The bizarre success of Zach Brown’s Potato Salad Kickstarter had the entire Internet scratching digital heads: $55,498 to help one man make the lowly potato salad. More importantly, that’s $55,488 more than the original project goal of $10. That’s 6,911 Kickstarter backers willing to help Brown make any ol’ potato salad.
I’m making potato salad.
Basically I’m just making potato salad. I haven’t decided what kind yet.
Throughout the course of the campaign’s unexpected success, Brown updated the project stretch goals to be just as ridiculous as the project’s original outline:
$35 – I will make 4x as much Potato Salad. I know $40 isn’t 4x $10, but you guys have earned it.
$75 – Pizza Party!
$100 – I will try two different Potato Salad recipes.
For those who are annoyed or confused about what exactly happened, Kickstarter did some number crunching that showcased the power of going viral. In the course of the project’s lifetime, it accumulated massive site traffic: 4.1 million and counting, which made it the fourth most-viewed project in the history of Kickstarter. It was able to gather money from 74 countries and received 2,068 media mentions from 54 countries, including “The New Yorker, Good Morning America, Columbus Alive and The Verge.”
Even with all of the extra attention, most viewers were just gawking – not investing in potato salad. For example, more people have seen Potato Salad than Oculus Rift, but the latter gained much more financial funding. Moreover, 72 percent of the project backers had already made pledges to other Kickstarter projects. According to Kickstarter, “even when you include the newcomers, potato salad backers have backed an average of 15 projects on Kickstarter! So while this was a global joke on the Internet, backing the project became an inside joke among core Kickstarter fans.”