Five possible reasons why your campaign fail to pass the review/get suspended

Five possible reasons why you didn't pass the Kickstarter review

Lucy Wong

October 31, 2022

Kickstarter has proven to be one of the best ways for creators to bring their projects to life, get their products seen by a great number of people, and begin pre-sales that can raise essential funds for product development and completion. For those teams running lean, it’s simply the best way to launch a product and brand. 

However, there are strict rules for what can and cannot be done using this powerful platform, and all projects need to be reviewed by Kickstarter. Only the projects that have successfully passed the Kickstarter review can be launched. 

Make sure you are aware of the campaign requirements and then review the rules specific to all campaigns. Below, we discuss the key rules of Kickstarter and give some tips on understanding and following them.

There must be some innovation in the project compared to the existing products.

This is the most common reason why projects are suspended. Kickstarter is designed around the idea of creators making something (a product, service, or experience) that they intend to share with backers. It is not a fundraising platform for investment or simply a marketing vehicle. Kickstarter expects campaigners to start, finish, and deliver their product to the people who backed their idea financially. Products must be original and designed by the campaigner and not plagiarized in any way. 

Projects must be honest and clearly presented.

Kickstarter is the best way for creators to communicate directly with potential users while their product development is underway. This opportunity comes with important responsibilities however and honesty and transparency are key concepts of crowdfunding. Creators are expected to clearly and accurately represent their product, the state of its development, and its level of performance every step of the way. It is ok if the product is not yet completed but backers must be kept informed as the product develops. Creators should at least have a working prototype and demonstrate it to their backers. Actual product photos should be shared and no misleading images, manipulated renderings or inaccurately edited models may be used. If the product requires software development to be completed, creators must be upfront about the schedule for this work.

Furthermore, creators cannot mislead potential backers regarding the amount of funding received or the number of current backers of the project. All of this is to say, always be honest about your project and about what backers can expect as the campaign moves along.

Projects cannot offer equity in exchange for investment.

Equity offers are a way that many new startups earn investments. Simply put, they trade an ownership share in the company or future profits for funds from an individual or organization. This can be a viable way for a new company to get off the ground but it is not allowed on the Kickstarter platform. As stated in the first rule, Kickstarter expects creators to provide a product in exchange for backer funds. Equity investment is not permitted on Kickstarter and therefore, creators can't offer incentives like equity, revenue sharing, or investment opportunities. If creators are interested in this kind of investment, they can seek out venture capital organizations and other private equity companies.

Let backers catch up with your progress.

Kickstarter does its best to ask creators to fulfill their promises. Whether it is before or after the project ends, the creator needs to update the progress frequently to give the backer sufficient confidence. If not, there will be a high risk of suspension.

If the creator plans to launch a second project, he or she must prove that the previous project was successfully shipped. Otherwise, the review of the new project will not be approved.

Campaigns can't involve projects that include prohibited items.

For both ethical and legal reasons, Kickstarter has a long list of prohibited items that include items that are illegal, governmentally regulated, or dangerous. The platform also cannot be used for delivering rewards that the creator didn’t produce. A complete list of Kickstarter-prohibited items can be found here and includes products that make medical claims, alcohol, financial services, pornographic material, drugs, weapons, and other illicit items. Certain services such as financial processing or political fundraising are also prohibited. 

For most creators and startups wishing to use the Kickstarter platform, these rules will be easy to follow and allow the campaigners to keep within the spirit and intent of the crowdfunding philosophy. Certain projects may have some complexities that require a more careful interpretation of the rules and in these cases, the administrators of the platform will make the final decision regarding the allowable campaigns. If your team has questions regarding the platform rules, it is smart to contact Kickstarter directly before building your campaign to ensure compliance and make for a smooth launch.