So there has been some recent issues in the Kickstarter/pre-order space that has caused us to adjust our policies going forward.
The first issue was our 'RetroVice' pre-order which we ran on our own site. We ran this as a small 100 participant preorder at a 40% discount from retail price to help us hit a larger production run on the 'RetroVice' set. We clearly labeled the images we used as renders of a design we would be making and we thought that people were clear that a render may have significant differences from the finished product.
This was something that was obvious to us as people who do dice manufacturing but we didn't make it nearly clear enough to potential participants and a number of people were surprised and upset that the finished product differed from the render. Part of the problem is the way the colors interact on the dice a dark pink next to a light blue makes the blue look darker then was intended. Fortunately we followed the #1 rule of Kickstarters/pre-orders and kept it small (In this case positively tiny only 100 sets) so working with the impacted customers to make sure they are happy isn't problematic. We're also fortunate that the dice are pretty awesome despite not looking exactly like the render and are doing very well with people who are receiving them via our subscription. They have the best mold quality we've ever seen from mass produced dice so we are actually really happy with them despite the issues.
At almost the exact same time we were getting complaints on social media news broke that the person behind the GOAT liquid dice Kickstarter was facing some serious accusations of fraud in their personal life. As it happens we had warned people away from the GOAT dice kickstarter on it's first day because frankly the numbers just didn't make sense from a business perspective. In a blog post at the time I gave the benefit of the doubt and assumed that the person was just inexperienced but I can assure you I didn't put up a blog post warning people away from supporting someone without real concerns. Fortunately kickstarter stepped in and cancelled the GOAT kickstarter before it funded so no real harm was done.
Both of these issues happening at pretty much the exact same time have caused us to re-evaluate our policies on kickstarters and pre-orders in general.
1. We won't be running any pre-orders or kickstarters going forward. Frankly we are big enough now that we don't need to and the risk of upset or disappointed customers just isn't worth it. We're going to go a step further and put a ban on posting any sample pre-production photos either. There are other additional reasons for the ban on pre-production photos as well that I might address another time.
2. We will no longer be supporting any kickstarter efforts by anyone. In the past we would mail out advertisements for different kickstarters along with every order we fill and we would frequently retweet kickstarter links. We did this for free as a way to help people market their products. With recent events we realize there is a risk here if a kickstarter is unable to fulfill due to legitimate or less legitimate reasons. Since we have a much larger following then when we started we need to be a more careful with what we say and support.
3. We will not be commenting on anyone else's kickstarter efforts. We really struggled with the idea of commenting on the GOAT dice kickstarter and just because it turned out to be right doesn't mean we should have done it. The last thing I'd want to do is damage someones efforts. It just isn't our place to do that but my call to Kickstarter to step up at the end of the GOAT dice blog post still stands. They have a role in fixing an obvious problem.
4. Not actually a kickstarter/pre-order chancge but related - Numbered certificates on exclusive sets - We started adding in a hand numbered certificate of authenticity (actually a sticker) with our very first exclusive set. With the most recent set some people were concerned that they got low but not very low numbers despite being very early pre-order funders. This issue stems from the fact that we have a lot of subscriptions that go in the first few days of the month so we went through numbers faster then you would expect and we were filling pre-orders right along with subscribers. We don't have a way to insure that subscribers get the exact number they should. We did insure our first subscriber got #1/1000 for our very first exclusive set but we can't do it everytime. We also don't want to have everyone signing up to get their dice on the first day of the month as having the orders spread out is way better for us. So going forward we are going to randomize the numbers and the number you get will have no relation to when your order ships. This is the only fair and practical way to handle it that we can think of but we are open to suggestions.
That's it for the policy changes. Thanks for reading if you have any questions as always feel free to reach out at GM@LibrisArcana.com