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About 'Fake' Promotional Posts

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
We've had a number of these recently, and I've discussed it with the moderators. The situation arises when somebody creates an account and pretends to be a curious customer of a Kickstarter, product, or game in order to promote their own product (often in a forum other than the one we set aside for promotional posts).

We absolutely do support people who have gaming kickstarters who want to post about them - we have a forum for precisely that, and you can also contact @Egg Embry and be included in our weekly Kickstarter column. We also talk about Kickstarters on our podcast. We are very much on the side of supporting you and your project.

Unfortunately, we have noted that some people use misleading positioning to post as if they are some unrelated party asking questions. Misleading our users is wrong. We will not support Kickstarters or other producers who mislead us, or our members. We want to support you and your Kickstarter, but please don't try to trick us.

If you are the creator of or are involved with a Kickstarter you are promoting, you must disclose that.

If we find that you are misleading EN World members in this way, you can expect to find us unwilling to help promote your Kickstarter in other ways. You can also expect moderator action. Depending on the degree, we might give you chance to change your post, but we might not. We will also make it clear to people what’s going on, so they can best decide for themselves whether to support your project.
 

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raysosher

Ray Sosher
We've had a number of these recently, and I've discussed it with the moderators. The situation arises when somebody creates an account and pretends to be a curious customer of a Kickstarter, product, or game in order to promote their own product (often in a forum other than the one we set aside for promotional posts).

We absolutely do support people who have gaming kickstarters who want to post about them - we have a forum for precisely that, and you can also contact @Egg Embry and be included in our weekly Kickstarter column. We also talk about Kickstarters on our podcast. We are very much on the side of supporting you and your project.

Unfortunately, we have noted that some people use misleading positioning to post as if they are some unrelated party asking questions. Misleading our users is wrong. We will not support Kickstarters or other producers who mislead us, or our members.

If we find that you are misleading EN World members in this way, you can expect to find us unwilling to help promote your Kickstarter in other ways. You can also expect moderator action. Depending on the degree, we might give you chance to change your post, but we might not.
Completely understand the rules.
 


Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
The sad part is that the people who need to read this the most aren't going to. The regular posters should (in theory) behave better. The new fake accounts aren't here!
 




ParanoydStyle

Peace Among Worlds
You know what, I'm 80% I did exactly this, three and a half years ago. (I say only 80% because I was smoking and drinking very heavily during the Summer of '16, largely due to Kickstarter related stress, so I can't be sure of much) I didn't feel good about it at the time, and I'd already made up my mind not do it again literally years before it became so prominent you made a rule against it, so you certainly don't need to worry about my ever doing it again. This is perhaps one of the least important of the many ways I think I've become a much better person than I was 3.5 years ago.

I'm not posting this to get that "confession" off my chest. Instead I just want to offer a little insight into why I (probably) did it. Please understand, this is not a defense of the practice: I condemn the practice. But this was on my part an act motivated by utter desperation. I had a gorgeous KS page. I had incredibly high quality art. I made sure it was advertised in the right places, including here. But the industry is funny, and while this may or may not still be true today, well, you know what...

Spoilered for reasons of: general tl;dr effect, fairly a lot of industry inside baseball (at the indie level), probably some residual bitterness and spite from a previous failed business venture.

Let me put this in the words of effing "alleged"-kiddie-rapist covering-up a-hole* I mean totally swell and okay guy Mark Diaz Truman, of Magpie Games. If you're wondering the context, I'm 90% sure that these came from the Indie Game Design Network internal mailing list.

TRUMAN:
"When I design a Kickstarter project, I estimate that 30-40% of the money I take in is profit. That's because 80%+ of Magpie's revenue is Kickstarter projects. We can't operate as a business if we have a 10% profit margin. That (as I see it) is the new reality of the industry. We're not in distribution yet. We don't sell enough at cons. We don't have some other source of revenue. Kickstarter is our bread and butter."

At End Transmission Games, we were in distribution. We were AWESOME at selling at cons (we broke even or better, including lodging but not travel, I think every year we were at Origins; on the whole about 50% of our income came from the four conventions we attended a year and the other 50% came from our online sales all year round, which is an insane business model, and we knew it). In spite of being in distribution and mastering selling at cons, we were still hemorrhaging money and losing tens of thousands every year running the business.

The ironic thing is that...idk if any of you are aware of the KS that Magpie was running about that point in time, but they were overfunding so extravagantly that actually, Magpie could EASILY have kept operating as a business on a 10% profit margin with 10% of those numbers, and put the rest of the 30% of THE BACKER'S money into releasing a better product, or more product, or anything but just putting it in their pockets, if they weren't so damn greedy. Well, at least the company is aptly named (actually, I hate that they called their company that, because I'm an ornitophile and they ruined that bird for me, I just wanted to make the MTG joke).

Here's another Mark Trumanism:

"In addition, giving Kickstarter backers a discount is crazy to me. Why would I give the customers who believe in my product so much that they are giving me money months (or years) before I deliver a product a 30% off discount?"

My answer to this rhetorical question, which I think I might have actually screamed out loud the first time I read this text off of a computer screen was:

"BECAUSE THEY BELIEVED IN YOUR PRODUCT SO MUCH THEY GAVE YOU MONEY MONTHS (OR YEARS) BEFORE YOU DELIVER A PRODUCT, YOU MONSTROUSLY UNGRATEFUL EXPLOITATIVE SELFISH (EXPLETIVE starting in c and ending in t DELETED)"

I found this attitude so wrong disgusting and toxic and totally against the spirit of Kickstarter that it made me physically ill as well as furious. It made me so angry that I took it down in writing four or five YEARS ago and have kept it ever since.

Personally, I always did everything I could to award as much extra stuff to our backers as I could because I ACTUALLY WAS GRATEFUL TO MY BACKERS AND WANTED TO REWARD THEM. If I were to reword his repugnant statement to reflect my own personal ethics, it would say:

"In addition, not giving Kickstarter backers a discount is EVIL to me. Why WOULDN'T I give the customers who believe in my product so much that they are giving me money months (or years) before I deliver a product a 30% off discount?"

But his statement makes sense, if you assume all he cares about is making money. And my company failed, and his is, I presume, thriving (I don't bother keeping tabs on old enemies and other bad actors). And frankly...making money is pretty damn important to succeeding in business. So I looked at his attitude on this and I looked at these Kickstarters that Magpie and companies LIKE Magpie ran like clockwork for shitty ApocalypseWorld clones (not that there's any other kind of ApocalypseWorld clone, but table that for a rainy day discussion) that were consistently raking in six figures and I thought...you know what, no matter how much I HATE it, this is the new reality, Magpie's thriving, we're barely keeping or heads above water, time for a paradigm shift. So I looked at the way they (and companies like them) did their Kickstarters and it was clear even at a glance that their actual goal was only a tiny fraction of what they wanted, needed, and were reliably getting. In other words, for them, revenue meant Kickstarters massively overfunding. And I saw how they did that, too, or at least I thought they did. Key parts of the game--character classes, I think *World calls them Playbooks?--were cut out of it to make Stretch Goals. "Just $15,000 more dollars to unlock the whatever playbook" ... when their "goal" was $5,000. Basically, just like when a videogame developer takes out core content from a game to sell it as DLC.

So, I compromised my ethics and I tried to do it their way, which was clearly working, at least for them. We spent more than $5,000 promoting a Kickstarter with a goal of $5,000. Which again seems insane but you gotta understand at that point in the time, jokers to the left me, clowns to the right were making it work like clockwork and there I was stuck in the middle with poo. BTW if you don't feel like clicking that link, Bluebeard's Bride made $129,820 from a 5,000 goal.

Clearly, spending enough on your KS campaign to make it look like a million bucks was not the recipe for overfunding to the tune of 2596% of the original goal. What I had failed to consider was how horny RPG consumers were for crappy *World games that signalled progressive virtues obnoxiously and loudly, and how little interest they had in anything even slightly new, different or original.

My campaign--the one I spared no expense to make look like a million bucks and tried to apply Truman's gross business model to--received $8,600 in funding well exceeding its $5,000 goal, and was a miserable failure fiscally and a net loss. By midway through it seemed like we wouldn't "even" clear $10,000, and I think that's the point where I became desperate enough to do "break" this not-yet-extant rule, or instructed one of my employees/freelancers to do it for me.

You really need to think about the mindset one would have to be in to be CRUSHED AND DEVASTATED by asking strangers for $5,000 and them giving you $8,600. Really think about the utter insanity in that: you asked strangers for $5,000 to make a game, they gave you almost twice that, and you wind up bemoaning how you didn't "even" overfund by 1000%.

* I searched and searched the forums for a rule against personal attacks. I could not find one. Whatever I might have said in the past about my utter disdain for rules and regulations generally being equal to that of Mr. Rick Sanchez as seen on my avatar, I intend to follow the rules here because I like and respect this place.

So again, while I don't condone this behavior, and in fact do condemn it, while it wasn't something I was ever going to do again and still isn't, I do have better insight than...well, pretty much anyone...into the kind of absolute DESPERATION & DESPAIR that would motivate a creator into this kind of duplicity. And if you're willing to look at the mountain of text under that spoiler tag, I think you'll have a better understanding to.

And actually, I can see nothing has changed. A Touch More Class asked for a thousand pounds and got £94,503 (before Kickstarter's take, obviously), overfunding to the tune of 9450%!!!!!!

So what's the right takeaway here? Is it that the only way to make any money in this industry is to stick to established fads like *World and 5E and never try to crowdfund anything new or different? That seems to be the lesson but I'm not going to lie: I fucking hate that lesson.

Even if we assume that I could successfully capitalize on the latest fad and use the left over revenue to try and produce something new, to me, that is the exact OPPOSITE of what Kickstarter is for. Kickstarter is for independent creators trying new and risky things.

At least, I'm pretty sure that was the IDEA, to start with, and I don't like the direction it's gone in.
 
Last edited:

You know what, I'm 80% I did exactly this, three and a half years ago. (I say only 80% because I was smoking and drinking very heavily during the Summer of '16, largely due to Kickstarter related stress, so I can't be sure of much) I didn't feel good about it at the time, and I'd already made up my mind not do it again literally years before it became so prominent you made a rule against it, so you certainly don't need to worry about my ever doing it again. This is perhaps one of the least important of the many ways I think I've become a much better person than I was 3.5 years ago.

I'm not posting this to get that "confession" off my chest. Instead I just want to offer a little insight into why I (probably) did it. Please understand, this is not a defense of the practice: I condemn the practice. But this was on my part an act motivated by utter desperation. I had a gorgeous KS page. I had incredibly high quality art. I made sure it was advertised in the right places, including here. But the industry is funny, and while this may or may not still be true today, well, you know what...

Spoilered for reasons of: general tl;dr effect, fairly a lot of industry inside baseball (at the indie level), probably some residual bitterness and spite from a previous failed business venture.

SNIP

So again, while I don't condone this behavior, and in fact do condemn it, while it wasn't something I was ever going to do again and still isn't, I do have better insight than...well, pretty much anyone...into the kind of absolute DESPERATION & DESPAIR that would motivate a creator into this kind of duplicity. And if you're willing to look at the mountain of text under that spoiler tag, I think you'll have a better understanding to.

And actually, I can see nothing has changed. A Touch More Class asked for a thousand pounds and got £94,503 (before Kickstarter's take, obviously), overfunding to the tune of 9450%!!!!!!

So what's the right takeaway here? Is it that the only way to make any money in this industry is to stick to established fads like *World and 5E and never try to crowdfund anything new or different? That seems to be the lesson but I'm not going to lie: I fucking hate that lesson.

Even if we assume that I could successfully capitalize on the latest fad and use the left over revenue to try and produce something new, to me, that is the exact OPPOSITE of what Kickstarter is for. Kickstarter is for independent creators trying new and risky things.

At least, I'm pretty sure that was the IDEA, to start with, and I don't like the direction it's gone in.
I think you're taking the wrong lessons here (well, took the wrong lessons). I strongly believe Kickstarters will work better if you review your intent from a consumer's perspective. You not only need to believe in your product but you need to look at your product --a difficult task-- through the eyes of someone who knows nothing of it, and figure out how you can get that person to both be interested in your product (a big step in and of itself) and more importantly: willing to trust you, which is a serious hurdle.

A Touch More Class gets 9450% over its asking price because people trust ENworld and Morrus. We know they deliver, they do it on time, we've seen it happen. Most of the time the factor that stops me from Kickstarting is lack of evidence of deliverables: no prior Kickstarters and/or no prior products in some other medium = no deal. I may want to back it, but my KS experience as a consumer has been that failure is almost certain if the Kickstarter has no prior history of deliverables, period. Even if they manage to deliver something, it may be rife with disappointment.

So: if you want to stick something on Kickstarter, you need to think about how to both show and win trust. Schemes do the opposite of this.
 

Myzzrym

Explorer
100% agreed. We've also had a couple on our Solasta's Discord channel and god was that annoying "Hey I'm curious why do you think X project isn't working as well as Y?". Just say you're from X project, we even have rules to welcome you, don't take people for idiots :( How do you think we can believe you if the first thing you do is try to lie to us -_-
 





gamemash

Explorer
OK I believe this is it:


I was looking for something with Kickstarter in it. I would never have found it if you hadn't said it was there for sure. Thank you!
 


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