IndieGoGo is a website where people with ideas but no money ask for donations. Much like its cousin, Kickstarter, many of these people have no money for a reason. Donating to these 10 projects would be a bigger waste of your cash than using hundred dollar bills to test your new blender.
Alcoholics, are you tired of personal breathalysers not being convenient and stylish? Then why not get a Breathometer, the first breathalyser for smartphones? Not only is it hip and high tech, the pitch video makes testing your BAC level look more fun than drinking!
If you’ve had too much to drink, your phone will tell you. Incidentally, do you know another way to tell you’ve had too much to drink? When you’re asking your freaking phone if you’re good to drive.
If you’re not sure if you’re okay to drive, don’t drive. The accuracy of personal breathalysers is questionable, and even if they’re spot on you have to remember that everyone reacts to alcohol differently—your phone saying your BAC is low doesn’t mean much if you’re slurring your words and trying to convince people that Peter Pan started the Vietnam War. And if for some reason you don’t trust the alcohol experts at TopTenz, be aware that the police don’t recommend using them, either.
Also, how terrible are your friends if have to rely on one of these? “Well, Steve looks pretty hammered, but his phone says he’s okay to drive, so give him his keys,” said the worst buddy ever. This could very well be a fundraiser for a disguised eugenics program.
Money Raised: $106,632
Worst Pledge Reward: For $250 you get two tickets to “our exclusive launch party featuring DJ Lucky Lou of the Party Rock Crew.” Right, because there’s no better way to launch a product designed to promote responsible drinking than with a party where everyone will leave trashed. They could shut down hours after they launch because half of their donors were killed in DUIs.
9. The One Year Total Wild Food Experiment
Fergus Drennan, besides having a kickass name, is an “experienced forger” who works with wild plants “as a gateway for exploring issues connected with sustainability, ecology, mental and physical health, spirituality, creativity, and life purpose.” That makes him sound like the hippy all the other hippies make fun of, but whatever, it’s cool that he’s trying to live off the land. So what’s he raising money for? Is he writing a book on forging? Does he want to conduct seminars? Does he need medical treatment after eating one too many funky mushrooms?
No, he wants to “walk in the foot-steps of our hunter-gather ancestors in a modern context.” In other words, he’s going to survive solely by forging for a year. Buddy, if there’s one thing we know about hunter-gatherers, it’s that they didn’t beg their friends for thousands of dollars before heading off into the wilderness. You don’t go to an anthropology museum and see an exhibit of one of our ancestors asking strangers for 12,000 shiny rocks so he can spend a year relaxing in ancient Mesopotamia.
We’re not even sure what we’re supposed to get out of our donation—he’s promising to write a reference book about foraging when he’s done, but if he’s already experienced why can’t he do it now? Beyond that there’s just a vague mention of sharing the lessons he learns. Which, okay, fair enough, we would like to learn how to trick strangers into giving us their money.
Money Raised: £2978
Worst Pledge Reward: One hundred pounds earns you a foraged meal with Fergus for you and five friends. We hope you’re hungry for bark!
8. Fred Eats a Pea
Drennan may be begging people for lunch money, but at least his food is going to be good for him. That’s more than can be said Fred, the titular canine hero of a children’s book. When Fred’s owner gets too sick to care for him he’s adopted by a vegan family, and they introduce Fred to the wonderful wide world of veganism. So it’s really not so much Fred Eats a Pea as Fred Never Eats Meat Again.
There’s nothing wrong with veganism. If you want to live a life devoid of deliciousness, go nuts. We’ll be over here enjoying our Eggs Benedict, and you can come dance on our graves when we die of heart problems 20 years before you. But please don’t force your dietary decisions on your pet. While dogs can survive on a vegan diet, they’ll be happier with a little meat in their dish. And unless you get their vegan menu just right, they’re going to be missing out on key nutrients. You want a vegan pet? Buy a freaking rabbit.
On a lighter note, check out the video pitch for Fred Eats a Pea, where you can discover what it sounds like when a soulless robot is asked to voice a dog.
Money Raised: $530
Worst Pledge Reward: 95 bucks gets you a prayer flag that’s “at least 30 feet long.” See, that’s the sort of practical pledge reward that makes donating worthwhile.
7. My Bed & Breakfast Tour
Starting a business is hard work. There’s a steep learning curve, you need a lot of money, and you work long hours. It’s no wonder people with an idea for a business turn to fundraising. So, what does aspiring bed and breakfast owner Laura Wolanin need money for? New mattresses? Hundreds of boxes of cheerios? Quaint signage?
Nope—Laura needs money so she can stay in other bed and breakfasts. For “research.” Lady, you’re asking people to pay for your vacation.
Sure, we’ll buy that you need to take notes on customer service and whatnot. But have you ever stayed in a hotel, or eaten at a restaurant? There’s your research. If you’re really worried, fork over a few bucks for a copy of Running a Bed and Breakfast for Dummies. We’re sure it’s full of helpful tips, like “be friendly” and “make sure the guest beds aren’t full of spiders.”
Wolanin says she can’t afford to pay for her own B&B stays because she’s an artist. That’s a shame, but if she can’t even afford a vaca—sorry, research trip, how on Earth is she going to afford to, you know, open a bed and breakfast? Is her art edible? Will her guests sleep in cardboard boxes on the lawn as some sort of artistic experiment? Or is this just a bad idea? We’ll let you decide. Wait, no we won’t, because it’s obviously the last one.
Money Raised: $1465
Worst Pledge Reward For 50 dollars you’ll get a hand drawn poster that reads “I helped make someones (sic) dreams come true.” Hang it with pride on your wall, then let out a little sigh whenever you look at it after learning Wolanin went bankrupt in a month and a half.
6. The Tarot of the Sevenfold Mystery
If there’s one problem with making life decisions based on the advice of tarot cards, it’s knowing what tarot deck to use. For example, what if one deck advises you to assassinate the President, and another advises you to not assassinate the President? What do you do?
Wonder no more—The Tarot of the Sevenfold Mystery is the definitive deck, as explained by some incomprehensible mumbo jumbo. And you know the creator is a tarot expert, because in 1982 he dreamed he would soon get a valuable inheritance from an unknown ancestor… and then a friend gave him a tarot deck as a gift! It was prophesied.
There is some legitimately interesting history behind tarot cards, and if you can wade through the pretentious language he seems to know his stuff. But we’re not sure why it took him ten years to design this deck. Did he have to teach himself to draw? Whatever the reason, it’s pretty ballsy for him to ask for thousands of dollars when we could wander down to the nearest new age shop and get a nice deck for three crystals and the blessing of the moon.
Oh, never mind, we totally see how this could take 10 years.
Money Raised: $14,001
Worst Pledge Reward: For 225 bucks you’ll get a one hour tarot reading. Here, we’ll save you the money: the cards will tell you to give more to this fundraiser.
5. Fusion Powered Car
Some people call Dennis Cravens misguided. Others call him crazy. We prefer the word “both.” Considering he’s trying to raise money to build a car powered by cold fusion, we think we’re being generous.
Without getting into the technical details—because we’re too dumb to understand them—cold fusion is the concept of generating energy through a fusion reaction without any of the fuss of requiring millions of degrees of heat. This is accomplished through the complex scientific process called “hoping reality stops working.”
According to science, you’d have more luck powering a car with an elaborate series of hamster wheels than with cold fusion. There’s more scientific credibility behind the theory that communists are controlling our brains with fluoride. Even Cravens admits that this is a long shot, and while we appreciate his honesty that isn’t going to encourage people to throw money at him. But hey, surely the “hope of clean limitless power” is worth a little risk, right? Because if this does work, Cravens’ clean energy car will be able to fly down the roads with the power of 2HP. Oh, great. So on the off chance his crackpot schemes work, he’ll have invented a car that would lose a race to a rickshaw pulled by toddlers.
Money Raised: $774
Worst Pledge Reward: $250 gets you monthly updates on the project. So if you weren’t sure if you wasted your money, you’ll definitely know after each month’s email reads “it’s still not working, sorry.”
4. Diversity Jellybeans
Tracy Jackson has an admirable goal—she wants to fight racism and stereotyping. How is she going to combat society’s ills? With jellybeans that have a different flavour on the inside than the colour on the outside. Pack it in, neo-Nazis, it’s over. You lost.
The idea is to be able to discuss the complexities of racism in a simple, non-threatening way, but there’s a difference between simple and infantile. Tracy, if you think your customers are too terrified or incompetent to discuss race without the aid of candy, they would consider jellybeans a choking hazard.
Jackson sells to major corporations and schools, both of which sound like a terrible venue to receive jellybean based diversity training. Imagine gathering together with your coworkers to hear about how you’re all as special as these amazing beans. Now imagine trying not to kill yourself. As for schools, the kids will be too distracted by free candy to properly absorb the lesson, and will probably come away with the idea that it’s okay to eat Chinese people.
Money Raised: $10,005
Worst Pledge Reward: 10 bucks gets you a print of Picasso’s Diversity of Youth, which goes with jellybeans like peanut butter goes with aluminum siding.
3. Balm Chicky Balm Balm Starring The Friend End
If there’s one complaint we all have about lip balm, it’s that the packaging isn’t pornographic enough. But thanks to Balm Chicky Balm Balm, you’ll no longer have to feel weird about rubbing lip balm on your genitals. You weirdo.
If those look like your parents’ porn stars, that’s not a coincidence. In the cross-marketing endeavour nobody asked for, the labels are designed to evoke the “campy pornos” of the “sexy ‘70s.” Again, we’re talking about lip balm. The flavours are Juicy Melons, Huge Cucumber, Sweet Ginger, Hot Chocolate Love and Wild Mountain Honey because hurr hurr, sex. Finally, the lip balm you can masturbate to!
The “Friend End” is basically a hole at the bottom of the tube that you can flip open and offer to friends so they don’t get their filthy germs all over your balm, although why a company featuring a slate of mascots that would be riddled with STDs in real life is suddenly concerned with hygiene is anybody’s guess. In their words, “The Friend End encourages you to put a finger in its bottom,” because hurr hurr hurr hurr.
Money Raised: $6780
Worst Pledge Reward: 40 dollars gets you a “flavor threesome,” which is a Huge Cucumber and your choice of two of his lady friends. You’ll also get stickers, so you can tell the whole world about your love of porno balm, and they’ll create “a unique 70’s porn star stage name” which they will use to thank you publicly on their website. Wait, no, they said “pubicly.” God help us, they actually said that. Excuse us while we hunt them down and give them a pounding that would make Huge Cucumber proud.
2. ‘Autism’ is Medical and a Treatable NeuroImmune Disease
There are lots of autism fundraisers on IndieGoGo, and that’s great—with more cases of autism being diagnosed than ever before, more money is needed to support those with the condition. This is especially true when you have quacks raising money to spread their belief that autism doesn’t exist.
A rational person would look at the increase of autism diagnoses and conclude that we’ve developed a better understanding of it, and also we no longer think people who act weird are possessed by ghosts and need to be drowned. The people behind this fundraiser concluded that autism must be a rapidly spreading disease, because when you try to explain the differences between correlation and causation to them they ask you why you’re speaking Portuguese.
Basically, these guys believe that autism, instead of being a developmental disorder, is caused by a brain disease called Neuro-Immune Dysfunction Syndrome, or NIDS. This theory was suggested by a Dr. Michael J. Goldberg, who appears to be the only doctor in the world who takes his theory seriously, and in what we’re sure is just a coincidence wrote a book on the subject that believers of NIDS encourage you to buy. You can judge for yourself, by reading about his theory on a website that also believes reptilians are working with a shadow government and Satan worshippers to enslave the world.
These people use more false statistics and assumptions than Dick Morris. Giving them money to “treat” NIDS is like giving a hobo money to buy off the aliens that want to implant Stalin’s soul in him—not only do you look insane through association, you’re enabling a fantasy that’s probably going to get someone killed.
Money Raised: $926
Worst Pledge Reward: For $25 you get “a surprise autism awareness gift.” Considering their fundraiser links to multiple vaccine conspiracy sites, the surprise gift is probably tuberculosis.
1. AFDI Jihad Awareness Campaign
Professional fear mongers and trolls disguised as humans Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer (pictured) have a terrifying, completely inaccurate warning for you: Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood have infiltrated the mainstream media, and only by donating money to their racist ad campaign can you stop this non-existent threat. Geller and Spencer are fighting back against a conspiracy that has the audacity to suggest that not every Muslim is a potential terrorist, and they’re not going to stop until they’ve embarrassed themselves in every major city in America, or until the spiders living in their heads finish eating their brains.
Sure, Geller and Spencer’s American Freedom Defence Initiative has been labelled a hate group by pretty much everyone with the right number of chromosomes. And sure, Hamas would be pleasantly surprised to hear they’re controlling the mainstream media. And sure, their knowledge of Islam is about as accurate as an infant’s knowledge of quantum physics. But… uh, we forget where we were going with this, but our point is that these guys are ignorant twits.
Money Raised: $16,229
Worst Pledge Reward: $1000 dollars gets you a signed copy of a book by either Geller or Spencer, which is a terrible waste of paper because anyone who would donate that much money to this campaign is too stupid to read.
Other Articles you Might Like