This post on Hacker News got me thinking about the costs Dispora’s going to have receiving all of their money and fulfilling their promises, so I did a little digging. The numbers below are estimates, but they should be fairly close to actual costs for these services (assuming no huge burst in donations over the next 6 days):
$ 5510 = $190k * 2.9% Amazon fees 1800 = 6k donations * $0.30 Amazon fees 9500 = $190k * 5% for Kickstarter 4150 = 5000 cds with jewel cases * $0.83 (random googling, I assume the "note from our team" will be on the jewel case insert) 1380 = 400 sheets of stickers * $3.45 (zazzle, 20 sheet of stickers, 2 stickers per person) 10200 = 3000 shirts * $3.40 (customink, Gildan 50/50 1 color on white front only) 9000 = 3000 postage & packaging for shirts + stickers * $3 2000 = 2000 postage & packaging for just stickers * $1 1200 = "Turnkey hosting" for 600 people 2800 = 4 new computers\*$700 ====== $47540
 I’m not sure if Kickstarter gets a bulk discount here, or if it’s Dispora’s account history, so a volume discount may apply. I also assume all transactions are billed at the $10+ rate (2.9%) rather than the  Turnkey hosting and phone support are hard to estimate…it may be more if they need to pay for phone support, but I think this is a reasonable number. I’m also including project hosting costs. I know they say plenty of hosting companies have offered their services, but you can’t guarantee that will be there.
Keep in mind that this misses three big points:
- Declined credit cards & canceled/fraudulent donations — I have no clue what the expected amount of these is
- People who requested a gift for donating who never give their contact info
- The huge overhead for packing/sending all of these items, though I imagine a day of pizza and soda for volunteers can get all of them packed (the con I used to help run had similar “mailing parties” that were fairly effective)
With that in mind you’re looking at about 25% of the funding going toward transaction fees and fulfilling the rewards. This leaves around $142,000 left for them, which is still plenty of money. Though I don’t want to think about what an accountant would say about this money and how much he would charge to make it legitimate.
Don’t get me wrong: I think Diaspora is a great idea and I’d love to see it succeed, but I wonder if the founders considered the logistical overhead to this whole thing. Granted, this would have been smaller had they only raised $10k, but it’s still a big task to undertake. I hope they’re ready for it and they don’t let us down.