Kickstarter is Coming to Canada – The Good and the Bad

Image: Kickstarter

Break out the poutine and maple syrup! Later this summer, Kickstarter is coming to Canada. Hailing from Canada, I have many thoughts about this. Some good. Some bad.

The good news is, now Canadians have more options when it comes to funding their projects. Having options is always a good thing.

But, sometimes, these options are not always in the best interest of person. Or, in this situation, the project.

Kickstarter has two things going for it that are missing from Indiegogo.

The first is the ability to create stretch goals. I believe having this ability results in a bigger incentive for people sharing the campaign. It’s gamification of crowdfunding. The more people share, greater is the potential for receiving funds. The more funds over the initial goal, the more perks people will receive, without having to give any extra money. Sure, people can create some sort of extra-reward system on Indiegogo, but that requires a great deal of added effort, as it isn’t something built into the system.

The second thing Kickstarter has is a larger community. Indiegogo is a great platform. For reasons beyond my comprehension, it doesn’t have the same brand power as Kickstarter, which makes it less likely that people will just stumble upon the campaign and fund it.

But, in my opinion, I think that is where the positives of Kickstarter end.

Indiegogo has many things going for it that are missing from Kickstarter.

The first is that with Indiegogo, you can have either flexible funding, or fixed funding. If you are willing to pay any extra costs out of pocket, then you can choose flexible funding, and you’ll receive all funds, minus a larger service fee. The larger service fee is waived if you reach your goal. Plus, for payments made via PayPal, you’ll receive those funds immediately. Or, if you must raise a specific amount of money to create your project, then you go with the fixed funding model, and will only receive the funds if you reach your goal.

The second advantage of Indiegogo is that they offer multiple payment methods. Backers can pay via credit card or PayPal. With United States Kickstarter projects, if your potential backers don’t have a credit card and an Amazon account, then they can’t fund your project. For UK projects, the Amazon requirement is removed, but your backers still need to have a credit card. Sure, you could always create a web site with a PayPal link, but those funds won’t count towards your total. Also, that requires more work in an already labor-intensive undertaking. They have yet to announce how payments will work for Canadian projects, but I assume it will require, at the minimum, a credit card. However, now that Canada finally has Visa debit cards, this barrier may slowly disappear. Visa debit cards in Canada are different than the ones in the United States, so they have their own set of issues that may prevent Canadians from switching to them until those issues are resolved.

The third advantage is that with Indiegogo there is no approval process. While some will argue that this can lead to sub-par projects, I’d argue that no one is under any obligation to fund or share a sub-par project. I use the same argument for celebrities who are criticised for using Kickstarter. No one is ever under any obligation to fund a project.

The fourth advantage is there are less restrictions regarding types of projects and types of perks you are allowed to offer. Here is the list of restricted perks for Indiegogo versus the restricted perks for Kickstarter. With Indiegogo, projects do not need to fall into specific categories. With Kickstarter, projects must fit into one of the following categories: art, comics, dance, design, fashion, film, food, games, music, photography, publishing, technology, and theater.

The fifth advantage is that Indiegogo doesn’t have regional restrictions. You don’t have to live in the United States, the UK, and soon-to-be Canada, to create a project. Indiegogo’s current community may be smaller than Kickstarter’s, but, because of the lack of regional restrictions, this may soon change.

I used Indiegogo to create Five Little Zombies and Fred. Even though I didn’t reach my full goal, I still consider it successful because I raised more the bare minimum I needed to get the book into the market.

Would I have gone with Kickstarter if I had the opportunity? I don’t know. If I went with Kickstarter, I would have started with a $1,000.00 goal—the bare minimum I needed—with stretched goals onwards to $10,000.00+, and it would have appeared to be more successful. But, without the ability for backers to easily use PayPal, for me that is a huge negative.

I have an idea for a second book. With the news that Kickstarter is coming to Canada, I have a lot of thinking to do about the funding platform I will use. Does a larger community and the ability to gamify my campaign outweigh the benefits of flexible funding, multiple payment options, and no approval process? That is a difficult decision.

Difficult decision or not, positives and negatives aside, I am happy that I, and other Canadians, will soon have a choice. In the end, it will come down to what I think is the smartest choice for my project. Without knowing if an Amazon account will be needed for both backers and Canadian creators, pondering this choice will be put on hold. If Amazon is required, then I will not use Kickstarter, because it is just one barrier too many for me. If Amazon is not required, well, it could be a fun experiment.

And, if the experiement doesn’t work out, there is always Indiegogo.

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Jules Sherred is a parent, author, radio personality, blogger and freelance writer, gamer, tech enthusiast, website designer, science nerd, sci-fi freak, hard core Trekker, and has an unnatural obsession with Optimus Prime. He/him/his.