Thursday, May 8, 2008

Crowdfunding - A Movement?

Crowdfunding (n.) - describes the collective donation of funds, usually via the Internet, by a group of people united by a common cause.

Is Crowdfunding really a "movement" or is it just a creative way to introduce, market, and fund a new business via the Internet? Better yet, does crowdfunding present a viable funding method for someone with a business idea and limited capital to go out and virally market a low-cost, web-based prospectus (i.e. a 3 page website that asks for money). Is it just easier to put together a quick website, come up with a YouTube video, and ask the crowd for $50 for an annual membership? Have we become that lazy in the wake of the 2nd dotcom bust?

Is crowdfunding a viable alternative to traditional VC funding? Is it merely an opportunity for all the dreamers and schemers to toss some ideas on a digital cocktail napkin and test out their ideas? Will it become a viable playing field for Scam 2.0? I mean, come on, we have people trying to crowdfund bums onto the Forbes 500 who are raising more money than some of the "legit" crowdfunding outfits out there.

Is crowdfunding just a re-packaged tipping point methodology that focuses on dipping into members wallets as opposed to a collective effort to create, market and manage new and exciting technologies and products? Do we really need to call this a movement?

I do know this - I am not that interested in the academic aspects of crowdfunding, crowdsourcing, crowdmanaging, wisdom of crowds, etc. - all of that can be left to Jeff Howe and the social media marketers of the world. I like to track how these "projects" work. I like bookmarking them after I have read about them on Springwise or in Wired. I like to see what media outlets pick up the stories. I like to see some journalist in Scotland use his platform to goad the crowd into buying a football club. I like to go to the Cambrian House website and see what kind of punctuation has been used in the latest round of "idears" on the site.

I am a crowd troll.

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