It was the night before Thanksgiving, and all was going well for Dan, aka aDrive, a YouTube creator with over 1 million followers and the designer of a very successful new Kickstarter game, Elestrals.
Thanksgiving morning, we woke up to see Elestrals hit 1 Million, and everyone was pretty excited until it became clear the spike was from ONE backer. One backer that created multiple accounts to support the project for more than $500,000 overnight. That is... unusual.
Why wouldn't the backer increase their pledge instead? Well, Kickstarter has a limit in place per backer. The backer communicated with the creator and community about his support and was very understanding when asked to halt backing with more new accounts.
We needed to work with Kickstarter to ensure this was all on the up and up. I had never seen a backer do this on a project before, and I reached out to Jonathan Ritter-Roderick at Kickstarter on Thanksgiving morning. The office was closed, but he was available to advise us until Trust & Safety could evaluate things.
The marketing for the campaign had a lot wrapped up in a marathon stream aDrive ran for ten days during the project, and over Thanksgiving, so all of this unknown put a significant halt on the progress of stretch goals. The following day, he posted this update for backers:
The generous backer has been canceling his extra pledges over the last few days at the creator's request. If you read the comments, you can see the outpouring of backers' support, which also shows in the campaign's progress, despite the drop in funds.
WHY would anyone want to remove 500k from their campaign? Well, if you didn't catch the video above, it could be devastating if that number dramatically drops due to one person - at any time, during, or at the end of the campaign. Stretch Goals were unlocked based on the funding number.
It made more sense to move forward from a realistic place and figure out how to work with the generous backer in another way outside of Kickstarter in the future.
Ultimately, this was the best path forward. The marathon ended today, and minus the remaining balance we are waiting to be removed, the project is sitting comfortably at $875k with over 4k backers and plenty of exciting new unlocks ahead for the remainder of the campaign.
The community support for this project is impressive. aDrive is an open and honest creator who had to manage a very tough situation over a holiday during a marathon stream, no less! He works with his advisors, backers, and community to create a product everyone is excited to be at the ground level of, and he shares his journey every step of the way.
It can be tough to put your struggles out there for the world to see, to explain why something isn’t exactly what people were hoping for. Honesty is best, and you will find that, by and large, people are more supportive of what you are doing when they know the person behind the product is someone they can trust. The path to 1 million is ahead, and I'm excited to see what the Elestrals team and their backers bring to the Kickstarter for the final stretch!