I think it's great and it gives the little guy a good way to get their foot in the door without the need for a loan or that micro-managed investor. However,....
1. I believe most of the those funded will shortly fade away after funding. It takes a lot to stay on the cutting edge in this high tech world.
2. Personally I think crowd sourcing should be for the individuals and very small business out there that can not fund the project on their own. I don't like it when I see well established corporations asking for crowd source when that company can easily foot the development bill. At that point all they are doing is asking for a non-obligated pre-order. If it's a business listing, then they should be obligated to deliver. I think it's a bit too easy for this to be taken advantage of.
3. Althoug I feel it will become harder to gain funding, crowd sourcing here to stay.
I like the idea, but so far I have not participated in either looking for money or sending support.
I did do an advanced purchase of the MyCNC kit as they had already met thier funding goal.
This approach is a good way for people who have an idea and want to find out its appeal to the community. After all, if you cannot get funding from peers, then your idea may not be as good as you initially thought.
So I hope this approach continues to work out for new ideas. Who knows, I may have an idea worthy of trying to build someday.
I have had good luck with crowdfunding for basic research and equipment acquisition for the STEMulate Learning workshops and for schools participating in the SOLID Learning effort integrating 3D printed materials into classroom curricula. Funding via crowdfunding sites tends to be short-term, one-time backing and the choice of sites affects how your funding can progress. Many sites like Kickstarter only pay you if you reach your goal, otherwise the money goes back to the donors. Others, like RocketHub, will pay you whatever you earn - but their fees are 12% of the total if you fail to reach your goal (or 8% if you reach it). I've been taking part in scientific crowdfunding as part of the #SciFund Challenge since its beginning and have been able to fund HPC compute nodes, a 3D printer, and open-water tests for a underwater solar alternative energy source so far. The next round's projects expand on neurocomputing and 3D scanning work we have done in smaller scale previously. It's a nice way to bring others to your efforts and raise awareness even if the funding itself is unsuccessful.
Greetings Open Source Hardware Members!
Recently I found an article on Embedded.com around a trend of using crowd funding sites (Indigogo, Kickstarter) to help pay for new product development and curious to hear your thoughts. Have you tried it? Have you funded someone's project? Do think the trend will take off or fade away?