Indiegogo has a trust problem. It’s something the company is keenly aware of. For years, the platform has been viewed by many as the destination for those campaigns that didn’t make it through the initial Kickstarter vetting process.
As CEO Andy Yang told me in an interview last summer:
We’ve had our number of failures on our site, of campaigns that haven’t fulfilled or just, the campaigns have ghosted their backers, and we own up to that. Over the last two years, that’s been a major focus for us, of what can we do from a trust and safety perspective. It starts with education, making sure that the backers understand that crowdfunding is not shopping. It’s very visible in our checkout site, but again, Amazon and other companies have trained people, just click a button and I’m going to get it in two hours. In terms of trust, people that have been burned, absolutely. We own up to that.
The platform is looking to address some previous shortcomings with a number of new initiatives, in an effort to “help backers make more informed decisions.” As far as those things go, the new Trust-Proven Badge isn’t a huge change, but it’s a step toward fostering the kind of trust the firm has been looking to create between companies and backers.
“Over the last 10 years, we’ve been home to thousands of successful campaigns, and the relationships we’ve built with these entrepreneurs are no small feat,” Indiegogo says in a blog post announcing the new feature. “We want to use the Trust-Proven Badge to highlight campaigners’ record of success, providing this information directly on the campaign pages so backers can make more informed decisions.”
The company says it’s currently in the process of reviewing the track records of its most active campaigners and will start awarding the badges based on things like fulfillment, campaign management and positive feedback from backers. The move is part of a broader overhaul of Indiegogo’s Trust & Safety team, aimed at improving relations across the site. It comes during a time of upheaval for crowdfunding. In December, Kickstarter was greeted with wide-ranging user backlash over plans to move its entire platform to decentralized blockchain technology. More recently, longtime rewards fulfillment provider TopatoCo announced the launch of its own crowdfunding service, TopatoGo.
“We’ve been doing this long enough that we figure it’s time to cut out the middleman and make it easier on everyone involved by doing it all ourselves,” TopatoCo founder and CEO Jeffrey Rowland said of the new service. “Over the years we’ve shipped hundreds of thousands of things and we’re pretty good at it. We have great people working every day and two warehouses, several dozen computers, a van, and a forklift. We have so many rolls of those ‘fragile’ stickers. By shifting our crowdfunding and fulfillment totally in-house, it will allow us to make better deals for creators, streamline our internal processes, invest more into our community, and help the environment by not using blockchain for some reason.”