[App Review] Buycott: The Revolution will be Downloaded.

I downloaded Buycott on my iPhone a couple of weeks ago and have been test driving both Buycott Logothe app and the website link access actively since.  Signup was simple using my Facebook account.

Crisco on Buycott
“You’re avoiding this product” in the Demand GMO Labeling campaign because the parent company, J.M. Smucker, donated more than $1.5M to oppose GMO labeling.

How it Works: You can join campaigns started by other users.  Each campaign you join has a list of corporations that you either should (Buycott) or should not (Boycott) patronize.  Then, as you shop, you can scan the barcode of any item you’re considering buying to see if it goes against your ethos – the large database of products are all linked to their parent corporations, which are linked to your campaigns, and, as long as there is a strong enough signal in the store, you get an instant answer.

How Well it Works: I cross checked many of the products via product labels and online research to determine the veracity of the corporate chain links on all the products we checked, and they all checked out to

The campaign has just under 440,000 members and counting!
The Demand GMO Labeling campaign has just under 440,000 members and counting!

be correctly identified and flagged.  In most cases, there were live source links for corporations and brands so you could quickly view the reasoning behind their presence in the buycott/boycott.

I did, nonetheless, find one corporation, Hain Celestial, that the GMO supporting companies to avoid & Good Labels to Buy campaign has on their “avoid” list.  The large natural and organic food supplier verified their support of mandatory GMO labeling in a March 2013 press release.  Unfortunately, there was no easy way to either communicate this or fix it.  We posted on that campaign’s comment board more than a week ago, but it appears that the comment has not been seen, and Hain remains in the wrong section of that campaign’s target list.  I just messaged the campaign organizer.  I will post in comments if I get a reply. 

The Weight Up on Buycott

Pros: 

  • Quick answers with detailed reasoning if you want it.Earthbound Brocolli on Buycott
  • Well stocked database of products identified by barcode
  • Largely accurate
  • Variety of campaigns across numerous industries
  • Easy to use – MUCH better than a printed boycott list!  Database is searchable by barcodes as well as by keywords.
  • Thorough synopses explain each campaign.
  • Stores your scan history in your profile.
  • Provides alternative options of products that keep you on track with your campaign.

Cons: 

  • Adding a new product to the database didn’t work
  • I was shocked to find out that this is a "don't buy" because their parent company, General Mills, donated more than $2.9M to oppose GMO labeling!
    I was shocked to find out that this is a “don’t buy” because their parent company, General Mills, donated more than $2.9M to oppose GMO labeling!

    No clear way to report an inaccuracy or out of date information

  • We’d like to see more communication ability in general with other users.  Boycotting is a group effort.
  • Some campaigns that seem to be going in the same direction may have brands that conflict between them.  Remember, big corporations spend lots of money on their image maintenance!

Overall: Buycott has been a huge help in supporting my civic duty to make conscious decisions in purchasing.  Caveat emptor still applies: be aware.  No app should ever replace your personal responsibility to do your own homework.

Thank you, Ivan Pardo, for this revolutionary contribution to the future of human empowerment! 

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