In Palm Springs, California, a man booked a vacation condominium for 44 days, saying that he would be in town on a business trip. After 30 days, he gained rights as a tenant under California law, and refused to pay rent or to leave. When the story broke, he was discovered to be an indie game developer who has failed to deliver a Kickstarter-funded project. That’s when the justice of the sharing economy kicked in. Kind of.
When the owner of the condo where the man is squatting threatened to turn off the electricity, he said that would be disastrous because he works from home, earning $1,000 to $7,000 a day. He is a game developer, apparently, who raised more than four times its $40,000 goal. The game was supposed to be released sometime around now, but no updates were coming. Backers were promised a copy of the company’s next title, called Knuckle Club.
The problem with that? Knuckle Club is still in the funding phase on Kickstarter. Well, it was. Kickstarter has now suspended the project, as of today. Why? Kickstarter isn’t saying, but the negative publicity surrounding the condo-squatting incident and the non-delivery of the other Kickstarter-funded title. Backers of the other projects may have also complained to Kickstarter after someone using the developer/squatter’s account left a comment saying “10/10 would squat again” on the project’s page.
Lesson learned? Use a fake name for everything. No, wait, that’s not a good lesson, or a practical one. The lesson here should be that the Internet never really forgets anything, and that people who invest in your project through crowdfunding expect to get something back in return.