The decay of good products

by Dirk Knemeyer

Remember when Spam was just meat in a can? I'm not quite sure when "spam" became a daily and often painful reality of my life - sometime after 1994 but before 2000 - but if it wasn't for spam filters I suspect email as an online tool would already be obsolete. If you create something good, that people pay attention to, and can make money, it is inevitable that the parasites, crooks and "capitalists" will soon follow to piss in the once-pristine pool.

One of the best new software ideas of the past few years is Kickstarter. The pioneering crowd funding platform may not have been first with the idea, but they certainly were the first (and to this point, only) such product to break thru into the mainstream consciousness, boasting mindshare among various other software titans. As a consumer I love Kickstarter because it puts me closer to creators, and lets me help fund interesting creative products without greasing an otherwise-pointless middleman. As a creator I love Kickstarter because it puts me closer to customers and allows me to be more richly compensated for my creations.

But alas, the unsightly stream of urine is beginning to show in this particular pool.

For those who are not Kickstarter creators, Kickstarter has a closed messaging system. You can only message to people with whom you have a creator-customer relationship (or vice-versa). In theory this should prevent unwanted communications, and certainly of the anonymous/spammy kind. So it was that I took a deep breath and crinkled my face upon receiving this from a past customer of my product; I've (redacted) any personally identifying information for them:

Dear Dear Sir / Madam!

My name is (redacted), I develop a new web based online game called (redacted) (http://(redacted).net).

(redacted) is a virtual world that puts players into the role of an up-and-coming criminal with missions ranging all over the seedy underbelly of society. Players can choose to take a more physical route by getting into bloody gang fights, or use a more cerebral approach by closing deals. The release of the game is currently being advertised on major game website.

Our ‘Pro Level’ team of web developers are searching for competitive partners willing to take part in the development of our project. The project is currently in the development stage, therefore should you be interested, in return for your investment we offer the following opportunities:

1) A share of game’s profit
2) Your brand name appearing on game’s items
2) Your brand name will appear in all game’s published material

Please support our project on

Should you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us by email or follow the development of the game on Twitter @(redacted)

Looking forward to hearing from you.
Kind Regards,

There's a lot of things not to like about this note: the "blast" nature of it (despite it being only and singly sent to my personal Kickstarter account, which can't be spammed); mis-spellings (including the comical "Dear Dear" to kick things off); the whiff of desperation radiating from the whole thing; the fact that it is pointing to a campaign at a Kickstarter competitor. It is just unseemly.

This is not the first such note I've gotten on Kickstarter, albeit the one I found the most distasteful. And it certainly will not be the last. Even knowing that this is an inevitable byproduct of something becoming popular and profitable, I cannot help but to bemoan seeing the decay of this latest good product in my life.

Topics: kickstarter, Ideas, email, Analysis, Blog, software, spam