If you thought GoFundMe is the only crowdfunding destination on the internet rife with anger and frustration, boy are you wrong.
The Coolest Cooler claimed to be a “portable party disguised as a cooler,” and would-be drunken river rats everywhere rejoiced at the concept of a cooler slash blender slash speaker slash charger, eventually handing the visionaries behind it over $13 million. Though it broke Kickstarter records, some folks are concerned that the project is a giant flop.
Jilted backers have even come together to rant in a private Facebook group.
The main issue is that the project — like many well-intentioned Kickstarter projects, none of which are “guaranteed” to materialize even with the best planning — has been hit with delay after delay, according to inventor Ryan Grepper.
Coolest was hailed as the King of Kickstarter, a poster child for the idea that any product can materialize as long as enough people think it’s cool. But the nature of investing isn’t as concrete as people want it to be, and throwing money at an idea doesn’t automatically make it show up on your doorstep a few months later.
Almost two years after Coolest launched on Kickstarter, only one third of backers have received their coolers, leaving about 36,000 people without the product they were promised.
Backers have been asked to pony up another $97 to get the Coolest they paid for. Otherwise, they are welcome to purchase one directly from Amazon for just a penny shy of $400. As you can imagine, this bait-and-switch has upset a few people. So much so that they’re taking their rage off the internet and into the real world.
“I know the internet is an ugly place but Kickstarter is usually somewhere people spend discretionary income,” said [company marketing director Susan Towers]. “I got doxxed by a backer and my phone has been blowing up. I do think some of the reaction is beyond the pale. We’ve been physically threatened and abused and yesterday some backer threatened Ryan’s family.”
“We had a guy show up at the office, Ryan had someone show up at the door a few months ago,” Towers added. “I think it’s out of all proportion to physically threaten someone. I’m not denying it’s a substantial amount of money for some people, but come on, this is crazy.”
Yes, yes it is out of proportion to physically threaten someone. Knock that shit off.
Meanwhile, some backers are sticking to Kickstarter comments.
As it stands, there’s still a window of opportunity for Grepper and Co to make this right. Based on Amazon reviews from those who have actually received the product, however, even delivering coolers as promised might not make it right after all.