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Backers are your enemies

Backers fund projects. They contribute money to deserving initiatives. They make what was impossible possible. They seem like really great people.

They’re not.

For the most part, backers are eager and enthusiastic about projects they contribute to, which is a double-edged sword.

They’ll be early adopters and takes risks on new things where others wouldn’t, but many will also dawn the mantle of crowdfunding vigilante and comment-bomb your project if they feel something isn’t right.

For consumers, this is a good thing. It forces project creators to perform very well or suffer the wrath of eagerly and enthusiastically upset backers.

For project creators, it’s a nightmare. If you do perform well, you’ll likely never hear from your backers. But if you’re late, if your product doesn’t meet expectations, if you’re slow in responding, you’ll hear from many of them – and so will the rest of the world.

And that is the true problem with backers. While it should definitely be possible for backers to express discontent with a project, if they do so through the comments section on your project (which seems to be the avenue of choice), it will inflict much, much more damage than it should.

Backers probably don’t realize just how catastrophic a negative comment is to a campaign, but it can be major overkill, and to a project creator, feels a lot like being this guy:

Bottom line – the comment section offers a huge amount of power to backers. Some can handle it just fine, but others turn into BackerRambo and rip your throat out.

So what can you do as a project creator to mitigate this?

  1. Meet backers’ expectations. Pretty simple.
  2. Invite your backers – often – to contact you through non-public channels, like an email, direct messages on Kickstarter, a phone number, etc.

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