With Kickstarter and Indiegogo you either get in on the ground floor or lose your money.

One of the more interesting gadgets that has come across my email recently was a ‘digital swear jar’ listed on Kickstarter. The JarGone used always-listening technology that would listen for curse words then, based on who was speaking, would debit money from their account and keep it in the ‘swear jar’ where it could be collected later.

Pretty cool stuff. Only, the project never got off the ground. It raised nearly $1,800 from 35 backers before being canceled by the project creator.

Kickstarter and IndieGoGo are filled with creative projects and gadgets like the JarGone. If you haven’t visited those sites in a while you’ll be amazed at some of the things people come up with in their heads and in their creative groups.

Only, sometimes their dreams are never realized and apparently, no amount of money is enough to get some ideas to the marketplace.

The Zano drone is one of the worst disasters on Kickstarter from a backer’s standpoint. I found the micro palm-sized drone at CES a few years ago where the inventor bragged that he had raised over $3 million to bring the $300 drone to the masses within a year. Nothing much happened after that. Updates to the Zano Drone Kickstarter page stopped being posted. Backers demanded to know what was going on and many complained to Kickstarter that they’d lost their investment.

Judging from the Zano Kickstarter page today, nothing has happened and the creator/inventor disappeared taking the $3 million (less Kickstarter’s fees).

That kind of thing happens from time to time and there’s nothing Kickstarter can (or will) do about it. The site states clearly that it is 100% up to the developer or creator to fulfill their responsibility and deliver what they promise. Kickstarter does not offer any guarantee or refunds. It acts as the backer to inventor go-between, even stating on its website that “Kickstarter is not a store”.

When a backer decides to invest in a project, their money is not given to the creator until it is 100% funded. The investment dollars are then transferred to the developer/inventor/creator so that they can continue working on the project or product. If it never makes it to the consumer and the developer never delivers to their initial investors Kickstarter doesn’t get involved.

So investor beware.

There are some pretty cool projects out there though.

The Nadi X is a pair of smart yoga pants that guides the wearer through yoga workouts by sending vibrations to the pants when you’re in the correct position.

The Mark Drone is an intelligent 4k foldable drone with auto-tracking, trajectory memorization and voice control.

The CHIIZ Toothbrush 4.0 is a full-mouth toothbrush with a double tray of scrubbing bristles. With one day left in the campaign the CHIIZ had raised $236,999 of a $10,000 goal. The creator has offered backers a kit for $69 with an estimated shipping date of September.

Since the campaign is fully funded, backers expect to receive what is promised but that, once again, is up to the developer or inventors.

Kickstarter is a great place to browse and invest in products for a discount on the retail price.

So where do you shop successfully launched Kickstarter projects? Amazon has opened a “Made on Kickstarter” storefront where it lists gadgets and products that got their start on the crowd-funding site.