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Subject: Fundzinger - do not use! rss

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Ted Alspach
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I just finished up with a very successful KS campaign for Ultimate Werewolf Deluxe Edition, and while I'm amazed how well it did, there are a few bitter notes around the edges.

The most bitter of these is was my decision to "invest" $520 in Fundzinger, which provides service by writing up a Press Release for the mass market (i.e. anyone BUT the hobby game industry). Of any of Bezier Games' product lines, the Ultimate Werewolf product line is the one with the most potential mass market appeal, so after careful (but not careful enough, clearly) consideration and research, I paid them for:

1) Creating a specialized press release aimed at the non-gamer market
2) Getting that press release in front of targeted media folks
3) Getting a mailing list of 15,000 media contacts that i could use at my discretion.

I tracked the progress of the KS very closely, as well as outside coverage. I got absolutely NO benefit from them.

1) The press release wasn't anything special, it wasn't even particularly good, and in my opinion didn't even address what makes werewolf and UW compelling.

2) I received NO coverage from anyone outside the hobby game industry.

3) only 10,000 of the media contacts were good (the rest were not valid), and by good, I mean that they didn't bounce. I did get hundreds of auto responses saying that they don't answer or even read emails because they get so many. I sent out 3 emails to those contacts, and got NO traffic as a result.

And now they are using my campaign as a success story...I just received a message from another KS creator saying that Fundzinger told them that I used them and that's why my campaign did so well.

Argh.

I've just sent them a note asking for a refund (or at least a partial refund), and to stop using my campaign as an example for other KS creators.

It's too bad, as this seemed like a great opportunity to expand the reach of a game.

---Edit: Additional info ---

Since I've posted this, I've received lots of email and notes on KS from other project owners saying thank you for alerting them what my results with Fundzinger were. Though it cost me $500 to learn, I'm thrilled that other (especially smaller) companies have not had to learn this the hard way.

Further underscoring that is what happened below, right in this thread: it appears that someone from Fundzinger posted a positive "review" of their own service using a fictitious user account on BGG:
Tim Koteke
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and then after several BGG members questioned the validity of the post, the post was deleted (fortunately I captured the entire post in a reply below if you're interested in their claims...this user registered on BGG on 2/16/14 and posted just this comment, and their last login was 2/19/14 when they deleted the post). So to this day, there is still no evidence whatsoever that Fundzinger can help a boardgame KS project.
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Ian Toltz
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Sorry to hear about your bad experience, but congrats on the UW kickstarter all the same.
 
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Paul M
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You got "zinged".
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Erik Dahlman
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I would like to add that we wouldn't recommend Fundzinger either.

We tried them out for our Princess Bride playing card campaign to see if their process actually generated any more traffic.

Our results were the same, there wasn't any noticeable difference after their "press release" went out.

I contacted the guy in charge, David Lee, just to discuss the metrics. Not to get my money back, but just to talk about some numbers. He never replied.

A couple weeks later I was contacted by another project creator saying that Fundzinger had used my campaign as a success story as well. I warned them not to use their service and I repeat that same warning here.

Pass the snake oil please.
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Executive Bear
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Well I have no intention of running a Kickstarter but I just checked out their website...it's terrible
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J. Alan Henning
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This is a broader issue than just Fundzinger. I've been using press releases for over 20 years, and they are the least effective they have ever been. My last two press releases for my market research company have generated no attention.

For a while, press releases were an important part of a link-building strategy for generating SEO, which lead to a profusion of releases. Google now discounts such links, so it is no longer effective. Still, as a legacy of this, reporters are inundated by releases.

The best way to get publicity is to have a unique and compelling angle that really makes your game stand out. Then personally pitch that to reporters, tying it into what they write about.

If you look at a recent breakthrough success such as Robot Turtles, it was because it pitched an unusual (but not unique) angle (teaching kids to program) that resonated with a wide audience of bloggers (programmers with kids).
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Joe Pilkus
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Thank you very much for posting this thread. Over two campaigns, I've heard from no less than a dozen individuals, and while I've not used them, I had a feeling that a project manager wouldn't necessarily garner any success through their service. I'm sure there are reputable, reliable, and professional companies out there that can utilize their knowledge of market trends to assist you...I just haven't seen them.
 
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Ian Toltz
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Tim: What project are you associated with? I just googled your name and saw nothing remotely related to board games, or KickStarter.
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Ted Alspach
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TimKoteke wrote:
Used Fundzinger also based on this recommendation I found from Masters of the Gridiron.

"We hired Fundzinger and I totally think they were worth the money. But it depends on your personal situation. We are an established company with steady revenue, so we don't mind spending some money on PR to help launch a new product. If you value your own time at $50/hour, then hiring PR experts to do what they are good at makes sense. If you value your own time at $5/hour, then you might be better off just putting in the time to find and approach every relevant press outlet personally.
Kickstarter (through February 19): Masters of the Gridiron: Football Simulation Card Game"

Most of their examples are from tech and apparel so gotta admit I was skeptical. I talked to a few of their other referrals and the feedback was pretty good.

Didn't expect much, but was pleasantly surprised. The pitch was shorter than I'd probably send but it did its job.

Got covered by my local NBC station right away. Lots of game blogs also. Had interest from Mashable, but waiting for my game to be produced. I'd recommend them but I think it depends on the game. Some games are probably better for the press than others.

Has anyone ever used adroll?


Tim registered on BGG today (2/16/14), and this is his only post. My assumption is that because BGG forum threads often show up in Google searches (this thread shows up on the first page when you search "Fundzinger"), that this post was placed here by someone at the company looking to address a negative, somewhat high profile post.

That said, I'm willing to be proved wrong if "Tim" will state what the project is and provide a link to the NBC station's article (seems like an odd omission). I didn't get any referral emails when I asked about how well they would do with tabletop games...and that was only 1 month ago.

Fishy.
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Ian Toltz
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toulouse wrote:
TimKoteke wrote:
Used Fundzinger also based on this recommendation I found from Masters of the Gridiron.

"We hired Fundzinger and I totally think they were worth the money. But it depends on your personal situation. We are an established company with steady revenue, so we don't mind spending some money on PR to help launch a new product. If you value your own time at $50/hour, then hiring PR experts to do what they are good at makes sense. If you value your own time at $5/hour, then you might be better off just putting in the time to find and approach every relevant press outlet personally.
Kickstarter (through February 19): Masters of the Gridiron: Football Simulation Card Game"

Most of their examples are from tech and apparel so gotta admit I was skeptical. I talked to a few of their other referrals and the feedback was pretty good.

Didn't expect much, but was pleasantly surprised. The pitch was shorter than I'd probably send but it did its job.

Got covered by my local NBC station right away. Lots of game blogs also. Had interest from Mashable, but waiting for my game to be produced. I'd recommend them but I think it depends on the game. Some games are probably better for the press than others.

Has anyone ever used adroll?


Tim registered on BGG today (2/16/14), and this is his only post. My assumption is that because BGG forum threads often show up in Google searches (this thread shows up on the first page when you search "Fundzinger"), that this post was placed here by someone at the company looking to address a negative, somewhat high profile post.

That said, I'm willing to be proved wrong if "Tim" will state what the project is and provide a link to the NBC station's article (seems like an odd omission). I didn't get any referral emails when I asked about how well they would do with tabletop games...and that was only 1 month ago.

Fishy.

I agree. I was just trying to be less accusatory in the off chance he is legit.
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J. Alan Henning
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Asmor wrote:
Tim: What project are you associated with? I just googled your name and saw nothing remotely related to board games, or KickStarter.
There are 0 hits on Google for "Tim Koteke" or "Timothy Koteke".

No one on LinkedIn lists Fundzinger as an employer, nor does that company have a LinkedIn profile.
 
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Joe Pilkus
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That wasn't even remotely clever, Tim.
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Jeremiah Reynolds
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The Professor wrote:
That wasn't even remotely clever, Tim.

"Tim"
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Joe Pilkus
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Yeah...not too clever, eh? We have people who are pretty savvy out here.
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Sturv Tafvherd
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looks like tim disappeared?

Tim Koteke
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... i guess his reply got deleted
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Nicholas Yu
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I've been contacted a couple of times by Fundzinger during my two Kickstarter campaigns. I always ask them for detailed analytics or metrics on how their service improves a Kickstarter campaign. I never hear back (until, presumably, my next campaign).
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Joe Pilkus
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Nicholas,

Same here...by the way, it's great to see you out here. You ran a magnificent campaign...Eternal Dynasty looks fantastic!

Cheers,
Joe
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Randall Bart
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Stormtower wrote:
looks like tim disappeared?

Tim Koteke
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... i guess his reply got deleted

We must assume Tim is a fraud perpetrated by or on behalf of Fundzinger. Someone should tell Fundzinger about this, so they can come here and defend themselves. Preferably someone who has dealt with them before should tell them.
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Fran Fdez
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I just received an e-mail from David Lee. "Executive media director" of Fundzinger...

I reply him with the link of this post.

Waiting reply
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Jeremiah Reynolds
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What was the email
 
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Fran Fdez
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emoboy44 wrote:
What was the email

Copy from my inbox:

"I've spent some time on your Kickstarter page. The journalists we work with
are always looking for innovative projects they can feature and I think
Orcfather is perfect.

We work with thousands of reporters from outlets like IGN, Gamespot,
Joystick, Eurogamer, GameFAQs, G4, Polygon, IncGamers, Mashable, Techcrunch,
Wired, Engadget, Fast Company, Gizmodo, VentureBeat, The Verge, CNN, Good
Morning America, Associated Press, Reuters, Time, USA Today, Inc Magazine,
Forbes, etc. We look for unique projects that are right up their alley.

If you're looking for a bigger push and if you're ready to get Orcfather all
over the news and in front of millions visit us at
http://www.fundzinger.com. Your story needs to be told everywhere.

You can view some of the projects we've worked on at
http://www.fundzinger.com/examples

If you have any questions or need references please feel free to email or
call me at 714-740-5148.

Best,
David Lee
Executive Media Director
http://www.Fundzinger.com


PS:

We did all of the press work for the Bublcam. In 35 days we landed them
Engadget, Techcrunch, Fast Company, Gizmodo, Mashable and hundreds more. In
their first 12 hours they raised $100,000. They closed their funding in
December with $346,000. See http://kck.st/HxC2XV (If you click on 'See full
bio' on their Kickstarter page our contact details are listed there)

We just wrapped up the press for OpenBCI. We reached out to our contacts and
got them into Forbes, Wired, Fast Company, VentureBeat, Gigaom and more.
They closed with $215,000. See http://kck.st/1coqoqn
"
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Fran Fdez
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After read this thread and receive another mail from "www.greeninbox.com" I decided to open a thread where we can compilate all this kind of companies:

http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1126569/kickstarter-boost-co...
 
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Ted Alspach
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Very similar to the initial email I received, except it was from Jeff at Fundzinger (maybe Jeff is no longer there?):

From: Jeff Hennigar
To: xxx
Sent: Tuesday, January 7, 2014 12:04 PM
Subject: regarding news interviews for Ultimate Werewolf

I've spent some time on your Kickstarter page. The journalists we work with are always looking for innovative products they can feature and I think Ultimate Werewolf is perfect.

We work with thousands of reporters from outlets like CNN, Good Morning America, Associated Press, Reuters, Time, USA Today, Inc. Magazine, Forbes, Wired, Engadget, Techcrunch, Mashable, Venturebeat, TheVerge, IGN, Gamespot, Joystick, Eurogamer, GameFAQs, G4, Polygon, IncGamers. We look for unique products that are right up their alley.

If you're looking for a bigger push and if you're ready to get Ultimate Werewolf all over the news and in front of millions visit us at http://www.fundzinger.com. Your story needs to be told everywhere.

You can view some of our current projects at http://www.fundzinger.com/examples

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Best,
Jeff Hennigar
Executive Media Director
Fundzinger.com


PS:

We've done all of the press work for the Bublcam, landing them Engadget,
Techcrunch and many others when they launched in November. In their first 12
hours they raised $100,000. Since then we've gotten them into Fast Company, Gizmodo, Mashable and hundreds more. They closed their funding a few weeks ago with $346,000.

PSS:

Below are a few of the several thousand write-ups we've generated for our
members.

http://www.today.com/video/today/53844651#53844651
http://mashable.com/2013/08/13/mochibag-drawstring-backpack/
http://www.bloomberg.com/video/using-kickstarter-to-build-a-...
http://mashable.com/2013/12/10/bluetooth-gramophone-gramovox...
http://techland.time.com/2013/12/20/this-smart-light-bulb-ke...
http://www.fastcompany.com/3023034/fast-feed/kickstarter-lov...
http://mashable.com/2013/11/18/bublcam-kickstarter/
http://www.engadget.com/2013/11/05/bublcam-360-degree-camera...
http://techcrunch.com/2013/11/05/bublcam/
http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/229961
http://venturebeat.com/2013/10/19/meet-ubooly-the-smart-toy-...
http://mashable.com/2013/09/02/kickstarter-hammock-nube/
http://techcrunch.com/2013/09/29/appseed/
http://www.forbes.com/sites/sethporges/2013/09/27/holy-cow-t...
http://mashable.com/2013/10/08/appseed-kickstarter/
http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/this-could-be-big-abc-news/spray...
http://mashable.com/2013/12/08/forever-pillow/
http://gigaom.com/2013/11/22/want-to-add-a-skinny-wireless-c...
http://mashable.com/2013/10/20/retrievor-gps-tracker/
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/14/sandusa-beach-towel...
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Rocco Privetera
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Ok so yes, they don't provide a lot of metrics, but maybe just play devils advocate, those links (at least the few I checked) work, that is press and internet presence. Is it just that they are charging a lot for something they can't precisely quantify? Like how much revenue does the Huffington Post article drive to the site?
 
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Tim Harrison
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Rocconteur wrote:
Ok so yes, they don't provide a lot of metrics, but maybe just play devils advocate, those links (at least the few I checked) work, that is press and internet presence. Is it just that they are charging a lot for something they can't precisely quantify? Like how much revenue does the Huffington Post article drive to the site?

They provide links to articles about Kickstarter projects, but no evidence that they are the source of those articles.
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