tekym asked: Out of curiosity, how many of the address changes are actual changes, rather than people resubmitting the address you already have (perhaps out of a lack of reading the email in depth), and how many of those are substantial (ie, not things like spelling corrections or number-transposition fixes)?
I haven’t dug into the actual data (my assistant will be making the actual changes to our records in the coming days), but I suspect it’s a combination of all the sorts you mentioned.
A spot check at random reveals, out of ten address changes checked: two with minor typos or clarifications; one person who never submitted an address in the first place; two having it shipped to a different person (maybe due to the holidays?), and the rest were completely different addresses.
You’ll Never Believe How Many People Gave Us Shipping Addresses That Needed To Be Changed After The Fact
The Machine of Death card game had 10,666 backers on Kickstarter. When you take out the ones who don’t have anything physical being shipped to them, and add back in the folks who pre-ordered the game after the Kickstarter ended, we’re left with 10,468 packages to mail.
In order to use BackerKit (our post-campaign data management and add-on-purchasing service), we had to send out our Kickstarter address surveys a while ago, back in April. I knew this would result in a lot of people having to change their address over time, as the estimated delivery date of the game shifted from July to November to December…people move, people go to school or come home from school, people go places for the holidays, all kinds of stuff happens.
That’s to be expected. So as I’ve posted Kickstarter updates on the game’s progress, I’ve continually encouraged people to manually change their mailing address in our system if they need to — BackerKit makes this pretty easy.
Still, I know that not everyone reads the updates. So now that we’re getting really close to shipping, we sent out an email to all 10,468 people asking if the address we had on file for them was correct, and providing a link to a form they could fill out to correct it if necessary. We used the email addresses we collected from Kickstarter.
I wasn’t sure what to expect, but for the sake of data and trivia, here are some of the results, so far, of sending out that mass email at roughly 1pm this afternoon:
- Autoresponses saying “My email address has changed”: 4
- Autoresponses saying “My email address has changed”, but without providing the new address: 1
- "Out of office" autoreplies: 5
- Earthlink anti-spam prove-you’re-human autoreplies: 2
- Non-problem emails just saying “Everything’s fine, you’re doing a great job”: 8
- "I’ll be out of town from x date to y date, can we make a special arrangement": 5
- "Using such-and-such courier service will cause me a problem, can we make a special arrangement": 5
- Verifying or confirming something specific in their order: 3
- "I don’t currently have an address so don’t send anything yet": 2
- "I’m in a different place in my life now, so you know what, don’t send it at all": 1
- Undeliverable email bouncebacks: 19
None of that’s terribly convenient (except for the kind “thanks” emails, which is sweet), but worse by orders of magnitude is…
- Responses to the form submitting a correction to their shipping address (so far, more are coming in every minute): SEVEN HUNDRED AND EIGHTEEN
That is BONKERS. Overnight it will probably top 1,000 people. That’s TEN PERCENT who need to change their shipping address all of a sudden TODAY.
If we hadn’t sent out that email, would 1,000 packages have been returned to us as undeliverable? The thought is terrifying!
Obviously a possible solution could have been to not ask for addresses until now, the moment we’re getting ready to ship. Even still, though — if you set the BackerKit early-survey requirement aside, which I don’t want to do because we sold thousands of additional post-campaign items via BackerKit — even still, when we first sent out surveys via Kickstarter, it took us weeks to top 90% of the surveys filled out and returned.
People just didn’t respond. People’s emails stop working, or they forget, or they lose interest, or they simply don’t notice or get around to it for a while. The completion numbers climb when you have months to let everyone dribble in, but it’s unreasonable to expect to hit the survey button one day and have everyone’s addresses in hand the next.
I totally get that not everybody pays attention to every tiny detail with Kickstarter — and frankly, there are Kickstarters that I myself back that I don’t feel much personal investment in months later, I just wanted to participate in the campaign itself — but I am gearing up to give a huge spreadsheet of shipping information to our fulfillment company, involving packages that will cost (in the international cases) at least forty bucks apiece to ship, and then another forty bucks to return if nobody’s there, or another forty bucks to replace if they get lost.
So I’m trying to be as careful as I can about everything, but I just had no idea that HUNDREDS of people’s addresses would be so volatile. Time will tell how many of these packages we’ll see returned — I want that number to be zero, of course, but realistically I know that is statistically unlikely.
I am glad that we’re being as diligent as I can think to be, but I offer up this bit of data in case it proves useful for anyone else in a similar situation. In the time since I started writing this post, the number of people sending in address corrections has increased to 725. I went back to proofread the post and it increased again to 728.
iannorris asked: I like the T-Shirt and would be interested in buying one if there were a guarantee that I'd get one. What happens to my money if you don't reach the 60 qty goal?
You aren’t charged any money upfront. If we hit the goal, your card is charged; if we don’t, it’s not!