The Best Sites to Raise Money and Get Your Ideas Off the Ground If you have a brilliant new idea for an mobile app, a handy gadget, a smartphone case that does something cool, an album you want to produce, or even a comic book you want to publish, it’s never been easier to get your idea in front of a lot of people and raise money to make it a reality. There are dozens of free and cheap sites designed to boost new ideas, but not all of them are best for your idea. Here’s how to pick the best one for you.

Sites like Kickstarter and many others all cater to people with ideas they believe can make it big, but who need money to get them off the ground. The community supports the idea, everyone chips in, and with luck and enough interest and the right amount of money, the product gets made and the contributors usually get first cut or a special perk. Still, even though Kickstarter gets a lot of press, it’s not necessarily the best one for your idea.

Photo remixed with an original by dinadesign/Shutterstock.

The Best Sites to Raise Money and Get Your Ideas Off the Ground

For The Most Attention: Kickstarter

Kickstarter is the major player in this space, and for good reason. The service gets a lot of media attention, and even though the majority of Kickstarter projects don’t go anywhere, it’s become the go-to destination for anyone looking to crowd-fund their projects thanks to a few high-profile projects that managed to raise a lot of money. It’s not the biggest crowd-funding community, and it’s not even the one with the best track record, but it’s incredibly easy to use, popular with angel investors and people looking for the next big idea to invest in and get behind, and well organized. Idea creators can set up their profiles for free, founders can pledge as much or as little as they choose, and no money changes hands until time runs out or the project is fully-funded. If the project is fully funded, Kickstarter takes 5% off the top, and the rest goes to the inventor or creator to make their idea happen.

The Best Sites to Raise Money and Get Your Ideas Off the Ground

For App-Builders, Game Designers, and Developers: IndieGoGo

IndieGoGo is actually larger than Kickstarter, and more people there use it for more types of projects. The site takes 4% off the top of your fundraising if you reach your funding goal, and encourages creators and developers to offer perks to the community for funding their projects. Unlike some of its competition, IndieGoGo also has its doors open to charities and non-profits. The site is particularly popular with software and app developers, although all sorts of creative projects are up on the site for funding, including documentary and independant films, education projects, and international aid projects. IndieGoGo also has the benefit of being a global site, available to users around the world.

The Best Sites to Raise Money and Get Your Ideas Off the Ground

For Inventors and Gadget Creators: Quirky

Quirky has an excellent track record, and some of our favorite gadgets started as Quirky ideas. The process of getting your idea in front of the Quirky community is a bit more involved than at other sites. You submit your idea, the community weighs in first on whether or not it’s an idea that could be made into an actual product before it goes in front of the world for fundraising. That’s the key, while other sites focus on creative endeavors, most Quirky projects are tangible products that can be manufactured and sold. The Quirky community is active and engaged in idea building and product design and development, and a lot goes on long before the idea ever gets on the site for presale fundraising. Pricing is on a sliding scale—people who get in early can get lower prices than people who get in later, and once the product is made, Quirky can work to manufacture it themselves, or work with a major retail partner to get it on store shelves everywhere.

The Best Sites to Raise Money and Get Your Ideas Off the Ground

For Musicians: Bandcamp

We touched on this topic a bit in our previous story on how to release music online so music-lovers can get to it, but while SoundCloud was one of our favorite options for releasing your music for free, allowing people to remix it, and comment on it, Bandcamp is another great solution for musicians looking to set up a free storefront on the web to allow people to buy and download their music directly. Artists and fans both love Bandcamp, and the service handles the entire payment platform, from set-your-own-price albums and songs to artists with a mix of free and paid songs in their discography. Artists can also sell merchandise through their stores, and Bandcamp takes a slice off the top depending on the artist’s sales. Fans and music lovers on the other hand get a social platform where they can follow and interact with their favorite artists, get alerts when new music is released, and discover new artists through their friends.

The Best Sites to Raise Money and Get Your Ideas Off the Ground

For Crafty Types: Etsy

Crafty types are already well aware of Etsy and how the platform works. When people who made their own hand-made goods, arts, and custom crafts wanted an online storefront that catered more to their needs than a general auction site like eBay, Etsy was born. The site has dozens of categories, including clothing, art, jewelry, household accessories, and more. While most people know Etsy as a craft-lovers haven, the site is also home to a number of stores that manufacture products you wouldn’t associate with “arts and crafts,” like wall decals, custom motorcycle helmets, and even edible crafts like homemade cookies and beef jerky. Where other similar sites help you get seed money for an idea, Etsy is more of a traditional store, meaning you have to have your idea off the ground and your product ready for sale—even if it’s a single item—before you can sell it.

The Best Sites to Raise Money and Get Your Ideas Off the Ground

For Global Users: RocketHub

Many of these sites limit their membership to users in the United States, but RocketHub is one of the largest global communities dedicated to crowd-funding new ideas. RocketHub combines a traditional crowd-funding site where individuals can promote and raise money for their own ideas and pet projects with a funding bank where people with inspired ideas can connect with sponsors, non-profits, and funding groups who are willing to share some cash with a particularly motivated or passionate individual. The service works much like Kickstarter or IndieGoGo—sign-ups are free, and the site takes a 4% cut.

Different crowd-funding sites have different goals and different audiences. Depending on the type of idea you have and the audience you want to reach, you have an array of sites to choose from, and this is just the beginning. For example, if you have a random request or want to get the crowd’s help in funding a life event like a wedding or a vacation, you can try GoGetFunding, and if you’re an industrial designer, Yanko Design is a great resource for like-minded designers.

Whichever site you choose to get your ideas off the ground, make sure it’s one where the community is aligned with and supportive of your ideas, and you’ll have no trouble raising the funds needed to make it a reality. Have you used any of these sites to crowd-fund a project or idea? Share your experiences in the comments below.

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Tuesday, February 7th, 2012 Uncategorized No Comments

Not Enough Data To Explain Why Doctors Are Leaving Medicare



The government is having a hard time conducting a full review of physicians who have opted out of medicare, according to a memo released last week by the Department of Health and Human Services. 

The evaluation sought to answer what type of physicians opted out, whether the number of physicians opting out increased or decreased over time, and why the physicians chose to opt out. 

According to deputy inspector general Stuart Wright, the evaluation was not completed because Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), Medicare Administrative Contractors (MACs) and legacy carriers do not maintain sufficient data

While CMS provided the Office of Inspector General (OIG) with 7,900 providers ranging from 1998 to March 2011, only one out of 10 MACs and one of six legacy carriers provided OIG with all data elements required by CMS. Consequently, the OIG claimed it could not sample opted out physicians and interview them. 

The memo implied that the number of physicians opting out will increase in the future, considering “the potential for legislated decreases in Medicare reimbursement for physician services. ” It briefly references a 2011 August report published by the Texas Medical Association, which reported that 50 percent of Texas physicians are considering dropping out of Medicare program altogether. 

This trend is nothing new. TMA has released another report in March 2011 that showed that 34 percent of Texas doctors are not accepting new Medicare patients or have limited the number of doctors. Similarly, a report by AARP released in February 2010 surveyed 413 Idaho physicians and found that 17 percent have completely closed their practices to new Medicare patients.

The Physicians’ Foundation has published numerous reports on the topic. A 2008 survey reported that 12 percent of physicians have closed their practices to Medicare patients and the 2010 survey reported that 52.2 percent of physicians said that health reform would cause them to “close or significantly restrict their practices to Medicare patients.”

Now See: Why doctors are loosing money >

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The lessons take you through your topic of choice in video form, explain everything in clear and precise terms, and award you badges as you make your way through. If you’re willing to pay extra, you’ll also get access to project videos which will take you through the process of creating real-world projects from start to finish. I’ve been meaning to improve my pathetic Objective C skills and learn to develop for iOS but had yet to come across a set of lessons I really liked. After watching a few at Treehouse I was pretty hooked. If you’ve been looking to pick up one of these valuable skills as well, their lessons are definitely worth checking out.

Note: I made an error and initially thought Treehouse was free. First, sorry for the misleading information! Second, we still think it’s pretty nice. Pricing is $25/month for basic access and $49/month for premium. (More information here.) That’s about on par with our other favorite, Lynda. Lynda offers you far more topics but Treehouse has a nice focus (and, at the moment, a more up-to-date iOS course). Sorry again that I completely missed the cost of the service, but it’s still pretty cool and worth a look if it’s within your budget.


You can follow Adam Dachis, the author of this post, on Twitter, Google+, and Facebook.  Twitter’s the best way to contact him, too.

drag2share – drag and drop RSS news items on your email contacts to share (click SEE DEMO)

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Wednesday, November 9th, 2011 news No Comments

Delicious Returns From the Dead With Some New Bookmarking Features in Tow [Video]


The social bookmarking site Delicious is back. Those who loved saving their favorite links to a public (or private) profile page will find that experience unchanged. But there’s a new central focus to Delicious. It’s called Stacks.

Stacks is a quick and easy way for users to compile a focused list of links to share. While there’s no limitations to what your list can contain, the idea is that people will pick a theme/topic and run with it. You supply the links, Delicious takes care of the formatting and presentation for you. They believe that navigating through stacks, as opposed to navigating through personal profile, will make exploration and discovery on the internet much more meaningful.

According to AllThingsD, YouTube creators (and former bosses), Chad Hurley and Steve Chen favor human curation over the quasi-random, algorithm-driven presentation of links. And while Stacks is what they’ve decided to focus on right now, they say more features are coming (I hope that will include the ability to embed stacks on other sites). For now, Delicious looks like a good way to get lost in the internet for while when you have nothing better to do. [Delicious via AllThingsD]

Delicious Returns From the Dead With Some New Bookmarking Features in Tow
Delicious Returns From the Dead With Some New Bookmarking Features in Tow
Delicious Returns From the Dead With Some New Bookmarking Features in Tow

drag2share – drag and drop RSS news items on your email contacts to share (click SEE DEMO)

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Tuesday, September 27th, 2011 news No Comments

AdAge: Web-Tracking Research Emerging From Surveys’ Shadow

As Social-Media Continues to Grow, Marketers Place More Emphasis on Listening to Consumers

BATAVIA, Ohio ( — Replacing “asking” with “listening” has been a hot topic at market-research conferences for the past couple of years. But now some researchers are finally doing more than talking — they’re taking steps toward replacing surveys with web tracking.


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Wednesday, April 7th, 2010 news No Comments

Aardvark Publishes A Research Paper Offering Unprecedented Insights Into Social Search


research1 Aardvark Publishes A Research Paper Offering Unprecedented Insights Into Social SearchIn 1998, Larry Page and Sergey Brin published a paper[PDF] titled Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Search Engine, in which they outlined the core technology behind Google and the theory behind PageRank. Now, twelve years after that paper was published, the team behind social search engine Aardvark has drafted its own research paper that looks at the social side of search. Dubbed Anatomy of a Large-Scale Social Search Engine, the paper has just been accepted to WWW2010, the same conference where the classic Google paper was published.

Aardvark will be posting the paper in its entirety on its official blog at 9 AM PST, and they gave us the chance to take a sneak peek at it. It’s an interesting read to say the least, outlining some of the fundamental principles that could turn Aardvark and other social search engines into powerful complements to Google and its ilk. The paper likens Aardvark to a ‘Village’ search model, where answers come from the people in your social network; Google is part of ‘Library’ search, where the answers lie in already-written texts. The paper is well worth reading in its entirety (and most of it is pretty accessible), but here are some key points:

  • On traditional search engines like Google, the ‘long-tail’ of information can be acquired with the use of very thorough crawlers. With Aardvark, a breadth of knowledge is totally reliant on how many knowledgeable users are on the service. This leads Aardvark to conclude that “the strategy for increasing the knowledge base of Aardvark crucially involves creating a good experience for users so that they remain active and are inclined to invite their friends”. This will likely be one of Aardvark’s greatest challenges.
  • Beyond asking you about the topics you’re most familiar with, Aardvark will actually look at your past blog posts, existing online profiles, and tweets to identify what topics you know about.
  • If you seem to know about a topic and your friends do too, the system assumes you’re more knowledgeable than if you were the only one in a group of friends to know about that topic.
  • Aardvark concludes that while the amount of trust users place in information on engines like Google is related to a source website’s authority, the amount they trust a source on Aardvark is based on intimacy, and how they’re connected to the person giving them information
  • Some parts of the search process are actually easier for Aardvark’s technology than they are for traditional search engines. On Google, when you type in a query, the engine has to pair you up with exact websites that hold the answer to your query. On Aardvark, it only has to pair you with a person who knows about the topic — it doesn’t have to worry about actually finding the answer, and can be more flexible with how the query is worded.
  • aardvarkqs Aardvark Publishes A Research Paper Offering Unprecedented Insights Into Social Search

  • As of October 2009, Aardvark had 90,361 users, of whom 55.9% had created content (asked or answered a question). The site’s average query volume was 3,167.2 questions per day, with the median active user asking 3.1 questions per month. Interestingly, mobile users are more active than desktop users. The Aardvark team attributes this to users wanting quick, short answers on their phones without having to dig for anything. They also think people are more used to using more natural language patterns on their phones.
  • The average query length was 18.6 words (median of 13) versus 2.2-2.9 words on a standard search engine.  Some of this difference comes from the more natural language people use (with words like “a”, “the”, and “if”).  It’s also because people tend to add more context to their queries, with the knowledge that it will be read by a human and will likely lead to a better answer.
  • 98.1% of questions asked on Aardvark were unique, compared with between 57 and 63% on traditional search engines.
  • 87.7% of questions submitted were answered, and nearly 60% of them were answered within 10 minutes.  The median answering time was 6 minutes and 37 seconds, with the average question receiving two answers.  70.4% of answers were deemed to be ‘good’, with 14.1% as ‘OK’ and 15.5% were rated as bad.
  • 86.7% of Aardvark users had been asked by Aardvark to answer a question, of whom 70% actually looked at the question and 38% could answer.  50% of all members had answered a question (including 75% of all users who had ever actually interacted with the site), though 20% of users accounted for 85% of answers.
Information provided by CrunchBase

 Aardvark Publishes A Research Paper Offering Unprecedented Insights Into Social Search
 Aardvark Publishes A Research Paper Offering Unprecedented Insights Into Social Search

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Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010 digital No Comments

Even Major Sites are Not Yet Benefiting From the Full Power of Search

@glenngabe‘s post on  FaceYahoogle – The Impact of Facebook, Yahoo, and Google on Website Traffic inspired me to also look at the search terms driving traffic.  Most sites, even major ones have their own brand terms driving traffic. This is OK, but it is taking significantly less advantage of the full power of search.A more ideal scenario for sites is that they have a large number of non-brand terms driving traffic — i.e. the keywords they want to be known for are driving traffic to them.  The premise is that if the user already knew the brand or brand name, it would be redundant for the advertiser to spend awareness ad dollars on them. The advertiser wants to get users to their site who do not already know their brand name.  This is especially true for pharma drug websites, as you will see in the following examples.


These sites have such a diverse set of products, services, or topics, we don’t expect the top search terms driving traffic to be anything other than their brand terms.  But they should have a long tail of thousands of keywords driving traffic (and they are, in the following examples).





These sites focus on specific product categories, so one would expect that they should have keywords around their product category driving traffic — e.g. clothing, chocolate, wine, etc.  But as you can see, most don’t and the total number of keywords driving traffic could be larger than it is now (implying more long tail keywords). – clothing

jcrew – computers, consumer electronics, iPod, music

apple – chocolate

godiva – clothing, women’s



Such sites should be all over search terms that surround the topic areas that they want to be known for. But as you see from the analytics, most don’t. Instead, the top terms driving traffic are their own brand name. Again, if the user already knew the brand, additional advertising would be wasted on them. The sites need to make efforts to “own” additional keywords (or at least “show up at the party”) so people who don’t know the brand name might still have a chance finding them when they type in other keywords surrounding the specific niche.

Sutent (Pfizer) – cancer drug


Nucynta (J0hnson & Johnson) – pain drug


Spiriva (Boehringer Ingelheim, Pfizer) – COPD drug

NOTE: This is the best of the bunch of drug sites.  COPD, the disease area they want to be known for, does actually show up in the first 5 search terms driving traffic, along with emphysema and their product name handihaler. Also, notice they have nearly 10 times the number of keywords driving traffic compared to the other 2 drugs cited (65 vs 7 or 8 )


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Sunday, December 6th, 2009 digital 1 Comment

Dr. Augustine Fou is Digital Consigliere to marketing executives, advising them on digital strategy and Unified Marketing(tm). Dr Fou has over 17 years of in-the-trenches, hands-on experience, which enables him to provide objective, in-depth assessments of their current marketing programs and recommendations for improving business impact and ROI using digital insights.

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