9-Year-Old’s $20,000 Kickstarter Campaign Draws Scam Accusations

Via Huffington Post, Author: Katherine Bindley

Susan Wilson describes launching a Kickstarter campaign to raise $829 with her 9-year-old daughter Mackenzie as akin to a weekend crafts project.From the Huffington Post

The girl’s teenage brothers were making fun of Mackenzie’s goal of creating her own video game at a STEM camp and doubting her abilities, Wilson says. Mom and daughter sought to teach them a lesson by raising money for the camp on the popular crowdfunding site.

But a few days, more than $20,000 raised on the site, accusations of a scam and several death threats later, things have turned out quite differently.

“Did I expect this? No. This was an $800 campaign that started to resonate,” Wilson told The Huffington Post. “There was no grand plan. There was no grand scheme.”

With its timely message about empowering young girls to participate in the long male-dominated STEM fields of science, technology, engineering and math, Mackenzie’s video quickly gained momentum with Kickstarter backers: the $20,000 was raised within four days.

The media liked the feel-good story too, with Mashable, CNET and multiple other news outlets featuring the girl’s campaign.

But things went awry for Wilson when a member of Reddit learned that not only had she gone to Harvard Business School, she had also previously been named one of Fortune magazine’s most powerful women entrepreneurs.

As the Daily Dot reported, the user Bro-jangles posted a damning infographic on Wilson, noting that she’d co-founded a company that was acquired by Kinko’s for $100 million. The graphic also accused Wilson of being a cybersquatter and listed the ways in which she had allegedly violated Kickstarter’s terms.

Wilson’s promotional tactics of tweeting at celebrities like Lady Gaga and Ellen Degeneres about the project didn’t go over well either — Kickstarter bars spamming people through Twitter — and some users started to feel they’d been had.

The situation has since raised complicated questions about the nature of crowdfunding and just who it is meant to benefit. Mackenzie’s campaign page itself has been flooded with negative comments and heated back-and-forth’s about the merits of her project, or lack there of.

Continue reading the whole article at the Huffington Post