Jesse Grillo's Guide To A Successful Kickstarter

kinshipJesse Grillo's name is mud on Kickstarter, after a series of events that saw a legal battle over a rival Kickstarter and publisher and for pulling all his Kickstarter productions in response to increasing criticism over non deliverance of promises.

But that's all in the past isn't it? Let's all forgive each each. And on the basis that you need a crook to catch a crook, what better career for Grillo as one of the more famous failed Kickstarter operatives than to… advise people on their own crowdsourcing endeavours, as Kinship Marketing.

Their website promises,

Kinship Marketing was created to service the needs of small businesses and creative entrepreneurs that want low-cost, effective, online marketing. Kinship Marketing has a deep passion for helping the independent creator and it is what drives us every day to constantly create and develop the best ways to market small businesses online at the absolute lowest prices.


And they promise they have successfully funded over a hundred Kickstarter projects with promises such as,

– If your project doesn't reach its funding goal we will market the re-launch of your Kickstarter for half price.

– If the re-launch isn't successful we'll market the third attempt for free. Meaning, we will pay for all of the costs involved. The reason we do this is because our marketing is highly effective and we have yet to have a project not be funded on the re-launch. So far, more than 95% of the Kickstarters we market are funded on the first project launch!

When you use Kinship Marketing, you're not simply hiring a marketing company. You're hiring a small team of marketing ninjas that fight everyday to ensure your funding goals are met. Please visit our website and fill out the forum at the bottom. We'll respond within 24 hours and will begin working right away on making sure your Kickstarter goal is reached and surpassed.

It's really well written and convincing stuff. But the reviews are… rather familiar. From Reddit,

First of all I know, shame on me for not doing proper research BUT heres the deal, and a warning. Kinship Marketing is a scam. I have an active indiegogo fundraiser and when I got contacted by their "marketing team" with promises of increased traffic to my page and well, MARKETING of my campaign I was like "SWEET." I'm a struggling single mom and a disabled vet ( I know, sob sob but its the truth) and dont have a ton of time so I figured I would give it a shot at $50 a week. When I went to check out via PayPal it charged me not for a week but for the remainder of my campaign. $235 bucks. After a week I noticed Nothing, no new donations, no new traffic, I checked the indiegogo algorithm and, notta. So i wrote to their "marketing team" and got no response. I wanted to cancel their service and get a refund for the remainder of my time. Thats when I found out "kinship marketing" doesn't officially exist anymore.

The kinship marketing website looks functional and i dont know what the entire deal is BUT I got ripped off. And I'm PISSED

I lodged a complaint with PayPal AND BBB, no dice they said since: 1. there were no "tangible" goods and 2. Kinship Marketing is no longer an actual business, it was out of their hands. I don't know where to go from here.

On Yelp, you'll find reviews like,

This is a TOTAL SCAM and they should be ashamed of themselves, whoever 'they' are. I paid them $170 for a Kickstarter campaign. Before they got my money I received several emails from 'Jack Crow'. After they or he? got my money, I never heard from them again. Between November 1st and today when my Kickstarter ended they failed to create any donations to my Kickstarter and never responded to any of my follow-up emails. Now I am trying to get my money back and still no response. The website gives no info about exacty who these people are and there is no phone number or physical address. Who the hell are these people and what have they done with my $170?? They get negative stars from me and a 'WTF??!" if they ever call me back!!


Do not fall for false reviews! This company is a complete rip off. I paid them for a two week marketing campaign for a Kickstarter project and as soon as the money was paid they cut off all communications with me. As with Michel, I filled a dispute with Paypal and the Better Business Bureau and have read other complaints about how the same thing had happened. Wish I had seen them eariler.



Same as the others. Total ripoff.  Very responsive and then I paid.  Never heard from him again, never launched promised marketing campaign for my Kickstarter project.
My fault too for signing up and there is no contact information on their website, dope!


I have a Kickstarter campaign running as I type this.  I filled out the forms, talked to "Jack Crow" over email, asked a few questions, and then paid the invoice.  And once the invoice was paid… poof!  No more Jack.  No emails.  No responses.  Nothin'.

Kinship Marketing is not Robin Hood.  They're taking from the poor and making themselves rich.  That's about as low as you can go.

Michel S is right.  Scam!  Don't be a dummy like me.  You're better off buying a sandwich board and walking around the mall to promote your project.

You may start to notice a pattern. And yes, the Better Business Bureau cannot find them as a business to monitor, with lots of,

Complaint Category: Failure to honor service estimate or agreement

Complaint: While creating a crowdfunding campaign I paid a sum of money to kinship marketing for services in promoting my fundraiser. Their email to me guaranteed an increase in traffic to my site within hours of my giving them funds. There has been no such action and I believe I have been ripped off. I emailed the company and have gotten no response.

Complaint Resolution: Company is out of business.

But why say that this one dodgy company is the work of one dodgy comics creator Jesse Grillo? Well, he owns the website,,,


   Created on..............: 2013-01-05 00:20:19 GMT
   Expires on..............: 2014-01-05 00:20:19 GMT
   Last modified on........: 2013-01-05 00:20:19 GMT

Registrant Info: (FAST-19486343)
   Bleeding Ink Productions
   Jesse Grillo
   12036 Magnolia Blvd.
   Valley Village, California 91607
   United States

And continually plugs Kinship-related Kickstarters on blogs that few read. 

But how are they doing? Well, lets follow their twitter feed and see the results of the Kickstarters they market.


Succeeded wonderfully





And on and on. Now, some do get funded, but there doesn't seem to be any correlation between success, failure or Kinship's involvement. After all, those following Kinship on Twitter are mostly people trying to advertise their own Kickstarters or other social marketing workers.

The truth is, if you are running a Kickstarter and want to get the word out – you can advertise yourself, go on social media yourself or even take out a radio ad. You'll probably do an awful lot better.

About Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.

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