The Kickback Machine Surfaces the Failed Projects Kickstarter Doesn’t Want You to See

For "research purposes," of course.

(Photo: The Kickback Machine)

A healthy chunk of criticism has been lobbed at crowdfunding platform Kickstarter for using a search algorithm which “hides” failed projects. If you want to learn from projects that didn’t quite meet their funding goal, you’d be hard-pressed to do so on Kickstarter itself–failed projects are only available directly through a creator’s profile.

“This isn’t to ‘hide failure’…it’s because it would be a poor user experience (there’s no action that anyone could take) and it would expose the creators of unsuccessfully funded projects to unnecessary criticism from the web,” Kickstarter’s cofounder Yancey Strickler told TechCrunch back in May.

Of course, when you’re attempting to stage a successful campaign, it’s only natural that you’d want to do your research and find out which projects similar to yours have already failed. Enter The Kickback Machine, a project by tech journalist Dan Misener that surfaces and sorts failed (and successful) projects by genre.

According to the site:

The KickBack Machine is a research tool. It’s designed to help artists, creators, and entrepreneurs do their crowdfunding homework. Before you launch your own Kickstarter campaign, it’s important to research past projects, so you can understand what works and what doesn’t. Kickstarter’s website does a good job of helping you find past successes. But it can be very difficult to find past projects that failed to meet their funding goal. The KickBack Machine allows you to browse past successes and failures to help you better plan your own campaign.

Kickstarter claims it also doesn’t show failed projects because they would be indexed high in Google search results, which could be a real pain point for a creator. If The Kickback Machine doesn’t list the failed projects in search, we can’t see why Kickstarter would have a problem with it.

We’ve reached out to them and will update when we hear back.


The Kickback Machine Surfaces the Failed Projects Kickstarter Doesn’t Want You to See