This is a follow up to my essay and in-depth look at the 3 major pledge managers that I have used. It’s been almost a year since that post and these services have changed quite a bit since then. More importantly, I overlooked some features that are essential now. So what’s changed since my post last year?
BREXIT and VAT Laws
This year started with BREXIT finally happening. This has had repercussions resulting in Kickstarter creators having to file for UK VAT numbers and is the start of a bunch of VAT loopholes being closed around importing/Kickstarting in the future. Basically, every Kickstarter creator needs to start thinking about how to collect VAT (EU changes go into effect in July). I’ve talked to several other Kickstarter creators and most of us agree that it makes the most sense to collect these fees during the pledge manager when we’re confirming addresses, countries, rewards, regions etc.
The problem is that as of the writing of this post, Gamefound DOES NOT have a feature to charge a percentage tax on a pledge (whether VAT or sales tax). In the future, many countries will require a receipt/invoice with the exact VAT amount charged broken out as a separate line item so this feature is a must moving into 2021.
When I contacted Gamefound about this, they told me that I could change shipping prices by region to accommodate VAT and it’s a feature they will consider adding in the future. I’ll do my best to post again if/when that feature ever crops up. Needless to say, with the lack of tax features, it’s harder to recommend Gamefound these days.
Crowdfunding on Gamefound Launched
For those of you that don’t know, Gamefound is owned by board game publisher Awaken Realms. They have been super successful on Kickstarter and built Gamefound to save money on their own pledge manager needs. Well they launched their crowdfunding service a few months ago with their own game, ISS Vanguard.
They’ve always been upfront with their intention to compete directly with Kickstarter. I was told this was coming when I started using them as a pledge manager, but as impressive has their launch was I can’t say I was thrilled with the way they messaged/spammed users of the platform with a $5 credit to back their game. Things are never truly free and that is the price that we all paid.
Their crowdfunding platform does have some cool features that Kickstarter doesn’t. I especially like the Stretch Goal functionality, but that is a topic for an entirely different post (or you can read this one from Jamey Stegmaier).
Backerkit bought Crowdox
I still haven’t used Backerkit because of their predatory pricing model (and some shady marketing/advertising practices) so while I respect their business sense, this is bad news for creators. Why? well for one, less competitions is always bad for consumers. While Crowdox remains operational, I’m pretty sure Backerkit will eventually sunset and kill off the Crowdox service or merge it into a singular Backerkit 2.0 offering. They practically said as much in their blog post announcing the purchase:
As we look toward the future, it is our number one priority to make sure we merge all the best parts of each platform to give every creator the best single experience possible. With the top two teams in pledge management putting their heads together, we’ll be able to combine all of our collective experience and make something amazing.https://www.backerkit.com/blog/backerkit-welcomes-crowd-ox-to-the-team/
If I had to choose a pledge manager for a project right now, I’d have to go with PledgeManager. They offer the fairest pricing and have the features to handle VAT and Sales Taxes. Their team is great and active in the board gaming community too. While Backerkit and Crowdox also have these tax features, they’re both more expensive. I guess if you’re a big shark with big shipping costs and/or a lot of late pledges, you might benefit from Backerkit’s 0% funds raised on their site plan, but hey I made a calculator for that.