You won't believe how much money that crowdfunding sites are making. They didn't even exist just a few years ago, yet people just like you are donating money every few seconds.
The site Kickstarter alone receives donations every five seconds on average. The company has had huge successes, raising millions of dollars for people whose projects have gone on to be extremely successful.
However, Kickstarter has had some hugely embarrassing flops, too. Keep reading for a couple of those.
Since launching in 2008, Kickstarter has raised nearly $3 billion for 12.7 million products. Kickstarter raises money specifically for creative projects.
Here's how it works. If you have a project, say a video game, you post details about it on Kickstarter. You ask for a specific amount of money, like $100,000. In exchange for your donors' donations, you promise them something in exchange. They might be the first person to play your video game, for example.
If you don't raise all the money you're looking for, Kickstarter returns everyone's donations. So far, about 87 percent of Kickstarter donations have gone on to successfully fund projects. The company has returned about $380 million for unsuccessful campaigns.
Bonus: The crowdfunding site GoFundMe, which raises money for good causes, has raised $3 billion in pledges since 2010. Another site, Indiegogo, has raised about $1.1 billion since 2008.
Kickstarter's top-5 hits
With people like you pledging billions of dollars to people you don't know, you're probably wondering where all that money goes. In the case of Kickstarter, there are quite a few success stories. Here are five of Kickstarter's biggest hits.
1. Pebble Time. The thin smart watch that boasts a long battery life raised more than $40 million in multiple campaigns. In 2016, the fitness tracker Fitbit bought Pebble Time for $23 million.
2. Kingdom Death: Monster 1.5. The board game raised more than $12 million, including $1 million in the first few minutes it was posted on Kickstarter.
3. The World's Best Travel Jacket. The jacket, which includes uncommon features like a built-in neck pillow, raised more than $9 million.
4. Exploding Kittens. This card game raised nearly $9 million. In the game, you draw cards until the loser picks a card showing an exploding kitten.
5. The Everyday Backpack. The bag with multiple pockets set out to raise $500,000 but pulled in $6.5 million.
Kickstarter's biggest disappointments
Of course, no company bats 1,000. There are always going to be failures, missteps and embarrassing stumbles. Kickstarter has had its share, including these two.
1. The Coolest Cooler. This cooler held the promise of really fun tailgating parties, with features like USB chargers and built-in blenders. It raised $13 million. But the company has yet to deliver coolers to about half its backers.
2. Fidget Cube. This little toy you play with to relieve stress raised nearly $6.5 million. But it couldn't deliver the toy to many of its backers. Worse, a competitor called Stress Cube filled the void.
Note: Have you ever donated money to a Kickstarter campaign? Have you raised money for a project? Tell us about your experience in comments.