Kickstarter Just Opened the Floodgates to Even More Frauds and Scams

Crowdfunding is notorious for being riddled with impossible projects, broken promises, and straight up scams. But Kickstarter's been one of the few sites that even attempts to vet projects before people start throwing their money at them. Now, though, Kickstarter has decided to let creators choose to bypass the approval process altogether. Fantastic.

The change was prompted by the fact that Kickstarter's main competitor, Indiegogo, claims to have "no opinions" and "no judgment," which are two qualities that are great in a priest and absolutely terrible in a company that allows you to a) solicit money from strangers and b) keep the profits even when you don't meet your goal. Two qualities that, as The Verge notes, made Kickstarter seem restrictive by comparison—much in the way that crosswalks or speed limits or not injecting heroin into your eyeball seems restrictive.

Now, many of those pesky "rules" are a thing of the past. The only campaigns banned now are those promoting anything illegal, regulated, or dangerous. Everything else? Fair game, so long as creators "are honest about what they're doing." Although without mandatory vetting, that honesty is pretty much dependent on the goodness of our fellow man, which, unfortunately, doesn't have the best track record.

While Kickstarter's previous human approval process wasn't exactly thorough, even a glorified checklist is better than absolutely nothing at all. Does this mean you shouldn't ever donate to a Kickstarter campaign again? Not at all! There are still plenty of worthy causes out there actually deserving of your hard-earned funding. Unfortunately, they're now going to be harder than ever to suss out from the hucksters. [The Verge]

Update 1:12pm:

A spokesperson from Kickstarter has provided Gizmodo with the following statement:

The longterm health and integrity of Kickstarter drives everything we do. We'll continue to actively govern the site with thought and care. Projects will be reviewed by a sophisticated algorithm we developed over the course of years that looks at thousands of data points. And our Moderation and Trust & Safety teams are focused on making sure everyone on Kickstarter is following the rules.