Tech

Buycott: The App Which Lets You Vote From Your Wallet

By Michael Mayday , May 14, 2013 10:24 PM EDT

Former Microsoft programmer, and 2012 congressional candidate, Darcy Burner pitched an idea to a room of progressive-leaning programmers at the annual Netroots Nation gathering in Las Vegas. Is was a simple idea: develop an application that would detect if consumers were about to purchase a product made by the billionaire industrial brothers, Charles and David Koch.

Burner may have lost her race, but her idea navigating the murky structure of corporations and conglomerates won. In fact, an application realizing that has just been released.

The application is called Buycott, and, as Forbes reports, it was developed by a singe 26-year-old programmer from Los Angeles named Ivan Pardo.

Pardo launched his free application in early May, available on both iOS and Android devices. All the app requires is for the consumer to scan a barcode so it can trace the ownership of a product to its parent company - from Johnson & Johnson to Monsanto. Users can also join campaigns to boycott products which support business practices they don't agree with.

For example: genetically modified organisms (GMO). Users can scan nearly any food barcode to see if its parent company has fueled money towards causes supporting GMO foods, or organizations opposing the labeling of GMO foods.

"I don't want to push any single point of view with the app," Pardo told Forbes. "For me, it was critical to allow users to create campaigns because I don't think its Buycott's role to tell people what to buy. We simply want to provide a platform that empowers consumers to make well-informed purchasing decisions."

Users can also build campaigns in support of a particular movement. With Buycott campaigns, shoppers can find brands and companies openly supporting a particular movement.

The application, however, does have its limits: its database doesn't have the knowledge of all companies, or their structures. If the application comes across a new item, it may ask the user to provide more information. If the application gives the user inaccurate info, the user can correct it.

The application is free on either iOS or Android stores, and requires users to create an account or sign in through Facebook to use.

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