Crowdfunding is a miracle of the modern age, but it’s not always sunshine and roses.
Kickstarter has hired an investigative journalist to dig into why one of its biggest projects failed.
Reporter Mark Harris has been commissioned to write a piece about the mysterious collapse of the Zano drone project, Kickstarter’s highest-funded campaign in Europe.
“The company wants to help the backers of this failed project get the information they are entitled to under their agreement with the project creator,” writes Harris.
“They would like to uncover the story of Zano,” he continues, “from its inception to the present, and decided that the best way to do that was to hire a journalist.”
Harris says that the main audience for the story are the 12,000-plus backers of the Zano project, who collectively forked out over £2.3 million.
The reporter says he will be seeking interviews with those involved with the project in the weeks ahead, and aims to have the piece ready by January.
“I will also be looking into Kickstarter’s role in the project, and whether it could have served Zano’s creators or backers better throughout,” he explains.
Harris adds: “I have no connection to the company, nor to anyone on the Zano team, and have no particular axe to grind.”
Kickstarter provided TrustedReviews with the following statement:
"It's okay for Kickstarter creators to take on big ideas and fail, but we expect transparency and honesty along the way. The backers of the Zano project deserve a full account of what happened, so we've hired Mark to produce an independent report. His work should also be helpful to our wider community, especially hardware creators tackling ambitious projects. Transparency around the ups and downs of the creative process helps us all build a more creative world."
The company also pointed out to us that 9% of all Kickstarter projects fail to deliver rewards.
According to the journalist, Kickstarter is paying for the story upfront, and will be able to see it before it is sent to backers, or published online. However, he maintains that Kickstarter “has no right” to make suggests or changes to the copy.
For disclosure purposes, Harris revealed that he has pledged to projects on Kickstarter previously, but he was never a Zano backer.
If you’re a Zano backer, creator, or employee, Harris says you can get in touch with him at firstname.lastname@example.org.