The long anticipated Scribble Pen finally launched this week to immense if very short-lived success. The project became wildly popular back in June when they first announced their product to the tech media, but several delays prevented them from launching their fundraising campaign until Monday this week.
The team’s marketing efforts paid off though as the pen, which allows users to scan colors off objects and then reproduce them in ink, reached its $100,000 goal in just a few hours.
Unfortunately, this magical ink/pigment mixing pen raised a few concerns among backers (this author included), and the comments section of the project quickly became filled with requests for a better demonstration of the pen’s capabilities. The project’s video contained just two short clips of the pen drawing which many believed didn’t demonstrate the main feature of the pen which is the ability to change colors quickly. Concerns were largely over how long it took the pen to change color and how much ink was wasted in the process.
After raising $366,566, the campaign was cancelled by its authors without warning or explanation. Backers traded speculations for over an hour before the team finally released this statement:
In an unprecedented change of events, Kickstarter actually stepped in to defend skeptical backers by demanding a more convincing demonstration of the team’s product within 24 hours. It’s understandable that they wouldn’t want to haphazardly shoot a low-quality video, but shutting down an entire project and angering almost 2000 backers to avoid doing so raises questions over whether or not they actually had the prototype that they claimed they had.
We’ve seen Kickstarter shut down projects before, but they usually wait until much later in the campaign to do so. iFind was under the skeptical magnifying glass of a number of tech and scientific publications, but Kickstarter still waited until three days before the end of the campaign to shut them down. It’s a breath of fresh air to see Kickstarter stepping in so early and authoritatively to increase the legitimacy of a project especially when it was under relatively little scrutiny.
Could this be the beginning of a new, more pro-consumer crowdfunding platform?