Last year at the Netroots Nation gathering, Darcy Burner proposed an idea for an app that allows people to check to see if the Koch brothers were behind that product. Not many people knew that the Koch Brothers own Georgia-Pacific Paper. Quilted Northern toilet paper, Dixie cups, Brawny paper towels, and a few other common paper products do contribute towards the Koch brothers’ revenues. Boycotting a few paper products might have seen like something non-worthy of creating an app for, but then Koch Industries bought a company called Invista, one of the world’s largest fiber and textiles companies. That included lycra, stain-resistant carpet, and the list kept compiling until the idea for Buycott was born to keep it all straight by just scanning a bar-code (and can be downloaded here).
The Koch brothers weren’t the only problematic billionaires making headlines, though. Monsanto was an obvious target for an addition to the app for the public attitude towards GMO labeling. That rolled right into some of the SOPA regulations. Heck… you could even use it to further a boycott against Rush Limbaugh from what they say about it.
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.
Even more impressively, you can join user-created campaigns to boycott business practices that violate your principles rather than single companies. One of these campaigns, Demand GMO Labeling, will scan your box of cereal and tell you if it was made by one of the 36 corporations that donated more than $150,000 to oppose the mandatory labeling of genetically modified food.
Technology is where the ‘millennial generation’ will come to dominate as our society progresses. Apps like Buycott are what set the younger generations apart for the value they bring to the field of technology. The youth of tomorrow doesn’t know a world that isn’t connected at the speed of electrons coursing from machines that we can put into our pockets. The bar has been set for this new batch of graduates and dreamers. No matter what your political opinion is, you can’t stop progress.