My big gripe with the ICO name and corresponding mania is that it has no similarity to an IPO. At best an ICO is a seed stage investment in a wholly unproven technology/idea/theoretical use.
A developer team gets together to write a fancy whitepaper, then build out a nifty website to display the idea they are working on. Generally this idea has no practical immediate use. Generally this idea is still nothing more than an idea. At best the idea will be realized by substantially reusing the open source codebase of a different coin with slight tweaks. The developers then go get an exchange or two involved to begin trading the tokens. One exchange even goes so far as to begin trading IOUs for the tokens before the ICO takes place. It's shear insanity driven by this mania to have the next bitcoin for $0.00001 each.
When a real organization goes through the real, regulated, IPO process it has already had its seed funding then subsequent equity financing rounds, THEN once the company has demonstrated that it has a valuable product or service and a competent management team shares are allowed to be sold to the public. By US law, seed stage companies are forbidden from seeking investment from unaccredited investors (this doesn't mean unaccredited investors are forbidden from investing). An accredited investor is someone with over $200,000 per year of income or a net worth of over $1,000,000.
Seed stage organizations have an exceptionally high rate of failure, no matter the proposed business.
These ICOs are little more than developers fleecing naive "investors" by selling them the pipe dream of being on the ground floor of the next bitcoin. It's really appalling. You should stay away from them, everyone should stay away from them, and the people running them should be punished.