Crowd Funding Fraud Leaderboard
It's a scientific fact that every human activity can be improved with some good 'ol gamification - including stealing money from idiots.

For this leaderboard we're looking at bad faith crowd funding campaigns - where the proposed product is technologically or physically impossible or where the creator of the campaign clearly had no intention of ever delivering.

Standard levels of business incompetence, delusional artistry, or combinations of the two don't qualify.


$7,386
Sleeve
Protect your wires from damage

Ok this isn't fraud, the product exists and as far as I know it was delivered to backers. But it is literally just heat shrink tubing. Do people... not know this exists? Apparently all it takes to sell $0.03 of material for $3 is stupid web 2.0 name.

I hope this kid got an A+ in his marketing class for this.
$10,314
iZeee Touch Charger
Charge your phone by touch - a bold claim indeed.

It's unclear what mechanism they claim to be harvesting energy from, but it doesn't really matter. Unless you can cook an egg on your open palm, you're not generating enough energy to charge a cell phone.

$47,409
Portal by Arubixs
Flexible Wearable Smartphone

I'm sure this dude is going to cook up a flexible smartphone in his basement and beat out every global mega manufacturer for $50k. Oh wait he didn't quite make the 50k goal? Well good thing the funding was flexible too, so he still gets to keep the money.
$49,533
iBreathe
Fresh air anytime, anywhere

Magical air filter. It's highly efficient agains[sic] air transmitted disies[sic].

Bonus points for trypophobia.
$70,111
Breathe
World's smallest wearable air purifier

Magic metal box that purifies air using... ions! Ionic air filters exist, but I've got my doubts about one the size of a roll of quarters. The best part is the video where the scammers are dubbed over so you can't hear their hilarious eastern european cartoon criminal accents.

According to reddit these are the same people behind "Airing" and "iBreathe"
$115,810
COOL FAT BURNER
The world's ONLY PROVEN calorie burning cooling vest

Refridgerate yourself to burn calories. I actually proposed this as joke many years ago. I didn't realize I could have made a hundred grand selling icepack shirts.

The thing is, it doesn't take that many calories to heat up a cold pack. You're keeping 100+ pounds of water simering at body temperature all day, adding 1% to that mass isn't going to do much. One food calorie, or kilocalorie, is the amount of energy it takes to heat up a kilogram of water by one degree celsius. So if you drank a liter of 0°C degree water (brutally cold), you would expend 37 calories heating it up to body temperature.
$138,031
Anywhere Fridge
Portable, Solar Fridge-Freezer!

A folding solar powered fridge. Because when I think "how do I keep something cool?" I immediately think "put it in direct sunlight".

As a bonus, the prototype is clearly made of painted plywood.
$176,127
ChargeTech
Charge your phone Twice as Fast

I'm hesitant to include every single alibaba asset flip on this list, but even at the time of this campaign, the exact same 2.4 amp charger with different branding was available on Amazon. They just rebranded it to sell it to suckers.
$309,323
Ampy
Motion activated battery bank

They actually made and delivered this thing but it's so fucking stupid that I'm including it.

Why would you carry around a motion activated battery charger that's twice as big as a battery pack. I mean unless you're planning on travelling back in time - then it's probably super useful.

Linus Tech Tips Review
$337,404
WaterSeer
Condense water out of desert air using the ground as a heatsink. Listen, the laws of thermodynamics can easily be rewritten if you just believe. And pay.

Note that the indiegogo url is "waterseer-water-women", adding a dash of feminist spice to the word salad.

Thunderfoot Debunk Part 2
EEVBlog Debunk
$345,576
Fontus
The Self Filling Water Bottles

More moisture farming nonsense, this time powered by a solar panel the size of a postcard. They actually have a product version of this now and it basically looks like a dehumidifier strapped onto a water pitcher and you have to plug it into the wall to get anything out of it.

Thunderfoot Debunk
$395,149
Batteriser
Extend Battery Life By Up to 8x

It's a boost converter. They're already in every piece of electronics that could benefit from them.

EEVBlog Debunking
$507,810
The Skarp Laser Razor
21st Century Shaving

The other day I was shaving and thought to myself, "you know what, this would be a lot better if it stank of burning hair and there was a non-trivial risk of blinding myself. Isn't there some way I can pay 100x as much to get that experience?" Well it turns out you can spend that much - and there's no risk of blindness because it's not real and it never will be.

Their campaign was over $4,000,000 on kickstarter before their account got suspended and they fell back to indiegogo - which apparently has no standards at all.
$641,000
Cicret Bracelet
Like a tablet, but on your skin.

An implausibly small phone bracelet that projects light and dark onto your wrist. I've linked to their 'concept video' (not originally labeled as such) because their website forces https and has an expired security certificate.

There's nothing I could say about this that wasn't said in a much more entertaining fashion in the Captain Disillusion Debunk Video.
$726,397
The Dragonfly Futurefön
One Device to Unite Them All™

An oragami folding dual screen, dual os, laptop/phone with a slide out touchpad and bluetooth headset.

Why carry around 3 different gadgets when you can have all of them attached together by complex hinges and plugs. Also it's super light weight because it doesn't have any electronics or batteries inside it - you just add the display later in After Effects.
$880,998
Ring by Logbar
Shortcut Everything

This product was actually made and delivered to backers but it's so stupid that I have to include it.

Here's a video review that I think is summed up entirely in the title:
Worst Product Ever Made: Ring by Logbar
$1,080,585
Healbe GoBe
The Only Way to Automatically Measure Calorie Intake

It is not possible to tell what you're eating by looking at your skin.

If you invented a device that could measure blood sugar accurately through the skin you could make a billion dollars overnight by selling it as a diabetes testing device. You would not need to resort to crowd funding.
$1,401,510
Ritot
The first projection watch

Those "projections" look a lot like mspaint text on top of stock photos.
$1,502,533
Kreyos
The ONLY Smartwatch With Voice & Gesture Control

Reasonable seeming consumer garbage, but the founder just took the money and bought a Ferrari.

No product was ever delivered.
$1,576,396
NEO
Neural Efficiency Optimizer - Neurophone

Ultrasonically beam knowledge into your brain while you sleep.
Or something. Crystals may be involved.

What's amazing about this is the purity of the woo. It's not overpromising techno-trash like most of the things on the leaderboard, it's absolute pixie dust.
$1,924,233
Airing
The first hoseless, maskless, micro-CPAP

Inside that tiny nose plug is micro air blower with enough power to duplicate the effects of a traditional CPAP machine along with a battery with enough charge to power it all night.

No. No there isn't. At least, you better hope their isn't, otherwise you're sticking a plutonium powered 100,000 rpm turbine up your nose.
$2,282,218
Solar Roadways
Solar panels that you can drive, park and walk on. They melt snow & cut greenhouse gases by 75% ?!!!

So you take your solar panels, you put them flat on the ground instead of angled towards the sun, then you cover them with inch think glass so less light gets to them, then you make the glass textured and wavy so even less light gets through, then you drive trucks over them. Brilliant. Next let's make a cellphone that doubles as a cutting board, or maybe as a shoe.

But hey, at least you didn't fall for it right? Wrong! The government fell for it for you. $2.2 mil doesn't begin to cover the damages. Your tax dollars are paying for this now. They have deployed a shoddily built walkway in Missouri funded by state and federal money. Millions of your dollars have been wasted on this boondoggle.

EEVBlog Debunk 1 (Initial kickstarter)
EEVBlog Debunk 2 (Route 66 Plans)
EEVBlog Debunk 3 (Walkway)

Thunderfoot made a dozen videos about this too. This shit never ends. You can't throw a rock without hitting (and then breaking) a solar roadway project or an engineer desperately trying to get the world to understand how solar panels work and why it's not a good idea to park a fucking car on them.

Everyone involved in this project should be in a cage.

At least one piece of valuable data was gleaned from this ordeal, and that is that Nathan Fillion is just as dumb as he looks. (skip to ~1:15)
$2,401,633
Muzo
Your Personal Zone Creator with Noise Blocking Tech.

A noise cancelling device that attaches to a window pane. Noise cancelling exists, but not really for open areas. And there are reasons to not use a pane of glass as a speaker.

The cone of silence mode, which claims to limit the distance your voice can travel, is not consistent with my understanding of the physical world.


Dishonorable Mentions
A critical part of a crowd funding is making a clean getaway. Here's a few that didn't quite make it. At least I think they didn't - it might be possible to delete your campaign just to cover your tracks and still keep the money.
$17,000+
Bioo
Charge your Phone with the Power of a Plant

Plug your cellular phone into a plant to charge it. Yes, really.

It turns out that despite appearances, indiegogo does actually have some standards and chloromancy is where they draw the line.
$302,836
PGS
Portable Console for PC games

They have the same weird dubbing that the air purifier guys have, pretty big red flag right there - and that's before you get into the "we're going to make our own hardware at commodity prices even though we've never made anything before" territory.
$477,462
Bomber Survival Bracelet
Finding a cheap chinese item on alibaba and reselling it on a crowd funding site is a tried and true formula - but apparently this one was just too egregious for kickstarter and they canceled the campaign.

They ended up moving to indiegogo and got $140k.
$546,852
iFind
The World's First Battery-Free Item Locating Tag

A long range blue tooth location tag that's powered entirely by harvesting stray radio waves. At some point in the campaign, at least one person at kickstarter learned about the inverse square law and shut it down.
$1,000,000+
Triton
World's First Artificial Gills Re-breather

At first this device was going to let you breath underwater by filtering oxygen from the water and pressurizing it directly into your mouth with a micro compressor and a supernaturally power-dense battery. When it was shown that most of those steps were impossible, including there just not being enough oxygen in the water to support a human, they cancelled the campaign and restarted it - this time claiming to use "liquid oxygen" cylinders.

Everyone who bought into the original campaign apparently got a refund.
$10,000,000+
uBeam
Ultrasonic wireless charging

This isn't a crowd funding scam - it's good old fashion venture capital milking - but it shares so many characteristics that I had to include it. We've got:
  • Cell phone charging
  • Dangerous power densities
  • Unrealistic miniturization requirements
  • Stupid lower-case-first-character brand name
Is it really that hard to just plug in your cell phone? Or maybe just get a battery case for it? Or maybe use it a little less?

Here's an idea, remember how cordless phones had little charging contacts at the bottom so you could just put them on the stand to charge? What if we did that instead of beaming kilowatts of power into the air - you just put your phone on a little stand. Would that be so bad?

Debunk


Conclusion
So what have we learned? Well, the most important skill you can have here is cooking up fake images. Fire up those stock image accounts, photoshop, mspaint, blender, whatever - just make some pretty pictures. If you really want to go for the gold, make a paper mache model and composite a screen image onto it. You don't even have to do a good job - after all, the people whose wallets you're targeting don't know anything about technology. They live in a world of magic, and you're there to sell it to them.

Solar. Fuckin. Power. People love it. If you can some how cram a solar panel onto your fictional device, you've doubled the value. It doesn't even have to be real. Maybe put one on the bottom - or on the inside where it won't get in the way. We all want to do our part to save the environment...

... Unless it involves not using your cell phone. The modern human can't put their cell phone down for even a second and they're willing to waste huge amounts of energy saturating the entire airspace of their home with radio waves, ultra sound, magnetic fields, or whatever it takes to keep that phone running without ever having to plug it in.

Lastly, don't work too hard coming up with a new scam because the old scams just keep working over and over again. PT Barnum said there's a sucker born every minute, but the modern birth rate of 131.4 million per year works out to 250 per minute!

Happy hunting!


Comments
guy2017-10-08 12:18:01
the uBeam image link points to the Triton indiegogo site
Badspot2017-10-08 16:29:22
Hmm, I guess I'll make it link to their website even though it's terrible.
Red Spy2017-10-09 13:26:47
I love you
2017-10-09 13:31:47
It looks like the owners of Bioo turned their page into a draft so no one could see it anymore.
Lord2017-10-09 13:40:46
It doesn't just stop here.

There is tons of gaming kickstarters that are fraudulent too.
notbomberguy2017-10-09 18:39:55
0/10 lack of blockland from the leaderboard
lego lad2017-10-09 19:52:18
how did anyone believe the bioo thing? you dont even have to know anything about tech to know its fake, its so obvious
Gothboy2017-10-10 04:17:40
All this time I've spent working hard in a factory could've been spent shitting out some half believable idea and asking for donations. Damn.
Bloo Kirby2017-10-10 05:34:45
what about the Cicret Bracelet?
Badspot2017-10-10 19:35:22
>Cicret Bracelet?

Oh yeah, that was a good one. I've added it.
Flamecannon2017-10-12 10:40:17
You had a quick typo for the Portal by Arubixs - "Well good thing 'it' the funding was flexible too, so he still gets to keep the money."

How about the Juicero?
Badspot2017-10-12 13:29:12
>typo

Fixed.

>How about the Juicero?

That wasn't crowd funded though... but wtf I just googled and there's an identical scam JUISIR that got $570k on kickstarter. And apparently there was a direct pre-order magic credit card thing called "plastic" that got a cool 9mil. The ride never ends!
Badspot2017-10-12 13:53:37
Hmm, the juisir doesn't have the drm fruit bags and it hasn't reached the delivery date yet, so we'll just keep an eye on it for now.
Flamecannon2017-10-13 09:42:14
Jesus, the designs look nearly identical, the JUISIR is just rounder
Wyatt2017-10-14 22:11:40
Badspot the blockland community is dying. Could you make a new blockland game. It could be successful if you like do the orig lego design but very modern and nice looking. And fix the building system to be more modern. A Blockland 2 or or a sequel would be awesome and I would totally buy it. Or you could do a free to play and do dlc in the fourm of maps, and personal character customization.
2017-10-15 17:45:01
Badspot could you?
2017-10-15 17:52:48
@badspot
2017-10-16 13:23:18
badspot please make a entirely new blockland game that presumably would have a little amount of new features and thus doesn't serve a purpose and will take a lot of time and energy that will not pay off due to the blockland being relatively obscure. i love splitting up the community between two different versions of games making both die faster. when you make blockland 2 i'll pull a problem user and keep hounding you for more and more features despite you already adding new features. i really want those stepping stone in water physics that heedicalking suggested a few years ago because that sounds contrived enough to satisfy my tastes. make sure to add maps, because i really liked skiing down slopes that one time that i can't even remember when i was 10 and i love being lazy and using ugly piece of shit terrain to spice up my otherwise completely horrible and bland build style. like wyatt said be sure to add a modern building system whatever the fuck that is in addition to a character customizer because i don't think blockland has one right now. have a good day badspot good luck on blockland 2: hats!
2017-10-16 13:27:40
if you're reading this check out that captain disillusion channel that badspot linked in the cicret bracelet section. he's a visual effects artist that explains how different faked memes work and he manages it to make it entertaining. its truly some of the best shit on youtube
Badspot2017-11-08 20:06:44
Muzo has actually been delivered to backers.

ElectroBOOM review: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MCW5HUkrr-o
2017-11-11 13:18:34
You forgot to include Blockland there .

Idiot
limerick2017-12-13 20:38:51
how the fuck would anyone fall for the cicret bracelet one? im not that well-versed in technology and i could see myself falling for some of this shit but that shits just impossible.


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