Buycott, an App for a Digital Revolution
By G+ Author: Grace Barry.
Buycott App caught my attention right away. As I was perusing the internets I skimmed over something called “Buycott,” from the name I assumed it was one of the one in a million apps that reminds you not to spend too much money on clothes, or helps you find amaaaazing discounts. Not the case my friends, not the case. Instead, Buycott does something REALLY cool. The slogan on their homepage asks “Have you ever wondered whether the money you spend ends up funding causes you oppose?” “Maybe,” I said to myself, “Maybe, definitely I have once or twice…”
Well, if you have, Buycott is the answer, its site explains the app, “A buycott is the opposite of a boycott. Buycott helps you to organize your everyday consumer spending so that it reflects your principles.Example: During the SOPA/PIPA debate in 2012, a number of companies pushed to pass legislation that reduced online freedom of expression, while other companies fought hard to oppose the legislation. With Buycott, a campaign can be quickly created around a cause, with the goal of targeting companies with a boycott unless they change their position, or buycotting a company to show your support.When you use Buycott to scan a product, it will look up the product, determine what brand it belongs to, and figure out what company owns that brand (and who owns that company, ad infinitum). It will then cross-check the product owners against the companies and brands included in the campaigns you’ve joined, in order to tell you if the scanned product conflicts with one of your campaign commitments.”
In simpler terms, it gives you a way to easily find out more information about the company of the product you are purchasing. Like mentioned above, the app allows you to join or create “campaigns.” A campaign is a movement, cause, or concern that may be connected to various consumer products. Some examples of existing campaigns are: Boycott Companies That Utilise Prison Labour, End Animal Testing,Boycott companies that support bullfighting, and Corporations lobbying against climate legislation.
Buycott serves two separate but equally important functions: It informs you about the companies that are behind a given product, and it allows you to set causes you believe in to help you determine what to buy and what to avoid. The first of those functions takes place when you scan an item’s barcode with your phone’s camera. After you scan an item, Buycott searches its database to provide you with as much information as it possibly can about the maker of it. You get everything from contact information – phone numbers, emails, social media accounts, and headquarters location – to a family tree that lists off all related companies and shows you how they are connected. This is probably one of the most eye-opening areas of Buycott. Seeing big companies all laid out with the dots connecting them back to one another shows you just how small the corporate business world really is.
Aside from company information, Buycott will also tell you a product’s status in ‘campaigns.’ Campaigns serve as a way for you to determine what is important to you. There is a wide range of campaigns you can join. There are trending groups, ones that are currently popular and drawing in members, or you can search through campaigns that fall into a variety of categories from animal welfare to economic justice to human rights. There is some overlap between groups – you’ll see quite a few dedicated to demanding GMO (genetically modified) labeling, for example – but it’s easy to see which campaigns have more complete lists of companies to support and avoid.
Now, before you dismiss Buycott as some hippy-friendly, liberal agenda app for communists, remember that there’s something here to fit anyone’s agenda. Under the “Social Responsibility” category, there is a campaign called “Avoid Koch Industries,” which aims to point people away from Koch owned companies because of “their mission [to place] profits before our communities, our environment, and our democracy.” On the same list is a “Support Koch Industries Campaign” that backs the corporation because the brothers “have generiously donated millions of dollars to libertarian, fiscal conservative, and limited government causes.” There are campaigns pushing for stricter gun control and ones dedicated to supporting the Second Amendment. You can probably find your side of an issue somewhere within Buycott’s campaigns.