It was the third week of the Kickstarter Campaign for Bionique. We’d only raised around $900 and I was running out of ideas.
I went again to the wildly successful VGHS Season 2 Kickstarter page to see if something jogged my mind… something did.
I saw that they had 10,613 backers and I thought, all those people obviously liked VGHS and my show is similar in several ways. So obviously, VGHS backers could be interested in my show, right? I decided to contact a few of them.
I went through a little chunk of the backers list and I saw that some of them had supported dozens of projects, so I hit a few of them up. I individually went to their bio (the ones who had one) and looked for their website, email, twitter, etc.
If I found their email address, I sent an email with a mostly customized message and some copy-pasted parts. Some people only had twitter so I twitted them. But I avoided this as much as I could because I didn’t want to fill my followers’ feed with me asking other people to watch my show.
I was proud of the idea. I mean, I have a good project and these people had actually backed several projects similar to it. I didn’t think I was annoying anyone.
The next morning I got an email from Kickstarter citing their guidelines in regards to spam, and saying that if I didn’t comply ‘further action’ would be taken. Inadvertently, I had gone to the dark side.
If you Google the definition for spam (and ignore the canned meat) you get:
Send the same message indiscriminately to a large numbers of recipients on the Internet.
I didn’t think what I was doing was spam because I only contacted people I thought would be interested, I actually went to their website or twitter to make sure, and customized the message accordingly with most of them. Plus, including emails and twits, I had only contacted around 20 people!
In the end though, it’s their site and Kickstarter is not required to let me use their service. Also my messages were indeed unsolicited. Even if I though I wasn’t annoying anyone, I obviously did because someone reported me. Not to mention that not one of the people I contacted backed my project anyway.
I really hate spam myself so I understand. I let myself be taken by the moment without thinking too much about it. Sometimes going with the moment works beautifully, sometimes it gets you flagged as a spammer.
Take the lesson and don’t get your project cancelled. When it comes to spam, the grey area is actually red.