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Constellation Games Bonus Commentary #1: "The Time Somn Died" >

Zombies of Kickstarter: Many Month of Kickstarter projects are still going on, but since July is over I can present some interesting statistics about the projects that were started during MoK. Today I'll share the most basic graphs and take a look at the zombie invasion of Kickstarter.

My dataset includes 3758 projects for July. The first thing I need to say is that that is not every project that went live during July. I missed at least 50 projects, probably more. I'll explain how this happened in a minute, but first take a look at this graph, which shows how many Kickstarter projects launched on each day of July:

As I noticed while doing MoK, we see big numbers in the middle of the week, big downswings coming into weekends and the Independence Day holiday. This fits with what the Kickstarter FAQ says:

Once your project is submitted to us for a guidelines review, it will take us a day or two to get back to you (longer over the weekends).

But, I have a question for people who have started Kickstarter projects: once the project is approved, do you flip the switch to put it live? Or does it go live as soon as it's approved? I can't find the answer in the FAQ, and the answer greatly affects how I should read these graphs.

Anyway, let's zoom in and look at the data on an hourly time scale:

There's a noticeable low-pass filter cutting in at fifteen projects per hour. That's how I discovered I was missing projects. See, my script samples the "new projects" page four times an hour, and that page lists fifteen projects. If more than fifteen projects are approved/go live in a fifteen-minute period, I'll miss some of those projects. I originally thought this wouldn't be a big deal, but it seems to be a medium-sized deal.

(For this reason, @CrowdBoardGames isn't guaranteed to list every single board game project. A spot check against Kicktraq's board games page didn't show any discrepancies, but maybe Kicktraq has the same problem, I dunno.)

So, I don't have all the projects, but I do have a representative sample. On the left, you'll see the category makeup of all Kickstarter projects, according to Kickstarter's stats page. On the right you'll see the category makeup of the projects I gathered during July. They're nearly identical.

All-time category makeup MoK 2012 category makeup

There's a little less film in my sample, a little more fashion and comics and games. This might be random variation, seasonal variation, or a change in how Kickstarter is used over time.

Here's the graph of when Kickstarter projects go live. The X axis is the hour of the day, Eastern time. I think this is just a measurement of when the people who review the projects are at work, but who knows. I think that local maximum at 4 AM is interesting.

Now I'm ready to tackle the first real issue: zombie projects. There are so many zombie-themed projects on Kickstarter it makes me sick with a zombification virus. How many zombie projects in the MoK dataset? I'm glad you asked: there are forty-six. 1.2% of all Kickstarter projects are projects about zombies.

Here's the projects-by-day graph for projects that mention "zombie" in their title or description:

(This does not include Bootleggers -Prohibition Era Board Game (sorry no Zombies!), since that project launched in June.)

1.2% may not seem like a lot, but it means you could do a Month of Kickstarter project and back only zombie-themed projects every day. But no, 1.2% isn't actually a lot. Why does it feel like more?

Forty-six projects is a lot by comparison with other nerd button-pushes. July saw only twelve vampire-themed projects, four pirate-themed projects, and ten that mentioned some kind of "alien". There were only fourteen "robot" projects, and three of those were actual robots. I made fun of all the Slender Man projects in July, but there were only four of those.

The category breakdown for the zombie projects has another answer:

The zombies are disproportionately concentrated in the categories I most pay attention to: books (8 projects), movies (20), and games (8). Music, a huge category I basically ignore because it takes too long to judge the projects, was threatened by only a single hip-hop zombie.

Once July's projects complete I'll be going back through the data and seeing if zombie-themed projects raise more money than comparable non-zombie projects. In the meantime, do you have any similar pet peeves? Let me know. I can determine how prevalent they really are.

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