Here’s something fun: a website called Sidekick which aims to predict whether Kickstarter crowdfunding projects will succeed or fail within hours of their launch. It’s the work of a team of researchers at Swiss university EPFL, who crunch data including Twitter interest, previous projects backed by supporters and the number of first-time backers to predict whether projects will be hits or misses. “The model reaches 85% accuracy after only 10% of the campaign,” researcher Vincent Etter tells The Guardian. “The accuracy is of course close to 100% near the end of the campaign, but this is pretty useless, as there is not much you can do at that point.” Well, quite. Sidekick makes interesting viewing, but its real usefulness comes in providing lessons to help creators succeed. Social networking appears to be the key: “Once it has launched, you should try to maintain some activity on social networks,” says Etter. “This sounds trivial, but generating tweets about your project, by sharing updates, engaging backers, etc., is the best way to create attention and ultimately get people to back your project.”

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