6 Internet Fundraising Campaigns That Were Based on a Lie
In this brave new technological age that we live in, aspiring entrepreneurs have more tools than ever at their disposal to get the seed money necessary to get their ventures off of the ground. One of the most popular of those tools is crowdfunding, a service that is offered by websites like IndieGoGo, Kickstarter and others.
While most fundraising campaigns that find their ways onto these websites are above board, some are definitely not. Since these platforms have launched, more than a few scam artists have launched fake products and services, attempting to swindle thousands out of their hard-earned money. Here are 6 of the most notorious Internet fundraising campaigns ever, each one of which was built upon lies!
1. Kreyos Meteor
Eventually someone is going to crack the code of the “smart watch,” but that day has yet to come. One independent company called The Kreyos Team, “tried” to get ahead of the game when they unveiled their crowdsourcing campaign for a smart watch called the Kreyos Meteor.
The campaign made all sorts of promises about the smart watch’s functionality. Among those, it promised a waterproof casing, activity trackers, customizable controls, and a litany of other tech buzzwords sure to make gadget-heads everywhere salivate.
People were taken in, and the company managed to raise over $1.5 million for the project. When prototypes started rolling out to backers, though, it was clear that The Kreyos Team was not going to be able to deliver on their promises.
The company blamed another company that was responsible for their smart watch’s manufacturing. But does it really matter? To this day, a product that delivers on what was promised has yet to be released — all while the project’s leader, Steve Tan, posts pictures of himself with expensive cars and shopping bags for luxury brands on social media.
2. Kobe Red
This crowdfunding scam is textbook proof of why this old phrase is almost always right: If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.
A company called Magnus Fun, Inc., appeared on Kickstarter promising that it had developed a beer-flavored beef jerky made from prized Kobe beef. The product was called Kobe Red, and people were all too willing to part with their hard-earned money to get a taste.
In an incredibly short time frame, the product managed to raise about $120,000 from just over 3,000 backers. This piqued the interest of some Reddit users who dug into the company’s background. When they revealed that it was all a scam, the Kickstarter listing was promptly deleted and everyone was refunded.
Have you ever misplaced your keys somewhere in your home, only to embark on a fifteen-minute long expedition to find them? It’s a giant pain in the you-know-what, and it’s a pain that the product Wetag was supposed to solve.
According to the Kickstarter, Wetag was to be a battery-free Bluetooth device that could be attached to something like your keys. If you ever misplaced them, you could then connect with the Wetag over Bluetooth in order to find the item.
A simple solution to a common problem! Sounds like Kickstarter gold to us. That’s exactly what others thought too, as the company behind the product managed to raise over half-a-million dollars with its Internet fundraising campaign.
Here’s the thing. As more and more people backed the project, more and more people had questions about how such a product would work. As the questions piled up, the people behind the product went dark, making it apparent that the whole thing was a scam from the beginning. Kickstarter ultimately killed the campaign.