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Did I Make Indiegogo Change Business Structure (For the Worse)? Most Popular Becomes Popular Now.

by Tara Lee Reed on May 23, 2013

If you’ve been following my posts, you know I’ve been writing a lot about Indiegogo, starting with my story of getting completely screwed over by their false characterization of how the site works, and how campaigns become successful.

You can read about it in my blog post, “What You Should Know Before You Indiegogo: A Cautionary Tale of Crowdfunding.” I was hoping to to make IGG acknowledge the fact they go out of their way to avoid telling campaign owners the system is rigged against them. That it’s a casino, and The House always wins.

While it may seem arrogant, it looks like I struck a nerve. The site has just launched a new interface with new categories. Unfortunately, it’s gone from bad to worse. Most Popular became Popular Now. All Campaigns is out. All Categories ( merely a heading) is a list of categories at the side of the page. For every category, there are also filters as subcategory, each showing only the top 9 campaigns (not pages, but campaigns). No one can browse beyond that.

Note: The gogo+ 20% appears to be the requirement for Popular Now in each category, but Final Countdown and New This Week tabs have projects under 20%. So, it looks like they’re pure gogo-rankings. Unfortunately, that only matters for the top 9 campaigns, as there are still no browse pages. There are still campaigns twisting in the wind.

If you click “Browse Campaigns” from the homepage, it brings up 9 of the top campaigns from the site. In this instance, it appears to be ranked by pure gogofactor. The Free Press campaign is at 0% funding of a $660,000 goal, but its page views and shares are impressive, and $100,000+ raised is nothing to sneeze at (the campaign has been consistently on page one of All Campaigns under the old interface). Then you click a specific category, Popular Now takes over and you only see the top 9, with no browsing capability to go beyond that.

It’s a shame that the whole site and all categories couldn’t be ranked by good old, fair merit, as advertised, huh?

Most Popular is now "Popular Now." Most Popular is now “Popular Now.”

It doesn’t appear they’ve rolled this out everywhere. Some people have the new model like me, some are still seeing and operating the old one. Depending on how you look at it, or from what angle, there are campaigns at a real disadvantage right now because people with the new model are only seeing the top 9 campaigns, but on the old model, where the 20% doesn’t matter in some categories searches, and multiple pages can be browsed, some people are getting exposure based on actual merit.

From where I sit, this new structure makes success incredibly difficult. You have to hope someone is looking for your project or that you’re re in the top 9 (of thousands of) campaigns in any category (or under the tabs for Final Countdown, New This Week, Most Funded and Team Round Up). Otherwise, you won’t be seen by unique viewers. And you have no way to see where you rank compared to those other campaigns. People will still launch campaigns, still collect a nice little sum from their network and give IGG 9% of it, figuring that they will make it into the top 9 campaigns. (SEE UPDATE BELOW RE: BROWSING. M29)

There’s no posted information regarding this 20% minimum and how it’s applied to Popular Now or other categories/subcategories.  There’s been no updated “how it works” statement. They still claim it’s all about gogofactor, but it’s not.

My post from yesterday, “Indiegogo Doesn’t Care About PR: Site Ignores Technical Issues Impacting Gogofactor” talks about  ongoing malfunctions on all active campaigns, where social media shares are miscounted and/or rejected in various combinations over every platform and device.

Despite receiving multiple items of proof in the form of detailed reports and screenshots from third parties from me over that last week, IGG tells me they can’t “confirm it as an issue” until another user complains about it. (Read: If someone psychically figures out more people have shared their campaign than show in the page’s count.)

So, it looks like me and the most campaigns are in extra trouble now between newly limited exposure and the fact IGG still hasn’t fixed those social media buttons which means no one’s rankings are accurate. Most of us are left in obscurity. I was sitting consistently on Page 10 of Most Popular, but with Popular Now, I’ll only be seen by people actively looking for writing projects, or who do an advanced search for Toronto or Canada (the major city categories and “filter by” country buttons have been removed). Seems like one unfair practice gave way to another.

Observations:

-The old site is still available on some devices and platforms. So, depending on how you look at it, some campaigns are at a disadvantage to others who are still getting exposure, or who can still assess where they are in general stands and react based on that.

- Campaign owners haven’t been notified of these changes, or had it explained to them how they work and how it will affect active campaigns. (Unless I’m the only one who didn’t get the memo.)

- IGG may still be updating, but there is currently no way to browse beyond one page containing the “top 9″ campaigns of any category or subcategory.

- For the least successful/least browsed categories, we’re now banking on someone actively searching for niche projects. Unless we’re lucky enough to move ahead of thousands of active campaigns for placement in Popular Now, or the first seven days of our campaign to appear in New This Week, and the last 10 days of campaigning when we enter Final Countdown.

- This system rigs things in favour of the current top 9 campaigns in all categories/subcategories. The thousands of other campaigns are hidden, so the ones that are shown will benefit from more click through, more sharing, more funding, more comments, etc. There’s no way that other campaigns somewhere in the abyss can compete with that. Especially if they’re at the middle of their campaign where their network is worn out.

- An entire subcategory is wasted, as Most Funded includes dead campaigns as well as new,  but dead campaigns tend to have more funding than lives ones. Team Round Up is usually empty, but that’s fine by me as it’s absolutely human intervention and “curating” of campaigns, despite IGG’s claims they don’t do that.

- There is still no posted notification about the 20% rule and how it applies to rankings/categories.

- This Indiegogo blog about successful campaigns states “your network should fund 25-40%” of your goal.”  I’ve seen 30%, 32% and 35%, but 40% is a new one for me and I’ve scoured the site. The date the post was supposedly created is October 2011, and there’s no way to tell if it’s been recently edited, but I suspect it has.

Please check out my Indiegogo Campaign for my interactive romance comedy novel, Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda: A Novel Approach to Dating and share it with your social networks, especially on Facebook where the bulk of crowdfunding dollars originate from. (Who knows? It might even work!)

UPDATE (April 20, 2014): Indiegogo has redesigned its site for the second time in less than a year, also renaming the “Popular Now” category “Trending,” I’m guessing in attempt to escape my posts in Google searches.

(UPDATE: 9:33 p.m. May 29. I’ve noticed that browse functionality is now available for category searches. It appears this new interface is still only available for some users, but hopefully the evens out some of the disadvantage the last week created)

Thanks for reading,

Tara Reed

 

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

R. Reed May 23, 2013 at 9:00 am

I assume that if they go live with this new version that there will be more than one page per category. Otherwise, it would be even harder to get the attention of others outside your circles, and make it even more imperative to know how to make the gogofactor work for you. They really need to have a random page that picks campaigns to put up front of viewers in a way completely independent of their algorithm.

Reply

Wordsmith & Wesson May 24, 2013 at 3:42 am

I would hope so, but now that we’ve seen it is live on some devices/platforms and not others, there are certainly multiple ways some at a disadvantage while others are reaping benefits of either potentially incomplete programming, or an otherwise unfair business model.

Reply

Carolyn August 8, 2013 at 4:19 pm

“New this week” doesn’t just cover campaigns launched in the last 7 days… According to the tech support people it’s ranked purely by gogofactor…

My facebook button works a bit… But that’s it! All the rest read “0″ and I know they’ve been used. :(

I’ve had “0″ views since the start of my campaign. After several emails and screenshots they changed it to “Temporarily Unavailable” It’s stayed that way for 31 days so far…

Here’s my campaign if you want to take a look…
http://igg.me/p/434024/x/3525982

Reply

Wordsmith August 8, 2013 at 5:55 pm

Hi Carolyn,

This is absolutely shameful. I don’t know if Danae Ringelmann and her henchman at IGG think that people are just stupid, or if they’re so arrogant they just don’t think it will ever catch up to them.

Just to clarify, you reached out to them to tell them you were having issues with the social media counts, etc? And sent them screenshots? I’d be interested in what they said in response, as they told me they wouldn’t investigated it until another user complained. I’d appreciate it if you would forward me that information as I’m working on a larger story and talking to a couple of reporters about this ongoing issue and the fact that campaigners and contributors are all being screwed over by IGG’s disregard for them.

If you would be interested in being interviewed, please let me know. The more sources the better. We can connect via Twitter to exchange email addresses.

I also have screenshots of me trying to Tweet your campaign without raising the count. I’m happy to forward them to you.

Unfortunately, because I exposed their unethical practices and ongoing refusal to repair a programming issue that their entire model is based on, I received a notice from IGG that I was banned from further campaigns, further communication with staff, and from their recent event in Toronto for which I had already received tickets. They even went as far as to ask security to have me arrested when I waited outside of the venue and handed out truthful information about the 20% rule and the tech issues to people as they walked into the event. Of course, I wasn’t doing anything illegal, but they don’t want people to know the truth. Costs them money, and that’s what they’re all about!

Thanks again, and good luck!

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