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The Daily

Secret to Crowdfunding Success? Be Attractive

Chris Gaetano
Published Date:
Aug 4, 2015
BeautyQueenCrowdfunding and the companies that facilitate it have been experiencing growth both massive and rapid: between 2013 and 2014, the amount raised on crowdfunding platforms has grown from $6.1 billion to $16.2 billion, a 167 percent increase. But with so many different projects all vying for attention and, more importantly, funds, how can a crowdfunding campaign best get the resources it needs to get off the ground? The answer, according to the Atlantic, is to be thin, fair skinned and generally attractive.

The article looks at two studies that looked at how physical characteristics affects crowdfunded investments. The first, conducted by researchers at Hong Kong University, National University of Singapore, and Nanyang Technological University, examined people asking for funding on microlending site Kiva, which allows people to post pictures on their profiles. Researchers organized thousands of recipients according to attractiveness, skin color and physique. They found that people considered attractive tended to get $60 more than the $700 average loan. On the other hand, those who were considered overweight got $65 less, and those who had darker skin got $40 less. The researchers theorize that, lacking other information to evaluate whether the potential borrower can pay back the loan, people simply default to attractiveness as their measure for how trustworthy someone is: indeed, this bias disappears when looking only at the loans made by experienced lenders on the site. 

Meanwhile, researchers from University of College London and University of Bristol found that attractiveness also matters when people fund raise for various causes at the London Virgin Marathon. Not only did more attractive runners get about $400 more on average, when an attractive woman got a large donation from a man, the next man who donated to her tended to give an even larger sum, leading researchers to think that these men are essentially competing with each other for the attractive runner's attention. 

So it would seem, even on the Internet where most interactions happen through text, appearances still matters.