Kickstarter and similar crowdfunding sites have become increasingly popular as means of raising money for a particular project. From indie bands' first EPs, to far-out machines, to the downright bizarre, Kickstarter has already raised more than $832 million (£ 515 million) for its users.
According to its own stats, it has a success rate of 43.89 per cent, and so guessing which projects will be successful has become a matter of great interest.
Now a team of researchers from Switzerland have claimed to be able to predict with 85 per cent accuracy whether a project on Kickstarter will achieve its funding goal - all within only four hours of its launch.
The team, run by Vincent Etter, a PhD student from the Laboratory for Communications and Applications in Lausanne, Switzerland, combines a number of variable to achieve their predictions.
As well as the fundamental variable (the speed with which donations are coming in), their calculations factor in the "buzz" surrounding the project on Twitter, the number of first-time backers, and the success of previous projects.
For instance, an art group called Kollectiv's project to start their first gallery has a 92 per cent predicted success rate, despite being only 41 per cent funded, whereas a project to publish a book of poetry about "Dragons, Demons, Blood, & Gold," has a projected success rate of 4 per cent.
"We show that even though the predictors that are based solely on the amount of money pledged reach a high accuracy, combining them with predictors using social features enables us to improve the performance significantly," said the team.
They have released a real-time website, Sidekick, designed to monitor the success of active Kickstarter projects. This could have a number of useful applciations, they believe.
"Users whose campaigns are failing to take off might want to increase their visibility and start a social media campaign, while those whose campaigns are highly likely to succeed could already start working on them to deliver faster."
If a project's goal isn't reach on Kickstarter, no money changes hands. Most successfully funded projects raise less than $10,000 (£6,87.90).