1055: Kickstarter

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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If you pledge more than $50 you'll get on the VIP list and have first dibs on a slot on ANY of the pledge levels in the actual campaign.
Title text: If you pledge more than $50 you'll get on the VIP list and have first dibs on a slot on ANY of the pledge levels in the actual campaign.


Kickstarter is a platform for funding projects in which anyone can give money at any level of funding starting usually as low as $10. Funding at different levels gets you different perks, e.g. If the Kickstarter is for a book, a large donation makes you eligible for a signed copy.

In this comic, Black Hat is attempting to game the system by raising money to work on the perfect Kickstarter pitch. He appears to have gained no money, but has only started the scheme that day. The title text is an attempt to entice people to pledge a larger amount, by guaranteeing a more prestigious pledge level during the actual campaign. This is a scam for (even more) gullible people, as anyone can give any amount of money; there are no limits on pledge levels - or, at least, it may have been that way at the time of this comic's publication. Kickstarter does actually allow campaign hosts to designate a finite amount of higher-tier rewards, so if a wealthy person knew in advance that they would want to guarantee a specific reward from a pledge level, this VIP-list-first-dibs offer may have been desirable.

This has actually been done via an indiegogo campaign. There are a number of similarities to the comic (the black hat, $5,000 vs $500 goal), so Baron von Husk may have got the idea from xkcd.


[A kickstarter page with zero donations, a target of $5,000 (and no money raised), and 90 days to go.]
[Black Hat has posted a video and a description of his project, the first lines of which are visible.]
Time was, anyone with a webcam and an idea could raise boatloads of cash on Kickstarter. But with increased popularity comes tougher competition. Now, to get support, you need a really standout video or compelling write-up.
I have an idea for a Kickstarter campaign that could raise millions, but I need your help to craft the perfect pitch.
If I raise $5,000, I'll be able to devote the

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Also note the Droste effect of Blackhat's video: in the video he's holding a copy of the current webpage. 21:52, 7 December 2012 (UTC)

It's also worth noting that the kickstarter shown in the video has 2 days remaining and has raised a four digit figure of a 7 digit total (otherwise being a complete failure). 22:43, 8 February 2013 (UTC)

It seems to me that in the video he has 2 days remaining, somewhere around 53,090 backers and has raised more than $8,000,000, out of an unreadable goal. 12:58, 2 June 2013 (UTC)

Could this be a scam? I don't know that much about kickstarter, but I know Blackhat, and scamming people seems like a common activity for him. (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

I changed the second paragraph of the explanation pretty radically. It's not an ideal explanation right now, because some facts are vague and unsatisfying, but it's better than it was, which was blatantly false. I'm assuming that since Randall made the joke he did make in the title text, at the time of this comic's publication, Kickstarter didn't have any limits on pledge tiers. It does now, which makes the title text make no sense. If someone could verify all this and correct accordingly, that'd be great, because I don't know how to go about it. 04:35, 19 February 2020 (UTC)