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Indiegogo now lets you start free fundraising campaigns to help others

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Fundraising has become an increasingly common way to use crowdfunding sites, and today Indiegogo is making a big play to become the go-to site for running one. It's launching a new section called Indiegogo Life, which allows fundraising campaigns meant to help yourself or others to be run for free, with fees only removed for credit-card processing. That's a big advantage over other sites, which typically take a small percentage off of all funds received regardless of the campaign type. Indiegogo says that it can afford to operate this area of the site for free because of the success of its traditional crowdfunding section.

"Indiegogo Life has a stringent verification procedure."

Indiegogo will allow fundraisers for a number of different causes, including emergencies, medical fees, and celebrations. Most of the campaigns that are running so far appear to have good intentions, though a couple — including one campaign titled "nah" that just shows a photo of a fork picking up dirt — appear to be misuses of the new section. As usual, there's always some cause to worry about the source of a crowdfunding campaign, particularly one in which the organizer need not provide something in return. Indiegogo tells us that it does have a team reviewing Life campaigns, but Indiegogo also says that campaigns can be set up in "less than five minutes," which suggests that this review process comes after campaigns are already on the site. "Indiegogo Life has a stringent verification procedure that includes a dedicated team of experts, automated algorithms and other procedures," an Indiegogo spokesperson says in a statement.

The other issue that Indiegogo will likely run into is dealing with inappropriate or contentious fundraising campaigns. The crowdfunding site GoFundMe drew criticism when a fundraising campaign supporting Darren Wilson, the police officer who fatally shot Michael Brown in Ferguson, gained attention. It ultimately chose to pull that campaign. It's unclear how Indiegogo will handle a situation like this should it arise, and a spokesperson did not clarify its policies. Indiegogo does, however, ban a limited set of campaigns in its terms of service, so it may always point to those in removing problematic fundraisers.