Perhaps no single site more thoroughly embodies the idea that the Internet is a big ol’ lovefest than Kickstarter: Here the crowd assembles to fling money and enthusiasm at the dreams of far-flung creators and the art, music, design, film, technology, and other projects they seek to bring into our world.
Unless, of course, the crowd does not assemble. At all.
Here, then, to remind us that the Internet can also be a big ol’ sadness fest is Kickended: A handy compendium of Kickstarter projects that attracted zero backers.
Created by artist/designer Silvio Lorusso, Kickended gathers data from a site called Kickspy, a tool created by a Kickstarter enthusiast for discovering and researching projects on the crowdfunding site. Among its search parameters are number of backers, and the option to narrow a search to unsuccessful projects. That’s the result that Lorusso has collected on Kickended.
There are more than I would have guessed. Kickended (which somewhat echoes the design of Kickstarter itself) lets you narrow your browsing of zero-backer projects by category: There are more than 1,000 under “Art,” more than 500 under “Technology,” and so on.
The site’s About page offers a rationale beyond pure cruelty for resurfacing these misfires: “Kickended is the place where campaigns with no backers live a second life. Free from the pressure of money raising, these retain the purity of abstract ideas.”
And, if I may search for another upside, it’s possible that an aspiring Kickstarter entrepreneur or artist might learn some “do not” lessons from these campaigns gone wrong. Some are incredibly vague, others are weirdly defensive and/or confrontational, and some feature inaudible video or written pitches littered with typos.
Still, you would expect even the most dubious of these campaigns to attract at least a few backers. Did these aspiring creators not even bother to email their friends?
Anyway, I’m going to refrain from singling out examples myself, because I’m guessing these Kickstarter dreamers already have sour memories of their attempt to dazzle the crowd and don’t really need to have their failure to do so publicized any further.
But Kickended seems like more than an exercise in schadenfreude: It’s a useful, albeit bleak, reality check. Yes, the Internet makes magic and wondrous and unprecedented things occur. But only sometimes, and not for everyone.