[Updated with bombshell VIDEO] Arist Hong Kong launch was used to juice the number of Kickstarter backers

UPDATE 3: bob_mcbob correctly points out on reddit: The Kickstarter backer list has an extremely conspicuous string of almost 200 people with Chinese names who have no profile information and have never backed another project. That’s about $70,000 of their funding and helped fuel the initial interest in the campaign.

UPDATE 2: Nelson and Benson are allegedly friends with the founders of Ignite Mobile (TapZilla & AppRebates) which inflate iOS appstore rankings by getting people to purchase apps and then refunding with cash. Seems like this was the inspiration for Arist asking people to pay with credit cards to fudge the numbers, and refunding with cash.

UPDATE 1: The following bombshell video at the Arist launch shows Benson at 0:09-0:12 thanking the audience for taking the time to queue up and use their credit cards to “pledge” for “something.” It supports the allegation that they artificially inflated pledge number by using the launch and then issuing refunds.

The Arist launch was allegedly attended by over 300 people in Hong Kong. Attendees of the party have informed that Arist asked everyone to contribute and then later refunded them. Seems like this was used to juice the initial amount of Kickstarter backers. Early backers on Kickstarter are all people with just 1 backing – Arist. See photos and discussion after the break.

We believe this technique of juicing the numbers can be traced to Benson’s friends and ex-Microsoft colleagues – Edmond Yue/Francis Duong. TAccording to Techcrunch, Edmond and Francis founded a company (which was backed by Y-Combinator in SF) called Ignite Mobile (TapZilla & AppRebates). According to Techcrunch, they ask a bunch of their users to pay and download iPhone apps, and then refund the payment to each user. This will juice up the # of downloads and cause the apps to move up in the App Store ranking. You can read how this is done at this techcrunch article.TapZilla’s own comment: “By using TapZilla’s model, developers can maintain control of their pricing and don’t have change their paid apps to free. This means that they continue to make money while running their campaigns with us and the spike in downloads will generate a lasting interest on the app.”

Arist Launch Arist Launch 4 Arist Launch 5



2 thoughts on “[Updated with bombshell VIDEO] Arist Hong Kong launch was used to juice the number of Kickstarter backers

  1. im not a backer but i was also invited to this event. my first thought was SWEET! cuz normally 1 drink costs over 100 Hong Kong dollar at this club (Play), so if they only charge $80 and it also included food。 I already guessed it something was fishy about it…I hope all of you backers will get your money soon.

  2. Translation of the video here, I am a Hong Konger and know Cantonese.

    I don’t know everyone of you, but I appreciate all of you spend your time come here tonight, especially bother you to take out your credit card just at the door, to help us to pledge. Originally I found Arist this company, hope you guys have fun tonight. Want to let you know we have met half the objective of this project, over half of the US$120,000 targeted amount. (cheer) So have fun to night, if you have any need, tell me, we are having this two bottle of Champagne here for you all. (Look at that)(wow) Thanks all, hope you all like this, if you need anything just tell me or my colleague. (Open the champagne)

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