Man creates Kickstarter for potato salad; Internet explodes

Posted Jul 8, 2014 by Michael Thomas
Late last week, a peculiar Kickstarter project emerged — a project seeking a mere $10 to help a man create potato salad. As of writing, the crowd-funding project has raised more than $40,000.
Potato salad  which Zack Danger Brown has now raised more than $40 000 to create
Potato salad, which Zack Danger Brown has now raised more than $40,000 to create
Zack Danger Brown//Kickstarter
It seems to defy belief — a Kickstarter literally devoted to making a simple food item is now thousands of percent funded.
But a man by the name of Zack Danger Brown of Columbus, OH has managed to raise $40,275 (as of writing) in the name of potato salad.
Who is this guy?
Not too much is known about the guy, though in an interview with the Washington Post, Brown seems to be coping well with the unbelievable success.
He gave the Post a possible reason why the project has skyrocketed to Internet fame: "There was never any, 'Hey how can we validate our business model,' it was about potato salad and potato salad only. Sincerity is important. That’s why people react to it."
His biggest problem at the moment has to do with the reward for pledging $3 — a bite of the potato salad. How can he give someone in, say, the UK, a bite of the concoction? He assured the Post that he is looking into all possible options for sending bits of potato salad around the world.
What is he going to do with all the money?
In its early days (there's still 24 days left to fund it) he set a few comparatively modest stretch goals. At $35, he promised to make four times as much potato salad. At $75, it would turn into a pizza party. At $1,000, he promised to host a livestream of the potato salad cooking, and at $3,000 he promised to rent out a party hall and invite as many people as possible to witness the creation.
How did this get so popular?
The easy answer, of course, is the media attention, first popularly picked up by CNET before spreading like wildfire to every possible news outlet imaginable.
However, the Verge provides another explanation — Kickstarter has recently loosened its once-stringent rules. It says that basically any project can run on the site now, provided it's not funding something illegal, dangerous or regulated.
Further, while Kickstarter once vetted all projects, they can now move forward without approval, though the company can still shut down a project page at any time. There were also rules against projects that essentially funded a person's lifestyle, with a food-related exception.
As this project's popularity increases, more and more media outlets are chiming in on its relative worth. Polygon is fully supportive of the endeavour, with writer Ben Kuchera calling the project "original, goofy and satirical" while adding that people are always willing to spend a bit of money on novelty. On the other end of the spectrum, the AV Club's Katie Rife calls this project "the fall of the ironic empire" and that people shouldn't give Brown any more of their money.
Let the imitations begin
Given the unbelievable success of this simple venture, a swath of Kickstarters have surfaced attempting to imitate the feat, from banana bread to pizza to salsa.
What the future holds for ironic Kickstarters remains to be seen.