Indie Comic creator Vinnie Tartamella took to social media last night to warn customers that someone has launched a counterfeit campaign on Kickstarter that cloned his Indiegogo campaign for his new comic project - Shadow of the Kraken.
The phony Kickstarter campaign was apparently launched by someone named Sergei whose location is tagged as being from Almaty, Kazakhstan. The real campaign for Shadow of the Kraken is only on Indiegogo.
Kickstarter was contacted about the fake campaign and has said they would investigate it, but it would take a few days. Why it would take more than ten seconds to realize that this campaign is in fact a phony is a mystery.
This is not the first time something like this has happenned. When Ethan Van Sciver launched his Indiegogo campaign for CyberFrog: Bloodhoney, a fake Cyberfrog campaign popped up on Kickstarter then as well. The phony CyberFrog took a few days to be removed then as well.
Why would someone launch a demonstrably cloned campaign on Kickstarter? There could be several explanations. One is that, the perpetrator sees a successful creator launch a campaign on Indiegogo and simply want to try and swipe some money from hopeful backers. Another is that it could be a phishing scheme to collect email addresses from people duped by the phony campaign.
One other, even more sinister motive in my view is that it could be someone who simply wants to hurt the creator's reputation and therefore damage their long term business.
As of this writing, the fake Kickstarter has four backers. That may not seem like a big deal, but those people who thought they were going to get a cool comic are going to feel ripped off and possibly never back another crowdfunding campaign again.
Also, one has to wonder if when the Kickstarter is taken down and those four backers are told that the campaign is closed, will they be told the reason why? Will they have the chance to go over to Indiegogo and back the real campaign? Or, will they have no idea what happened and simply walk away from crowdfunded comics completely?
Vinnie took to his YouTube channel to address the situation today. You can watch the stream below:
This is a serious problem, that Kickstarter must address if they want to be taken seriously in the future. Counterfeit campaigns will only serve to hurt all crowdfunding efforts in the future.