Arsenio Hall's campaign to buy the Clippers is everything that's wrong with Indiegogo

By James Robinson , written on May 20, 2014

From The News Desk

Last night, Arsenio Hall launched a campaign on Indiegogo for $1 billion to buy the Los Angeles Clippers. It’s a slight, rushed, joke of a page, with about 500 words of text, a few slapped together graphics and a 90-second video with some cheap graphics and Arsenio Hall's juvenile riffing about buying the Clippers.

It’s a typical Indiegogo campaign -- cheap and quick. It’s a gag and a publicity stunt, but Indiegogo doesn’t judge or gatekeep so it’s allowed to go up and start raising money immediately, even if a) it is patently ridiculous and b) the Clippers are expected by some to sell for more than $1 billion.  Arsenio Hall has opted for a flexible funding model so he gets to keep every dollar thrown into the hat for the doomed cause.

As a caveat, credit needs to be applied where it is due: if Hall’s campaign is unsuccessful every dollar will be given to the NAACP.

But here’s the thing, Hall’s campaign won’t be successful. So in essence, Indiegogo is running a fundraising campaign for the NAACP, masquerading as a headline grabbing crowdfunding campaign.

Which isn’t the worst thing in the world, but it’s all a perfect example of the corner Indiegogo is painting itself into: an anything goes world where stunts and junk water down the worthwhile causes, where campaigns can get live in seconds, no matter how feeble, taking home every dollar they’re given and giving Indiegogo its cut.

It was a mixed day of news for Indiegogo. This morning, it announced a strange new fundraising round stacked with superstar investors like Sir Richard Branson, Max Levchin, and Megan Smith. CEO Slava Rubin said that the investment round was mostly to bring in their expertise in as advisors, with Branson for instance offering marketing and branding savvy.

It's an odd round for a company that is five years old and has already raised north of $50 million. It reads more like a seed round than a follow up to a $40 million series B. And if Levchin, Smith, Branson et all were brought in as advisors, why not make them.... advisors?

Then again, maybe we should just be pleased that Indiegogo is listening to someone.