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Should famous people use Kickstarter? Kickstarter says 'yes'

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Zach Braff Kickstarter
Zach Braff Kickstarter

After high-profile projects by Zach Braff, Amanda Palmer, the Veronica Mars creators, and other celebrities, there's been ongoing controversy over whether such projects are true to the spirit of Kickstarter. Is it ethical to turn to crowdfunding when you could easily get money through more traditional channels? Now, Kickstarter has responded with resounding support.

In a blog post, the company's leaders and co-founders gave their blessing to celebrity projects, backing their viewpoint with some statistics. "The Veronica Mars and Zach Braff projects have brought tens of thousands of new people to Kickstarter. 63 percent of those people had never backed a project before. Thousands of them have since gone on to back other projects, with more than $400,000 pledged to 2,200 projects so far. Nearly 40 percent of that has gone to other film projects." Big projects, they argue, can have a halo effect on the rest of Kickstarter, drawing in new people and helping other creators.

Essentially, Kickstarter's argument is that campaigns aren't a zero-sum game, in which one project can deprive another of funding. "Kickstarter is a new way for creators to bring their projects to life," the founders say. "Not through commerce, charity, or investment — through a new model powered by a willing audience." Of course, that altruism also has fairly strong benefits for the site itself: the more people know about Kickstarter, whether through celebrity projects or not, the better it will do and the more it will make.