Crowdfunding — the idea of getting lots of people to donate small amounts of cash for a particular project or organization — has been around since long before the Internet.
The concept has been used for everything from public radio pledge drives to helping families with medical bills.
With advances in technology, however, crowdfunding has become a popular way to raise money for just about any purpose, from an art project to a video game startup.
To date, there have been two distinct ways of using electronic crowdfunding. One is using websites like Kickstarter or Indiegogo, where people funding an idea get something in return for their money. For example, the developers of Pebble Smartwatch raised more than $10 million by offering investors the first batches of watches once they were manufactured, and at a discount.
(H/T Matthew Begemann)