‘Buycott’ App Review: Scan a barcode and learn everything about the company that made it

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One of the great things about mobile tech is the amount of information that it puts in the palm of your hand. It’s time you put that power to good use. There’s no denying that large corporations have a wide-reaching and seemingly unavoidable impact on many parts of our lives, and even if your personal agenda doesn’t match up with that of a company, you still push forward their causes when you purchase their products. Being more socially responsible and spending your money on companies that aim to forward the causes you believe in, no matter what they are, is one of the best ways to be more influential without actually casting a vote or supporting a political candidate. Buycott aims to make it easier for you to be aware of where your money goes. In essence, it lets you vote with your wallet. Or it aims to, at least.

Buycott1Buycott serves two separate but equally important functions: It informs you about the companies that are behind a given product, and it allows you to set causes you believe in to help you determine what to buy and what to avoid. The first of those functions takes place when you scan an item’s barcode with your phone’s camera. After you scan an item, Buycott searches its database to provide you with as much information as it possibly can about the maker of it. You get everything from contact information – phone numbers, emails, social media accounts, and headquarters location – to a family tree that lists off all related companies and shows you how they are connected. This is probably one of the most eye-opening areas of Buycott. Seeing big companies all laid out with the dots connecting them back to one another shows you just how small the corporate business world really is.

Before you dismiss Buycott as some hippy-friendly, liberal agenda app for communists, remember there’s something here for everyone.

Aside from company information, Buycott will also tell you a product’s status in ‘campaigns.’ Campaigns serve as a way for you to determine what is important to you. There is a wide range of campaigns you can join. There are trending groups, ones that are currently popular and drawing in members, or you can search through campaigns that fall into a variety of categories from animal welfare to economic justice to human rights. There is some overlap between groups – you’ll see quite a few dedicated to demanding GMO (genetically modified) labeling, for example – but it’s easy to see which campaigns have more complete lists of companies to support and avoid.

Now, before you dismiss Buycott as some hippy-friendly, liberal agenda app for communists, remember that there’s something here to fit anyone’s agenda. Under the “Social Responsibility” category, there is a campaign called “Avoid Koch Industries,” which aims to point people away from Koch owned companies because of “their mission [to place] profits before our communities, our environment, and our democracy.” On the same list is a “Support Koch Industries Campaign” that backs the corporation because the brothers “have generiously donated millions of dollars to libertarian, fiscal conservative, and limited government causes.” There are campaigns pushing for stricter gun control and ones dedicated to supporting the Second Amendment. You can probably find your side of an issue somewhere within Buycott’s campaigns.

As it turns out, election day isn’t the only time we can make a difference. It’s things like your weekly trip to the grocery store or where you stop to get your morning coffee that can sway some of the social issues that we deal with during the election cycles. If you want to support gay marriage, push for fair labor wages, or encourage American-made products, do it with your dollar during every transaction you make. Buycott is a must have app for anyone who is politically active or just wants to stop giving money to companies that push agendas that they wouldn’t support personally. Vote with your wallet by shopping with your phone.

Buycott is available for free on iOS and Android.

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