Since its founding in 2009, crowdfunding site Kickstarter has shown that Internet users will throw money at just about anything. From next-generation technology to potato salad, the most successful crowdfunding projects share some common threads.
The site's most lucrative projects have engaged donors with innovative video and "compelling and valuable" rewards, said Justin Kazmark, a Kickstarter spokesman. If the perks offered by a project are truly enticing, donors will be more receptive to the idea.
Users can set a funding period of one to 60 days on the site. The purpose of projects vary between "small and big and whimsical and innovative," he said.
Some of the more ambitious projects have managed to rack up millions of dollars in only a month. Sharing, whether through social media or word of mouth, has also contributed to some of Kickstarter's greatest success stories.
Scroll through to view what Kickstarter says are the 10 most lucrative projects in the site's history.
— By Jacob Pramuk, special to CNBC.com
Posted 12 July 2014
Described as the "first truly consumer" 3-D printer, The Micro hit Kickstarter in April for 30 days. In racking up $3.4 million, it trumped its $50,000 goal.
The company now offers $349 pre-orders for its cube-shaped printer.
The line of miniature fantasy gaming figures was funded for 32 days in the summer of 2012. It blew past its $30,000 goal to accumulate $3.4 million.
The funding period for the Japanese computer game started in August 2013 with a $900,000 goal. It topped $3.8 million on Kickstarter in 31 days.
The action game is designed as a modern update of side-scrolling gameplay. It is being developed for PCs for an expected spring 2015 release.
It was far from an eternity: The fantasy role-playing game's Kickstarter campaign began in September 2012 with a goal of "bringing back" classic games. In 32 days, it raised nearly $4 million after setting a $1.1 million goal.
The game is slated to launch this year on most major computer operating systems.
The funding project for this role-playing game started with a $900,000 goal in March 2013. It eclipsed $4 million in a month.
A fantasy game set in a fictional universe, it is playable on most major computer operating systems.
The children's TV show, which encouraged literacy, ran from 1983 until its cancellation in 2006. Former host LeVar Burton launched a tablet app in 2011 but sought more funding to bring it to a wider audience.
The Kickstarter campaign was launched at the end of May with a $1 million goal. By July 2, it received $5.4 million. "Reading Rainbow" is still taking donations after the funding period, including a $1 million pledge from comedian Seth MacFarlane.
After "Veronica Mars" creator Rob Thomas failed to receive studio funding, he turned to Kickstarter in March 2013 with a goal of $2 million. It racked up $5.7 million in a month, enough to produce a film based on the defunct TV show.
In March, moviegoers didn't show as much enthusiasm as Kickstarter donors. The film couldn't recoup its budget, taking in about $3.5 million at the box office worldwide.
Founded by musician Neil Young, Pono produces personal music players it claims relay sound with the resolution and clarity artists intended. Its funding bid began in March with an $800,000 goal, and it racked up more than $6 million by the middle of April.
Users purchase music from Pono's store, which offers digital recordings designed for the devices.
Ouya, maker of an Android-based game console, set a $950,000 goal when it joined Kickstarter in June 2012. It would amass $1 million in a little more than eight hours. Ouya remains the fastest project to top $1 million, and hit $8.6 million in about a month.
Ouya said it wanted to bring innovation to console gaming. The platform allows users to develop their own games, and more than 800 have been made so far. Two versions of the console cost $99 and $129.
Pebble Technology launched its Kickstarter campaign in April 2012, setting a goal of $100,000 for its donation period. It hit the $1 million mark in 27 hours and became the most funded project in the site's history in only six days. It remains the only project to eclipse $10 million, which it did by the middle of May 2012.
The company makes smartwatches that link to iPhone and Android phones. Users download apps and sync notifications to the devices, the most common of which run at $150.