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Kickstarter now offering a fast track for select projects

The 'Launch Now' feature lets certain projects go live immediately

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Kickstarter is trying to make it easier to get a project started on its crowdfunding site, offering an instant launch option that does away with the need for human approval.

The company said Tuesday that it was easing up on its project posting restrictions -- and eliminating some rules entirely -- in an effort to give more freedom to the people who use its site to get their projects off the ground.

Kickstarter has grown to be a popular platform for helping independent project creators and even celebrities launch their projects, with more than US$1 billion pledged in total funding to date, according to the company.

But restrictions on the types of projects allowed on the site have helped to make alternative platforms, such as Indiegogo, also popular. Kickstarter also uses a roster of "community managers" to review projects before they go live and offer feedback.

On Tuesday, though, Kickstarter announced "Launch Now," a feature that will let creators launch their project as soon as they're ready, or get feedback from a community manager first. The feature is rolling out in stages, Kickstarter said, and it's currently able to handle 60 percent of projects.

Instead of human feedback, the tool uses an algorithm incorporating thousands of data points to check whether a project is ready to go live, such as its description, funding goal, and whether it's the creator's first project, Kickstarter said.

As part of the changes, Kickstarter also said it simplified its rules for projects, focusing on just three principles: Projects must create something to share with others; projects must be honest and clearly presented; and projects cannot fundraise for charity, offer financial incentives, or involve prohibited items.

Some of the rule changes allow projects to be hosted on its site that previously weren't allowed, Kickstarter said, such as bath and beauty products and more types of software. But Kickstarter still prohibits items claiming to cure or treat an illness, energy food and drinks, and some other items.

Zach Miners covers social networking, search and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow Zach on Twitter at @zachminers. Zach's e-mail address is zach_miners@idg.com



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