Frequently Asked Questions

What's this all about?

Your opinion is valuable, use it to make things happen. On DemandVille, your opinion can be used to make new products and services that are sold all over the world... and you'll be the first to get them.

Companies, designers, engineers, and other makers want to make the things you want. Using DemandVille, you can tell makers what products and services to make and you can get those products and services before anyone else.

From the maker perspective, DemandVille provides a great platform for concept development, concept testing, and selling the resulting new products and services. Everyone wins.

What is a project?

A project is the DemandVille word for a product or service idea posted on the site for feedback and potential pre-orders.

How do “features” work?

“Features” specify details about the project. Some features can be posted by the maker when the project is initially posted. Additional features can be proposed by trendsetters. Trendsetters can also suggest that certain features be removed.

Participating in a Campaign

I found a cool project on the site, but I have suggestions for how to make it even better. Is it appropriate to post my suggestions?

Absolutely, and this is encouraged. Any help you can give the maker will go a long way to making the resulting product as good as possible.

Is there anything I shouldn’t post?

Any comments we deem inappropriate will be deleted. Criticism that is not constructive is not allowed and will be deleted. We want to promote an environment where all projects are welcome.

Note that we will also delete any comments which are lewd, cruel, or otherwise inappropriate.

What is the "pre-order period”?

The pre-order period for a project is the period in which trendsetters can suggest new project features, comment on the project, and pre-order the project's associated product or service.

How does pre-ordering work?

A trendsetter wishing to pre-order a product or service posted on the site may specify his/her own maximum “willing to pay” price. The price you are willing to pay need not be correlated with the price others are willing to pay and, since everyone winds up paying the same price for the product or service in the end, there is no penalty for overbidding.

How do conditional pre-orders work?

Conditional pre-ordering is a novel way to influence products and services. You can pre-order with the condition that certain features are added, changed, or removed. Although credit card information is taken, you only pay for a pre-order if the maker agrees to make your suggested modifications.

Why do I need to submit my credit card information for my pre-order?

Although you will never be charged unless the maker agrees to make your product, the maker still needs Stripe to securely get your credit card info. If a maker decides to create a product for you, they will need to know they'll get paid for it. Especially for products that must be manufactured, makers may need significant capital in order to start production. We don't want them to have to chase down individual customers to get that capital. Our goal is to simplify the maker experience as much as possible so that the maker can concentrate on one thing: making awesome products.

Your Price vs. the Maker's Unit Price

The maker set the price at $50, but I said I would pay as much as $80. What happens?

When a final price is set by a maker, this is the price that everyone will pay. If you offered $80 and the price is set at $50, you will pay $50 and $30 will be placed into an account for you on the site. This $30 can be used to pre-order other products and services on the site, for buying products and services with price premiums, for paying fees charged by third party payment systems, or for paying shipping charges for products pre-ordered on the site that are physical in nature.

The maker set the price at $50, but I only said I'd be willing to pay $40. What happens?

Your offer represents the maximum amount you are willing to pay for a project's associated product or service. If you say you are only willing to pay $40 and the price is set at $50, it will be assumed that this price is higher than you are willing to pay. Your $40 will be placed in an account on the site and the maker is not obligated to provide you with the product / service.

I changed my mind about the maximum price I am willing to pay. What do I do?

Until the pre-order period concludes, you may change your pre-order as often as you would like. After this declaration, you must abide by your pre-order.

I pre-ordered and paid for a product, but no longer want it. Can I change my mind and get a refund?

Note that you can't actually pay for a pre-order until the pre-order period ends and the maker declares he/she will make the product. You can cancel a pre-order anytime up until the end of the pre-order period. After this declaration, you must abide by your pre-order.

Can I still buy a product or service after pre-ordering has been closed?

It depends on what the maker wants to do. Once a maker declares an end to the pre-order period for a product or service, he may still choose to sell the product or service through the site. Note that all products or services sold on the site after the bidding period are subject to a price premium over and above the maker's declared unit price (unless you had previously pre-ordered the project). For those wishing to avoid paying a price premium, it is to your advantage to pre-order before the pre-order period ends.

I like how DemandVille has a bulletin board for all the trendsetters to post comments and suggestions for improving projects. I also like how DemandVille sends me an email every time a new comment is posted on bulletin boards corresponding to the products I pre-ordered. The only problem is my inbox is getting flooded. Is it possible to turn off the email notifications?

It is indeed. You can also change the frequency of the emails to once/day or once/week, if you’d still like to get emails, but just fewer emails. To change your notification settings on desktop, click on your profile image in the top right hand corner and choose "Notification Settings." To change your notification settings on mobile, go to your profile, click "Edit Profile", and then go to the notifications tab.

Posting a Project

I have a project I'm working on. What are some good reasons to post it on DemandVille?

DemandVille is a great platform for concept development and concept testing. Once your project is posted on the site, users can validate or invalidate your suggested features and collaboratively develop new features for your product / service. DemandVille is a great way to use the masses to help you both validate and improve your current set of product / service features.

DemandVille approaches concept development and concept testing in a new way. Traditionally, market research involves customer surveys on what they claim they want, but unfortunately this differs from what people would actually buy. As a result, such market research can be plagued by false positives.

DemandVille obtains feedback via actual pre-orders that are conditional on a user's preferred features. Our users know that if their preferred features are satisfied, then their pre-orders will be binding. This results in much more reliable customer feedback.

What kinds of projects can I submit?

Any product or service-related project.

Does DemandVille ever reject projects?

DemandVille reserves the right to reject projects we believe to be inappropriate or will reflect badly on the site. If someone claims ownership of another person's intellectual property, this is also grounds for project rejection.

How do I know if my features are descriptive enough?

Follow our guidelines and do the best you can. As trendsetters get on board with your project, they'll post feedback on the features and description which will help you refine you project further.

What else do I need to submit besides features and a description?

You should submit a duration for the pre-order period, a suggested retail price (optional), an estimated delivery date for pre-orders (should you decide to complete the project), and whether you want to continue to sell units at the end of the pre-order period. All information can be changed after the project is posted.

We suggest you also add an image representing your project, but it is not required.

What is the “pre-order period”?

The pre-order period for a project is the period in which trendsetters can suggest new project features, comment on the project, and pre-order the project's associated product or service.

How do I decide my “suggested unit price”?

Very carefully! Trendsetters interested in the same product will look at your suggested retail price for guidance when setting their personal maximum “willing to pay” prices. Note that you can also change your suggested unit price up until your declared end of the pre-order period.

Any other advice for posting my project?

Few people will support a project that only applies to you. It is to your advantage to keep your project more general and open to customization.

Maintaining a Project

What happens after the pre-order period?

After the bidding period has ended for a particular project, you (the maker) get to decide whether there is enough interest in the project to justify executing the project or not. If so, you must provide the price per unit and information describing which features will be fulfilled. You must of course also deliver the product or service to those who have binding pre-orders.

How do I make money on DemandVille?

For every sale made on DemandVille, the maker posting the new project gets 95% of the sale price in exchange for fulfilling the order.

Pre-Orders are one type of sale that can be made on . Pre-Orders that must be fulfilled are those which: 1.) have an associated pre-order per unit greater than or equal to the maker's declared unit price and 2.) all conditional features associated with the pre-orders have been guaranteed by the maker. For pre-orders that must be fulfilled, the maker will collect 95% of the selling price and must ship a product to the trendsetter pre-ordering the product.

The other type of sales that can be made on DemnadVille are price premium sales. For makers that wish to continue to sell their product or service after the conclusion of the pre-order period, additional trendsetters can buy the product or service for the maker's declared unit price plus a 20% price premium (the price premium goes to DemandVille). Once again, the maker posting the project gets 95% of the selling price and must deliver the product or service to the trendsetter who ordered it.

What are conditional features?

Certain pre-orders for a project may come with conditional features. Trendsetters can make a conditional pre-order such that their pre-order is only binding on the condition that certain features are added, changed, or removed.

I see that trendsetters can pledge different amounts. How does that work?

When you offer to fill the project for $X per unit, all the people who pledged less than $X will drop out of the deal. Our pages include statistics that show the relationship between the price you set for each unit and the amount of money you will receive for selling at that price. Most makers will likely set the price in order to make as much money as possible, however you may have other concerns (example: you are trying to maximize the total NUMBER of sales rather than the amount of money you make by selling).

Note: You are not receiving any money on behalf of the drop-outs, so you do not have to supply units to those that drop out.

Physical products: How does shipping work?

Makers may ask for additional money above and beyond the selling price in order to ship a product, but the maker is not allowed to overcharge for this service. Combined shipping and handling fees cannot exceed 25% above postage.

What if something disastrous happens and I am unable to fulfill the pre-orders placed through DemandVille?

If you cannot fulfill the pre-orders, you are legally obligated to return all the money you received as the result of those purchasing through DemandVille.

Tell me more about selling my posted project on DemandVille after the pre-order period ends.

Although not required, makers that wish to continue to sell their product or service after the pre-order period can do so. Additional trendsetters will be able to buy the product or service for the maker's declared unit price plus a 20% price premium (the price premium goes to DemandVille). Once again, the maker posting the project gets 95% of the selling price and must deliver the product or service to the trendsetter who ordered it. Note that you must actually submit a price per unit and information describing which features will be fulfilled before additional sales can be made.

I plan to fulfill pre-orders, but I don't want to take any more orders after the pre-order period ends. Once I fulfill all the pre-orders received through the DemandVille site, do I have any further obligation to DemandVille?

Not unless you've elected to continue selling your product or service through DemandVille.

Note that each project posted on DemandVille is covered by its own agreement, so if you have other posted projects you may still have obligations to DemandVille for those projects as well.

Can I sell multiple versions of my project?

Yes! By the end of the campaign you may have users wanting conflicting feature sets. Here's how to split up your project by price and features:

  1. When your campaign is over, visit your project and prepare to finalize it.
  2. Above the "Collect Pre-Orders" button, select the radio button for "Create an alternate project with remaining trendsetters..."
  3. Click the “Collect Pre-Orders" button to collect pre-orders for the currently visible version of the project.
  4. An alternate version of the project now appears. Pre-Orders that were not compatible with the previous campaign will be in this alternate project. Select the features for this alternate project.
  5. Repeat from step 2 if you want to create yet another version of your project. Otherwise, if you’re finished making alternate versions, just click the “Collect Pre-Orders" button to collect pre-orders for the currently visible alternate version of the project.

NOTE: After the campaign is over, you can still split your project by pressing the "Split This Project" button while editing. This can be useful if you continue selling after the campaign.

Delivering after the Campaign

How do I deliver physical products to trendsetters?

After you collect bids, you can click on the "X trendsetters" link on your project, and your list of trendsetters will now include the mailing addresses.

How do I factor in shipping and handling?

You can specify a per-unit shipping and handling fee in your details. For now we're keeping things simple: one rate, domestic (U.S.) only.

How do I deliver an app?

The simplest way is to have them purchase the app and then refund it, either through your platform store or directly. Refunding through the store could prevent them from getting updates, however. Here are some platform-specific options:

iOS: Apple has "content codes" that you can provide your customers to download your app. Read more about it here.

Android: Google doesn't have such a voucher system to our knowledge. That being said, with Android you can simply send the .apk file directly to your customers.

Selling Outside of DemandVille

I don't like that I only get 95% of the pot. Couldn't I just tell trendsetters to buy directly from me?

Since DemandVille is meant for concept development and concept testing, many makers find it valuable to introduce a project on DemandVille and accept 95% of the pot until their project is finalized. Once finalized, makers may continue to sell on DemandVille or sell through other channels.

Feedback-only Projects

What’s different about feedback-only projects?

If you don’t want to collect pre-orders, but just collect feedback, you can create a “Collecting feedback only (no pre-orders)” project.

If you select this type of project, no monetary information will be collected. This means:

  1. You will not be asked to estimate your price per unit, your retail price, or your shipping costs
  2. Trendsetters visiting your project will not be given the opportunity to specify how much they might be willing to pay for your project, nor will they be asked to enter credit card information
  3. Minimal metrics: You will not be able to see how much money you are guaranteed to make by offering different features or different price points

You will still be able to see how many trendsetters considered your suggested features to be “can’t have”, “don’t care”, or “must have”. Trendsetters can also still suggest their own features.

What kinds of projects can I submit?

Any product or service-related project.

Does DemandVille ever reject projects?

DemandVille reserves the right to reject projects we believe to be inappropriate or will reflect badly on the site. If someone claims ownership of another person's intellectual property, this is also grounds for project rejection.

How do I know if my features are descriptive enough?

Follow our guidelines and do the best you can. As trendsetters get on board with your project, they'll post feedback on the features and description, which will help you refine your project further.

What else do I need to submit besides features and a description?

We suggest you also add an image representing your project, though it is not required.

Any other advice for posting my project?

Few people will support an project that only applies to you. It is to your advantage to keep your project more general and open to customization.

What are the terms of service? Who gets paid and how much do they get?

Terms of service can be found here. For every sale made on DemandVille, the maker posting the project gets 95% of the sale price in exchange for fulfilling the order.

Pre-Orders are one type of sale that can be made on DemandVille. Pre-Orders that must be fulfilled are those which: 1.) have an associated pre-order per unit greater than or equal to the maker's declared unit price and 2.) all conditional features associated with the pre-order have been guaranteed by the maker. For pre-orders that must be fulfilled, the maker will collect 95% of the selling price and must ship a product to the trendsetter pre-ordering the product.

The other type of sales that can be made on DemandVille are price premium sales. For makers that wish to continue to sell their product or service after the conclusion of the pre-order period, additional trendsetters can buy the product or service for the maker's declared unit price plus a price premium. Once again, the maker posting the project gets 95% of the selling price and must deliver the associated product or service to the trendsetter who ordered it.

For sales made on the DemandVille site, DemandVille gets 5% of the sale price and 100% of the price premium.

What it mean to “have an associated pre-order per unit greater than or equal to the maker's declared unit price”?

Trendsetters may have different personal maximums they are willing to pay for a pre-order, but in the end, everyone will pay the same price (if the maker decides to offer the given product or service). No money is collected if the maker does not choose to offer the product or service.

The unit price paid by all trendsetters is the maker's declared unit price.

When is the declared unit price determined?

If the maker posting the project decides to offer the associated product or service, the declared unit price will be determined at the end of the pre-order period. Based on the distribution of pre-orders (i.e. the number of trendsetters pre-ordering at different price points), the cost of production, and other factors, the maker decides what the delcared unit price will be.

The unit price paid by all trendsetters is the maker's declared unit price. Note that no money is collected if the maker does not choose to offer the product or service.

What is the transaction fee?

Stripe charges 2.9% of the transaction + 30 cents. Read more on Stripe's website.

What is “the pot” and how is it determined?

”The pot” refers to the total amount of money raised by pre-order sales of the product through the DemandVille.com website. The pot is not completely determined until the selling price of the product is set.

Trendsetters name the maximum price they will pay for the product. Based on these prices (and the cost of production and other factors), the maker decides what the selling price of the product or service will be.

If a trendsetter was not willing to pay the selling price, their money will be completely refunded (refunded into their account on the site) and removed from the pot. For the remaining trendsetters, everyone will pay the selling price. For anyone willing to pay more than the selling price, the excess amount paid will be refunded (refunded into their account on the site). The pot is the money remaining in the pot after the refunds.

What are conditional features?

Certain pre-orders for a project may come with conditional features. Trendsetters can make a conditional pre-order such that their pre-order is only binding on the condition that certain features are added, changed, or removed.

What is the “pre-order period”?

The pre-order period for a project is the period in which trendsetters can suggest new project features, comment on the project, and pre-order the project's associated product or service.

How are underbids and overbids handled?

There is no penalty for overbidding. For any given product or service, everyone pays the same amount to receive it. Trendsetters not willing to pay the selling price (underbidders) will not get the product or service they pre-ordered. Their money will be placed into an account on the site and can be used for pre-ordering other products and services on the site, for buying products and services with price premiums, for paying fees charged by third party payment systems, or for paying shipping charges for products pre-ordered on the site that are physical in nature. For the remaining purchasers, everyone will pay the selling price. For any trendsetter willing to pay more than the selling price (overbidders), the excess overbid amount will be placed into that trendsetter's account on the site.

Hardware-specific: Product pre-orders can come from anywhere in the world so shipping can be very expensive. Are shipping costs included in the pot or can a maker ask for additional money for shipping costs?

A maker is allowed to ask for additional money in order to ship a product, but he is not allowed to overcharge for this service. Combined shipping and handling fees cannot exceed 25% above postage. Anyone who is charged more than the maximum allowable amount for shipping should contact DemandVille immediately.

I found a project posted on DemandVille that I know for a fact contains intellectual property belonging to someone other than the maker. What do I do?

There is a button on the page to flag infringing projects and bring them to our attention. When clicking this button, we ask that you also provide a link to the patent that the project is infringing upon.

Note that for any projects accidentally posted on the site that are not novel, pre-orders will be canceled and anyone placing a pre-order will either not be charged or, if their money was already collected, be refunded their money in full.

I think my project idea is patentable so I'm worried about posting it on the site. Can someone browsing the site try to steal my idea and claim it as their own?

No one in the US can steal your idea and no one (in any country) can make money from your idea by selling the product in the US.

In the US, ownership of an idea can only go the first person to come up with the idea. Therefore, as soon as your project is posted online, no one else can claim it as theirs. This is true regardless of whether the other person tries to outright steal your idea (sees it on the site and tries to patent it as their own) OR whether the other person comes up with the same idea on their own independently without looking at the website.

Our website is a public forum and we keep accurate records of when ideas are submitted in a way that holds up in court. If anyone else tries to patent your idea after you disclose the idea on our site, their patent application is not valid. This invalidity could be discovered immediately or even years down the line, but whenever it is discovered, it is an open-and-shut case that cannot be won.

A quick note to unscrupulous people that try to patent the ideas of others: don't do it. Even if you're successful in the short-term, you won't be successful in the long-term. You will be prosecuted and you won't win. If you try anyway, you're just going to waste time and money on both your invalid patent application and your legal fees when you get nabbed for infringement. It's not worth it.

How do I know if my project idea is patentable?

If the idea was previously patented or disclosed by another person it belongs to that person (or the public domain). There are many ways to see if your idea has been previously patented, but we like Google Patent Search (www.google.com/patents). Note there are also legal professionals you can hire to do these searches.

I checked with a patent attorney and my project idea is patentable. Can I still patent an idea after I post it on DemandVille?

You can. If you post your project on the site, the idea has been “publicly disclosed” by you and you are the only one that can patent it. The only catch is that you have to patent the idea within one year of disclosing. If a publicly disclosed idea goes unpatented for more than a year, the idea goes into the public domain (not our rule, this is according to US patent law). Once an idea becomes part of the public domain, it is not possible for you (or anyone else) to patent it.