technology doesn’t appreciate. If you invest in a crowdfunded technology project, there may be a small window of time where you can sell for a profit. However, that window will close quickly. After a year or two, the value of your technology purchase is likely to drop. If you want to invest in a crowdfunded technology project, do it because you love technology, because you want to be the first to try something new, because you’re excited about the product’s potential, but don’t do it to make money.