Back in November, PetaPixel published a story on a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter called the X-tra Battery. A new report has surfaced that indicates the entire campaign may have been a ruse and that the company never intended to deliver on its promises.
The revelation that this campaign and associated company appears like a scam is detailed in this story on CanonRumors. One major piece of evidence is that the CEO of the company, Jeffery Parker, appears to be a model from Hong Kong.
Below are images of a model that shares a striking resemblance to Parker, as noted by CanonRumors:
This seems to indicate that the leadership for the X-tra battery is a fabrication.
CanonRumors took part in what is called a KickBooster: an affiliate program that rewards a site with a commission if someone who visits a Kickstarter via your site ends up backing the project. The only reason that the X-tra Kickstarter was revealed as a scam thus far was because CanonRumors attempted to collect on due affiliate commissions; those requests were met with silence. While it is still entirely possible that this project is on the up-and-up and is simply suffering from communication errors, that is becoming less and less likely.
As a note, this would be the first time in my nearly decade in the industry that a crowdfunding campaign I covered as news was an abject scam. While there are certainly examples where a campaign was unable to deliver a product, those companies at least had good intentions.
Since PetaPixel shared the Kickstarter, as the editor of the publication I wanted to be upfront with you, our readership, about how we approach projects on Kickstarter and answer a few questions that you might have.
1) Did we have communication with the X-tra battery team before sharing the story?
Yes. X-tra battery sent us an email on November 15 stating that the project had started and believed it to be a project that would interest our readers. We requested an official media kit and, when it looked legitimate, covered the project as a notable news story.
2) Did PetaPixel have any financial connection to the X-tra battery crowdfunding campaign?
No, we were not paid to promote it, nor did we participate in any kind of affiliate program to profit from it.
3) How does PetaPixel validate the stories it publishes?
Everything about this company, from the media package to the video published on the campaign itself, looked legitimate. What we mean by that is that we received high-quality image assets, a well-written press release, and the video was well-produced. While we had never heard of the company before, that’s not unusual for crowdfunding campaigns.
News is tricky. If something is being widely covered by multiple publications, which the X-tra battery was, then that phenomenon in itself is noteworthy enough for news coverage. News is simply the statement that something is happening, and just because PetaPixel publishes a news story is not an indication that it is promoted by the PetaPixel brand. Anything otherwise is a conflict of interest, which we are steadfastly against.
Going forward, look for PetaPixel branding on original reviews as well as an author page for our staff writers who we employ if you are curious if PetaPixel as a publication endorses a product or service. Published guest stories, features, and news articles are not endorsements. News articles in particular are simply statements of events or products that may be of interest.
4) Do we recommend readers do their own research before backing?
When covering crowdfunding campaigns, we’ve tried to note that you’ll only receive the products you’re backing if the organizers deliver on their promises. We apologize if our statements in the past have not been strong enough to protect you from these risks — we’re going to make sure we do better. Moving forward, we’ll be adding a new note on news stories involving Kickstarter campaigns to further clarify the risks involved.
Whether a campaign simply fails to deliver or whether it was purely a scam, losing money when backing a crowdfunding campaign is always a very real risk you should be aware of.
PetaPixel will continue to do its best to weed out the content we don’t believe is in the best interest of our readership, but we also must balance this with our desire to be a place for photography enthusiasts to get information on the hobby and industry they care about.
If you recognize the male model in the photos above, please let us know. If we can get in touch with him we may be able to get more information on what happened.