As regular readers know, there’s been a bit of fuss about the Indiegogo crowd-funding campaign for the Healbe health tracker. Pando Daily has been digging into the background of the company and the scientific claims that it’s making and not much liking what it finds. Pando has also been doing a tapdance on Indiegogo’s head for supposedly turning a blind eye to questions about Healby’s claims and, in fact, profiting from them.
Indiegogo just sent us a link to a statement it’s posted on its site. The statement, signed by CEO Slava Rubin, talks specifically about Healbe and in general terms about Indiegogo’s responsibility to weed out fund-raisers who intend to defraud and, as a separate issue, those who are unable to deliver.
For Healbe, Rubin says the company has agreed to make refunds to funders who have having second thoughts. In addition, he says that Healbe “has been responsive and cooperative with our inquiries.” So, nothing to see here, move along.
But let’s look at the general case that Rubin addresses. Regarding fraud, Rubin said Indiegogo detects fraud attempts through algorithms, human checks that supplement the automated checks, and feedback from “the crowd.” But the way it’s written, Rubin’s statement implies that people get involved only if the computer flags something. Emphasis is added:
- Algorithms – we monitor data for patterns and look for outliers or those angling to take advantage of the system
- Personnel – to supplement the data, we have built a sophisticated team of experts dedicated to ensuring the integrity of our platform. Our in-house Trust & Safety team reviews the data closely, and in many cases, investigates further.
- You, the crowd – we welcome comments, emails, and other notifications from the community. This information is aggregated and supports our investigations.
So people “supplement” and “support” the algorithm. Nothing here to suggest that people can actually trigger an investigation.
And as to inability to deliver? Well, that’s pretty much caveat emptor:
we know that potential contributors are best served when they get educated, know the facts and can therefore make informed decisions. That’s why open dialogue has always been encouraged on the platform.
Be safe out there. And ask a lot of questions before you unleash your credit card. Because ultimately, it doesn’t sound like there’s going to be a lot of support from Indiegogo if something goes south.