wants to do more to make crowdfunding safer and more trustworthy. Offering users assurances that campaign organizers will deliver on their promises is a key part of that. The platform is now rolling out a program designed to place a spotlight on those who've run well-organized campaigns and delivered perks to backers in the past.
As part of the Trust-Proven Program, Indiegogo is reviewing the histories of active campaign organizers to determine if they have a solid track record of fulfilling perks, positive feedback from backers and a proven ability to manage campaigns well. Those who meet the criteria will have a Trust-Proven Badge on their campaign page.
The badge doesn't automatically mean that campaign organizers will fulfill their perks and come through on their latest project. It does offer an at-a-glance indication that they know what they're doing when it comes to crowdfunding campaigns, and it's more likely that they'll deliver on their pledges. If organizers don't stick to Indiegogo's policies, though, they risk losing the badge.
The program builds on an initiative that ramped up last year to provide more transparency about what Indiegogo's doing behind the scenes to ensure it has a safe, trusted platform. Among its goals is to .
At the outset, Indiegogo was an open platform that would allow most kinds of legal campaigns. However, "that's not really what backers want." Will Haines, Indiegogo's vice president of product and consumer trust, told Engadget. "They want a platform where there's some baseline level of trust." This latest program aligns with what users are asking for.
The Trust-Proven Badge is now live on campaigns from , , and, the most recognizable name among the bunch, . The badge is placed prominently on the page. Hovering over the question mark icon will inform users the badge denotes that the "campaigner has a history of fulfilling campaigns on the IGG platform or is an Enterprise-run campaign."
For now, the Trust-Proven Program is limited to organizers who have run several projects in the technology and innovation category. Indiegogo might expand it to other types of campaigns in the future, though Haines noted that building physical products is "a more challenging area" than, perhaps, making a low-budget film or a tabletop game, not least because of .
These types of projects "tend to be at a higher price point, which raises the risk for the backer, just because they're putting more money on the line," Haines said. "But on the other hand, backers have spoken in our community and we have a community of tech enthusiasts who love these kinds of products." As such, Indiegogo wants to provide "a baseline level of security without stifling the innovation on the platform."
Haines called the Trust-Proven Program a first step for Indiegogo as it seeks to bolster transparency and trust on the platform. Over the coming year, it's hoping to provide more information to backers about where entrepreneurs are in the process of turning their ideas into a reality. While there are some details Indiegogo can't or won't disclose to prevent people from gaming the system, "we're looking for avenues to be able to provide this kind of information to the backers so that they can be along for the ride each step of the way," Haines said.
There will always be an element of risk with crowdfunding campaigns. Indiegogo isn't looking to do away with that entirely. The Trust-Proven Program and similar efforts are about providing users with relevant info so they can make better informed decisions about whether to back a project.
"We want to be clear to backers what they're getting into when they contribute on the site; if someone has something that they created on the back of a napkin, and it's really just the concept," Haines said. "There is, I would argue, a place for that on the platform, but it had better be really clear that it's a napkin sketch."