As the lead-in on the Buycott app company landing page says,
“Have you ever wondered whether the money you spend ends up funding causes you oppose?”
Consumer-side market research has come of age with the Buycott app that allows you to find out who owns the product you are thinking of buying.
I may be an oddity, or just a prematurely early adopter, but somewhere, in some old box of books, I have a well-thumbed copy of a paperback from the 1970s that I used to find out who owns what (and I guess I should say whom in these days of corporate personhood) I confess I cannot remember the exact title.
I guess this shows that I my concern about this stuff decades ago when Green Peace and other ocean and environmentally-oriented groups urged writing letters to fast food companies to let them know you were not eating at their restaurants until they quit sourcing from unethically harvested fish; and when we would sing ” N-E-S-T-L-E-S, Nestles kills the babies best” when we saw someone using a Nestle product because of the baby formula scandal. Al Gore was not the only person who knew about this stuff in back in the dark “pre-internet” ages.
The title of that book, that is in a box somewhere, was something to the effect of who owns whom a guide to corporate ownership. It was not the standard library reference item that was also useful when figuring out whether to buy certain things. You really had to go out of your way to get information about corporate ownership and subsidiaries. But no more! You can still find far more detailed information if you do your research in libraries, but…you no longer only have that option.
Putting your money where your mouth is, literally, is now possible and easy by simply scanning bar codes of products with your smart phone. Making informed choices is the cornerstone of voting in a democratic society and is also the cornerstone of a consumer-driven free market.
Did I mention that:
- the app is free
- it seems to work well from my still rather limited testing of it
- download and use of the app seems to work well ( now that the swamping of the app download software and site has been taken care of after the major press and acclaim Buycott received almost immediately upon launch)
- you can add item information if you scan something that has incomplete information
- not all bar code formats are as yet supported
- you can share campaigns (scores of ‘em) through Facebook and Twitter buttons from the campaign description areas
- this is a Karma-only compensated review
Here are a couple other “find out who” tools, though they are not yet in app form, that I find to be really nifty to use – even though they are old-fashioned in their lack of device and format delivery options
Columbia Journalism Review online resource for finding out about media ownership:
InvestorGuide Research Tool
It is no longer that difficult to shop in an informed fashion. Don’t want to support sweatshops and child labor? Don’t want to buy Frankenfood for your baby? Think the Koch brothers should stop interfering in the democratic process of U.S. elections? Scan. Know. Buy or don’t buy.
And remember, “Information is power.”