Have you ever wanted to know if companies that clash with your principles are behind the brands you buy? You’re not alone. Before he could wake up and days before he could sleep again, an article in Forbes catapulted Ivan Pardo’s mobile app Buycott into the top 10 in both the Apple and Android stores and crashed the startup’s servers. The time has arrived when people demand to know to whom their dollars spent are going.
How It Works
Users scan the barcode of products with their smartphones using the Buycott application. Buycott then matches the product to its database that traces ownership back to parent companies. An interactive family tree becomes visible, showing how brands and companies are connected – while also providing available contact information, including phone numbers, email addresses, social media accounts, and more.
Before scanning products, users join “campaigns,” groups or causes an individual cares about or would like to actively support. These can be searched by name or under a variety of categories such as economic justice, food, human trafficking, and women’s rights, etc. In addition to revealing company ownership, Buycott tells users if said companies align with how consumers stand on issues or if they fall on the opposing side of a campaign.
If, for example, the owner of the cereal bar you’re about to buy has funneled money into legislative campaigns to defeat GMO labeling and you believe such labeling should be mandatory and open, Buycott gives you the opportunity to spend your money elsewhere.
Educated Purchasing Power
Buycott makes it quick and easy for consumers to educate themselves about the social and economic consequence of their buying habits, making it easy to adjust spending so that it better reflects personal ethics.
What’s great about the app is that it isn’t telling anyone how to spend their money. Instead it gives people on any side of any issue the chance to make more informed purchases. What’s more, when Buycott identifies a brand that a user would likely not wish to support, the app offers alternatives more in harmony with beliefs. Buycott also lets users contact brands directly and let them know of their decision to support or avoid a product.
Information is useful, but Buycott goes the extra step by making it easier for consumers to become socially engaged. Most of us aren’t going to do this kind of research on our own. Many of us may not want to participate in larger public campaigns. This app gives individuals a tool that allows them to vote with their wallets with each purchase. More outspoken folk can also start their own campaigns on Buycott to rally others to the cause.
Thanks to complicated and constantly changing corporate infrastructure, expanding the app’s database is an enormous task. Pardo is busy redesigning Buycott, growing the database, responding to users’ feature requests – and determining how to capitalize on widespread interest and accept necessary funding.