As a tech junkie and blog writer, I have the amazing opportunity to test out and review amazing, cool products at times. There are other times when I just make the impulse buy because I cannot wait to get the latest tech in my hands. Sites like Kickstarter have definitely not helped my wallet. But, as some of you may have experienced, Kickstarter is not the most ideal place to actually purchase tech goods. The goal there is that when you contribute money, you are helping fund the inventor’s creation, and you are not paying for the actual end product. Inventors do reward you with an end product, but they are not bound to produce anything for you.
For a while, this model worked well for Kickstarter and its community of people that would support projects. But, lately, I am reading more and more about Kickstarter being more strict on what kinds of projects they are accepting as well as frustrated customers not being able to get their products because inventors didn’t come through. I could tell that change was coming and within the past few months I have seen other sites starting to pop up and today, I wanted to mainly focus on a brand new one that just came online, called Christie Street. They take a somewhat different approach than Kickstarter and it actually makes a lot of sense for both the inventor as well as the customer.
Accountability for Inventors
In order for Christie Street to attract both inventors and consumers alike, they had to do something different than Kickstarter, and that is definitely apparent as you start to browse through the site. First of all, let me say that I have no experience coming up with an invention, so I cannot speak much to that aspect of this process. But, what I can say as I browse Christie Street is that the developers of the site hold a high standard to keeping inventors accountable.
They have a list of things that inventors should be able to abide by in order to present their project on the site. As a consumer, when I read through this list of key indicators, as they call it, it gives me confidence that what I decide to fund will be a quality product and it will actually go through to production. Christie Street does a good job of holding inventors to a high standard and to be perfectly honest, the key indicators look reasonable for someone that wants to really invent a viable product.
Peace of Mind for Consumers
There is a huge difference here for consumers as compared to Kickstarter. As most of you know, with Kickstarter, you pledge a certain monetary amount and then once the product hits its funding goal, your credit card gets charged and the inventor receives your money. Whether you get the actual product or not, is anyone’s guess. Although inventors eventually get their product out, you never know how long it will take and whether you really get what you thought you had originally backed.
With Christie Street, they take this gambling process out, and make it a lot more easy for customers. When you decide to back a project you still pledge a certain amount and inventors can still have rewards for certain monetary thresholds. But, where the big difference comes in is that when you pay to support a product, you are actually pre-paying for it. Christie Street even gives you a guarantee where if the inventor does not produce the product for some reason, you will get a refund. So in essence, your money is not going to just support the inventor, but also toward an actual item that you are buying.
Is It Better?
Personally, when I look at Christie Street’s model, as a consumer, I tend to have a lot more confidence in it than I do in Kickstarter. I like knowing that when I back a product I am actually pre-paying for it and not just contributing money and not knowing when and if I will ever get something in return.
What will be interesting here is to see if inventors will take to Christie Street and its stricter rules for them. I personally think that these rules are better for them as well because it not only holds them accountable, but I think it makes them better and more efficient at what they are trying to do. At the same time, Kickstarter is not going anywhere, as they have built up a solid base of customers and they can service a wide variety of inventors. Even though there are some problems with it, people will still support projects and it will continue to do well.
Overall, I think Christie Street is a great addition to this space and it will push sites like Kickstarter. There is also more competition here as well with sites like Selfstarter.us, which as you know the guys who created Lockitron made successful. This is where sites can create their own crowd funding site and it has a similar concept where payment doesn’t get made till the product is ready to ship.
Right now Christie Street has one product that you can fund and it is a really cool one called Doorbot. I would highly suggest you go and check it out along with the rest of the site. In the grand scheme of things, I think the addition of this site helps not only the inventor, but also the consumer, and as we go forward, this can only be a win for everyone. What do you guys think? Can this work and will you use it or stick to Kickstarer?
ChristieStreet is a place on the web where inventors can promote their products and consumers can pre-order them.8