This is wrong on so many levels...

… that it is difficult to decide where to start. I came across this par of adds in tuesday’s paper (the smaller ad on the left hand was on the front page and the the bigger one on the right was on page 7):

volkskrant ad for oma app

For those not able to decipher dutch, this is a an add for a crowdfunding project that claims that ‘an app for granny’ is ‘the solution for healthcare austerity’ and encourages readers to donate toward the further development of the the healthcare-phone app. Apparently this app would allow old folks to get in touch with others and healthcare providers with ‘the push of one button’.

Obviously the overall claim that a glorified telephone is the solution for the problems created by healthcare austerity (fewer people will be eligible less care) is dubious at best. What makes it worse is that this add is run by a crowdfunding platform that is operated by a health insurance company. I have no idea what goes on in the heads of executives of this company, but i would suggest that if they are care about providing the best possible healthcare to their customers they may want to find better uses of their money than spending it on a crowdfunding platform that promotes projects like this one.

Also it does not really reflect well on the people who are running this platform that they are spending substantial amounts of money on buying advertisement space to encourage others to spend money on projects (unless this is a scheme to have the health care sector cross subsidize the newspapers in need). Based on our recent ad buys in the same newspaper i am pretty sure that the amount of money they paid for this ad would help the Zorgfoon-app a long way towards it’s €50000 funding target. They currently stand at €3.6500 which means that either newspaper ads are not really effective in driving contributions or that people are rightfully skeptical of the claims made by this project.

Crowdfunding certainly has it merits where it empowers organisations and individuals that do not have ready access to capital to realize projects or where it is used as a tool to organize collective actions. It becomes problematic when it is used simply because it is ‘new’ and ‘exciting’ by organisations that seem to have no clear sense of purpose.

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