pitchIN, the Kickstarter for Malaysia

  • pitchIN, the Malaysian version of Kickstarter,  is a great idea
  • The current iteration needs a lot of work, however

pitchIN, the Kickstarter for MalaysiaI’M a huge Kickstarter fan. I enjoy backing creative projects and seeing the outcome. I prefer outliers, not surefire success stories like the recent Kickstarter by Seth Godin (25 days more to go at the time of writing this, US$221,259 reached, out of a US$40,000 goal).

The problem with Kickstarter? It only allows projects from the United States. The world is bigger than the US and there are projects elsewhere that can benefit from this crowd-funding phenomenon.

How does Kickstarter work? You pledge a certain amount to a project. You hit the Amazon Payments gateway. It confirms you may make a transaction at a certain date. Then you can follow the project updates, etc., before the pledge date closes. If pledging is reached, when the closing date arrives, your credit card gets charged. Otherwise, you can forget that you even made a pledge (read more)!

Read more about why only Amazon Payments as well. This becomes important for pitchIN later.

I read about pitchIN on June 12. I believe that I was so excited I hopped on over to the project to take a look at it. I browsed every available pitch. Then I decided to plonk down some change on one project.

pitchIN uses PayPal so the pre-authorization happens on your credit card almost immediately. With Malaysian banks now telling you every time there’s a transaction, you get an SMS telling you about this “charge”. You’ll only know it’s not a charge when you visit PayPal and notice this is just an authorization, nothing more.

I’m glad the pitchIN team contacted me within 24 hours to tell me about this via a Facebook message as well, but it isn’t the best “first experience.”

A few suggestions:

  1. Forget this USD thing. I’m sure you want international pledges, but USD for Malaysians is just prohibitive. People think in MYR and the USD exchange rate fluctuates on a daily basis. Questions abound -- like do I get the pre-authorization USD$100 rate on June 12 versus July 11, which is closing date? Who makes the difference in currency exchange? Will I get the pre-authorization amount returned to me if the pledge doesn’t make it based on a different currency exchange rate? I have no idea, and I’m willing to bet Team pitchIN doesn’t either.
  2. The interface needs to work. It is currently very raw. Lots of “sorry matcha” error messages.
  3. Pitch videos need improving.
  4. A PayPal email address like [email protected] (which really is WatchTower & Friends, the company name) doesn’t inspire great confidence.
  5. Fix the SMS from the bank. PayPal might have a better way to do pre-authorization. Or banks shouldn’t send SMSes during pre-authorization. It turns customers away (first pitch shouldn’t be an issue, what about the next?). I hate to imagine this being a regular customer service question.
  6. Got to iterate faster. It’s 10 days since I last visited the site. Nothing has changed.
  7. If you’re starting a project, remember that pitchIN charges a 5% fee in addition to PayPal’s 3.5% processing fee. This is exactly like Kickstarter, but worth keeping in mind.
  8. PayPal notices about seller and buyer being in Malaysia. Well, I’m using a Malaysian account and I’d presume [email protected] is Malaysian too. So an odd message to contend with.

pitchIN, the Kickstarter for MalaysiaAll in, I’m hoping pitchIN succeeds in getting Malaysian creative projects funded not only by Malaysians but by the vast Malaysian diaspora.

Best wishes and I’m looking to further try this out when it’s iterated upon. So far nothing is “bringing me back” to the site, and that’s something that clearly needs to be worked on.

Colin Charles is a businessman and open source software guy. Find out more at http://www.bytebot.net/blog/. This article was first published on his blog, and is reprinted here with his permission.
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