If you can’t plan your budget well, your ICO will eat all your money.

Running an ICO costs lot of money. Many entrepreneurs learn it the hard way after they have spent all their marketing budget without reaching any of their marketing goals.

Some ICO agencies say that you need up to $500,000 to launch an ICO. With a price tag of half a million, an ICO suddenly becomes as unreachable as a new Rolls-Royce Phantom. But things don’t have to be this way. Like in every aspect of live, you can go expensive or you can go cheap, and in the end you get the same service, just without the touch of unnecessary perfectionism.

That applies to cars or other goods. In the ICO industry, paying more means that your service provider will get a bigger paycheck, nothing more. And it usually has no correlation with the quality of the service. Internet businessmen are not stupid. They see how popular ICOs have become and the amount of money it moves. They are pricing they services according to the demand and thus the price is on average 3–5 times higher than in other IT sectors.

Many ICO service providers are not feeling shy. The most outrageous pricing comes from ICO BOX where they charge 40 BTC for setting up a full ICO. 40 BTC? Seriously? That’s $365,000 at today’s rate. For an ICO! This basically means that they are charging you over $ 2000 per hour. And these guys are not at the level of John McAfee. Yesterday they were making websites for $ 500, but today they are charging $240,000 for an ICO “technology package”. What a career takeoff! A white paper in 2–3 languages cost 8 BTC or $ 75,000. An abstract text of 50 pages costs as much as new BMW X6! Unbelievable!

Obviously you have to be an idiot to pay such an amount for an ICO. But sadly many companies that want to launch an ICO have no idea what is the true production cost of this service. They think they are buying a mansion, but in reality they will get a small cottage.

ICO Advisory Services charges 1 BTC for a Smart Contract, ICO Website with Token Sale and White Paper — a base package to launch an ICO. Some people who were blinded by the prices of competitors may ask, “why are they so cheap”, to which they can reply “because we are not scammers”.

Unlike tech development where you can easily spot swindlers, choosing marketing channels is tough. Quality and targeting means everything, and all marketing companies scream in unison that they have the best traffic. I can’t really blame people for choosing wrong marketing channels, because becoming an expert in online marketing takes time. I have been doing this for 10 years to get to this level.

The biggest money eaters in the ICO world when it comes to marketing are ICO listing sites. Compared the their pricing they bring absolutely no value. Even a small site with few hundred pages views per day wants $1000 for “priority ICO listing” that will generate only a dozen of clicks to your website per day.

But like always the the big boys show the bottom of lacking integrity. ICO Bench that we all know, even though we don’t want, charges 35 BTC for their “Premium Hit” package that will last 45 days. In FIAT this means $320,000 off your ICO marketing budget. But that’s not the bottom. Their “Premium Deluxe” package costs 10 BTC and lasts 7 days only, which means you will pay $13,000 per day for just appearing on the front page of ICO Bench with a crown of an idiot. One of my clients paid $35,000 for featuring on ICO Bench and virtually got no results from it.

However you should not ignore ICO listing sites completely. On most of them (even ICO Bench) you can list your ICO for free or for a nominal fee. You should explore this opportunity and add your ICO to as many ICO listing websites as possible.

If you happen use the services of these two ICO devils mentioned above the total cost of your ICO will be:

$365,000 for ICO BOX + $320,000 for ICO Bench = $685,000

A whopping $685,000! Even ICO experts could not predict that!

And you know what you will get from that $685,000, besides a very expensive ICO? Absolutely nothing. $685,000 will not give you a head start, will not add you to the millionaire club, nor give huge publicity for your ICO. If that’s the only thing you do, you’re ICO will most likely fail.

So what should you do then?

  1. Your first move after deciding to launch an ICO should be hiring a qualified ICO advisor. An experienced ICO advisor will know how to avoid all those traps set for newbie ICOs.
  2. Don’t overpay for ICO development and marketing services. Those who advertise themselves hardest are usually the most expensive ones, not the best.
  3. With a smart use of your funds you are able to successfully launch and market your ICO with as little as $50,000.

If you can’t plan your budget well, your ICO will eat all your money. was originally published in Data Driven Investor on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.