$500k iFind Kickstarter Campaign Suspended, Possibly a Scam

Mike Hoffman

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Sep 25, 2013
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$500k iFind Kickstarter Campaign Suspended, Possibly a Scam


The iFind Kickstarter campaign reached half a million dollars before being shut down. Was it too good to be true?

When the [a href="https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/yuansong84/ifind-the-worlds-first-battery-free-item-locating?ref=nav_search"]iFind Kickstarter campaign[/a] launched, it was an exciting idea. A battery-free tag that your phone could locate via Bluetooth within 200 feet. Unfortunately, it seems like the technology of iFind is still unattainable.

Starting in May with a goal of $25,000, it was obvious how many people were excited by the opportunity. The moderate goal was quickly reached and surpassed, and by the time the campaign was suspended it had reached nearly $550,000. Kickstarter has not issued an official statement as to why the campaign was suspended.

The technology behind iFind has been under question for since before the first stretch goal ($100,000) was reached. Hacker website Hackaday [a href="http://hackaday.com/2014/05/21/ask-hackaday-can-battery-free-bluetooth-item-locating-tags-exist/"]investigated[/a] the feasibility of the technology early on. The iFind campaign states that it uses RF signals to power the locator tags, but Hackaday found that the only possible hardware that could be used for such a thing is far too large for the small tags.

Kickstarter user Sarah also [a href="https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/yuansong84/ifind-the-worlds-first-battery-free-item-locating/comments?cursor=7108461#comment-7108460"]investigated[/a] the technology herself and has updated the comments section of the iFind campaign with information found by her and others. She points out inconsistencies throughout the campaign, including updates were not being given on the stated schedule, technical specifications being impossible, and even that the listed patent numbers of iFind technology do not yield results with the US Patent Office.

While nothing has been posted on the iFind campaign page other than the fact that the campaign has been suspended, backers did [a href="http://www.crowdfundinsider.com/2014/06/42844-kickstarter-suspends-ifind-campaign-following-fraud-accusations/"]receive an e-mail informing[/a] them they would not be charged for their pledges. The email also stated:
[blockquote]A review of the project uncovered evidence of one or more violations of Kickstarter's rules, which include:
[ul][li]A related party posing as an independent, supportive party in project comments or elsewhere[/li][li]Misrepresenting support by pledging to your own project[/li][li]Misrepresenting or failing to disclose relevant facts about the project or its creator[/li][li]Providing inaccurate or incomplete user information to Kickstarter or one of our partners[/li][/ul]
As a policy, we do not offer comment on project suspensions beyond what is stated in this message.[/blockquote]

The iFind campaign has been active for over a month, reaching nearly over 22 times its original goal. During nearly the entirety of the campaign, the comments section has been filled with questions about the validity of the technology, just as websites such as Hackaday have investigated the possibility of the hardware. Given how long it has taken Kickstarter to respond, how will this affect how well people trust in Kickstarter campaigns in the future? How likely is it that we will see copycat incidents?

We reached out to Kickstarter regarding the iFind campaign. While the individual suspension is not something the company will disclose information on, we were told that all suspensions are "permanent and not reversible".

Edited to include the response from Kickstarter.

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Zontar

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Feb 18, 2013
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It's kickstarter, we should always have "assumption of scam" as the default, that's what a good 90% of it is. Sure most of the scams never go anywhere, and most of those that do are noncumentaries which are usually called out on their agendas and blatant lies once they get released, but it's not as if a scam isn't the norm on the website. It's more common then legitimate products are.

This isn't even the first kickstarter to be sued, I don't see what's so special about this one in particular apart from having been taken down before it ended.
 

Pyrian

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Sigfodr said:
...all suspensions are "permanent and not reversible".
Then maybe they should use a word that does not inherently imply temporary? "Canceled", perhaps?
 

Eternal_Lament

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Pyrian said:
Sigfodr said:
...all suspensions are "permanent and not reversible".
Then maybe they should use a word that does not inherently imply temporary? "Canceled", perhaps?
I think canceled is already use d to identify projects that the creator themselves has ended. Besides, while cancelled can be ambiguous in terms of "who cancelled the project", suspended implies a decision from high up, which better suggests who was behind the project ending
 

Pyrian

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Suspension can totally be used to describe a voluntary action, though; just not a permanent one. Okay, maybe "canceled" isn't sufficiently onerous, how about "revoked"? "Removed"? "Repudiated"? Surely a few seconds with a thesaurus can improve on the status quo.
 

lvramire

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Pyrian said:
Suspension can totally be used to describe a voluntary action, though; just not a permanent one. Okay, maybe "canceled" isn't sufficiently onerous, how about "revoked"? "Removed"? "Repudiated"? Surely a few seconds with a thesaurus can improve on the status quo.
I like "Terminated" for this usage :p


I know scammers and people looking to game the system always have (and always will) exist but for some reason, I'm particularly disgusted by some of the scammers on crowd-funded projects. No idea why.
 

Rufus Shinra

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At least, Kickstarter acts better than Indiegogo, which actually let some guys scam thousands of people by pretending they could offer... a handheld, off-line, universal translator, without suspending it or reacting to reports.

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/sigmo-talk-and-understand-in-more-than-25-languages

Enjoy the comments where the backers are still believing they'll be delivered after the project is six months late (obviously, since the promised result requires an IA on the level of HAL9000).
 

CelestDaer

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I read that whole article, and I still have no clue what the iFind was supposed to be used for? Oh, good, your phone can find the tag... (sarcastices implied) But, one would presume you would want the tag for finding your phone... right? So, you need your phone to find the tag to find your phone? Or, maybe you want the tag to find your keys? There are far better buyable devices to help find your keys when they're lost... like the keyfob that you can have whistle at you...
 

heroicbob

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CelestDaer said:
I read that whole article, and I still have no clue what the iFind was supposed to be used for? Oh, good, your phone can find the tag... (sarcastices implied) But, one would presume you would want the tag for finding your phone... right? So, you need your phone to find the tag to find your phone? Or, maybe you want the tag to find your keys? There are far better buyable devices to help find your keys when they're lost... like the keyfob that you can have whistle at you...

I'm imagining that you would put this on luggage while traveling or something
 

Flunk

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Could just use RFID, only issue with that is that you'd need an RFID reader which is not hardware most phones come with. Bluetooth, yeah it's impossible.
 

Ragnar47183

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You know, I didn't think people could be so gullible. I will never in a million years understand the success of things like kickstarter or early access.

"Lets give these random people money for a product tat may or may not work like its supposed to so they dont have to do all that hassle of investment and risk that is usually involved with making a business and/or product!"

Well at least Kickstarter has some standards and doesn't charge you if they know its a scam.
 

gittonsxv

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Ragnar47183 said:
You know, I didn't think people could be so gullible. I will never in a million years understand the success of things like kickstarter or early access.

"Lets give these random people money for a product tat may or may not work like its supposed to so they dont have to do all that hassle of investment and risk that is usually involved with making a business and/or product!"

Well at least Kickstarter has some standards and doesn't charge you if they know its a scam.
considering all the good things that come from early access and places like kickstarter it is not hard to understand why people fund these things, minecraft was early access as well and look how huge that got.
 

Ragnar47183

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gittonsxv said:
Ragnar47183 said:
You know, I didn't think people could be so gullible. I will never in a million years understand the success of things like kickstarter or early access.

"Lets give these random people money for a product tat may or may not work like its supposed to so they dont have to do all that hassle of investment and risk that is usually involved with making a business and/or product!"

Well at least Kickstarter has some standards and doesn't charge you if they know its a scam.
considering all the good things that come from early access and places like kickstarter it is not hard to understand why people fund these things, minecraft was early access as well and look how huge that got.
Lmao. Minecraft was not Early Access. Early Access is on steam sir. If steam would enforce some policies and rules for the program I would be a lot more accepting of it.

How many people need to get scammed so you can have a few interesting games/products that you may have had anyway?
 

Lil_Rimmy

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Ragnar47183 said:
gittonsxv said:
Ragnar47183 said:
You know, I didn't think people could be so gullible. I will never in a million years understand the success of things like kickstarter or early access.

"Lets give these random people money for a product tat may or may not work like its supposed to so they dont have to do all that hassle of investment and risk that is usually involved with making a business and/or product!"

Well at least Kickstarter has some standards and doesn't charge you if they know its a scam.
considering all the good things that come from early access and places like kickstarter it is not hard to understand why people fund these things, minecraft was early access as well and look how huge that got.
Lmao. Minecraft was not Early Access. Early Access is on steam sir. If steam would enforce some policies and rules for the program I would be a lot more accepting of it.

How many people need to get scammed so you can have a few interesting games/products that you may have had anyway?
You do realise when people say early access they just generally refer to the idea of buying into an incomplete game so that they can help fund development and play it at it's current stage, right? And not just the specific program?

Minecraft was most defiantly an early buy in game, also know as early access.
 

Ragnar47183

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Lil_Rimmy said:
Ragnar47183 said:
gittonsxv said:
Ragnar47183 said:
You know, I didn't think people could be so gullible. I will never in a million years understand the success of things like kickstarter or early access.

"Lets give these random people money for a product tat may or may not work like its supposed to so they dont have to do all that hassle of investment and risk that is usually involved with making a business and/or product!"

Well at least Kickstarter has some standards and doesn't charge you if they know its a scam.
considering all the good things that come from early access and places like kickstarter it is not hard to understand why people fund these things, minecraft was early access as well and look how huge that got.
Lmao. Minecraft was not Early Access. Early Access is on steam sir. If steam would enforce some policies and rules for the program I would be a lot more accepting of it.

How many people need to get scammed so you can have a few interesting games/products that you may have had anyway?
You do realise when people say early access they just generally refer to the idea of buying into an incomplete game so that they can help fund development and play it at it's current stage, right? And not just the specific program?

Minecraft was most defiantly an early buy in game, also know as early access.
Its not my fault the use the wrong term. Early Access is the program on steam. Minecraft was not Early Access. It was a paid Alpha.

Also it doesnt matter if people call paid alphas/betas early access when they arent on the steam program because he was replying to MY post which was talking about it.
 

Ed130 The Vanguard

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Sep 10, 2008
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Ragnar47183 said:
Its not my fault the use the wrong term. Early Access is the program on steam. Minecraft was not Early Access. It was a paid Alpha.

Also it doesnt matter if people call paid alphas/betas early access when they arent on the steam program because he was replying to MY post which was talking about it.
Now that's just semantics.

Minecraft was early access before Early Access came into existence.
soulfire130 said:
Evil Smurf said:
I was backing that! I should be more careful in the future.
Dang. Tough break, Evil Smurf. How much did you sank into that?
The project was killed before the deadline so no backer was charged. However some sites like Indiegogo don't follow Kickstarter's example and charge as soon as you click OK so be warned.
 

alj

Master of Unlocking
Nov 20, 2009
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Its good news that they have taken something down that is clearly overoptimistic or not currently possible.

Shame indigogo did not do the same with that solar roadways scam, seriously they got 2 million dollars (not to mention 750,000 in addition to that from the department of transport) to make roads out of glass, just think about that for a moment , a road made out of glass. This is just so crazy i honestly was thinking that it was a joke, you can test this yourself , go get something made of hardened glass such as a coffee jug, now go rub it on some tarmac (asphalt) and see what happens. Someone should also tell them that you cannot make clear glass out of recycled colored glass as you see them doing in the film.