Want to boycott stuff? There's an app for that.

Vote with your wallet. Tired of the Koch Brothers ruining everything for everybody? Prefer to buy products from companies that contribute to Sandy relief? Do you just want to know which major megacorporation produced the item you are considering putting in your shopping cart?

Wouldn't it be nice to have an app that allowed you to scan the product's bar codes and quickly determine which evile empire you are supporting, or avoiding supporting, with your purchasing decision. Well, there is, and it is called Buycott. Click here to see iOS version

From the app developers:

How Buycott works

-Join a campaign to help a cause you care about and commit to actively supporting the companies on your side of the issue, while avoiding those that oppose your position.

-Scan product barcodes and Buycott will find out what company owns that product (and who owns that company, ad infinitum).

-Using this information, Buycott will determine whether you have joined a campaign that includes the product's owners.


- Lookup the ownership structure of any product and trace it all the way back to its parent company with our interactive family tree diagram.

- Offers a variety of contact data for companies and brands, so you can easily inform them of your decision to support or avoid their products.

- Scans all major retail barcodes (UPC-A, UPC-E, EAN8, EAN13, etc).

- Create your own campaign from buycott.com

Once installed you have to sigh up. I chose the "Log In with Facebook" option and then was asked if Buycott could post to my friend's walls. I said no. The signup failed. So, right there, somebody needs to sit these kids down (the ones who made the app) and explain to them the meaning of Irony.

So then I signed up with the manual sign up and I got an "error creating account" error. No explanation.

So, I'd like to try this app out for you but it's broke, so I can't. But I also know that word of this app just went around the internet a few minutes ago, so their server is probably getting hammered. I'll try again in a day or two and let you know how it goes. If you try it and have any info to report, please put it in the comments.

This would be good if it works. But first, it has to .... well, work.


I was able to join this evening, but the join up process took a long time, presumably because of the developer's server still being overwhelmed (or attacked by nefarious forces, perhaps?). Then things were still a little glitchy. When I went into the app I was told that I needed to join before I could use it, but Ignored that and signed in using the info I had given it when I had joined earlier, and then I was told that I'd have to Join, the, I was allowed to use the app as though I had joined.

This all happened because the app seems to reset to some prior level when my iPhone does its partial sleep power down thing it does after several seconds of no activity, and everything the app does is so slow that this happens all the time.

Lawry's Salt is OK! Yay! Lawry's Salt is OK! Yay!

I tried scanning a book ISBN code and it was smart enough to tell me it couldn't do that. Then I scanned the bar code on my lens cleaning solution. The app correctly identified it as Flents Wipe-n CLear Lens Cleaner! But there was no information on the company, which probably means it is not made by the Koch Brothers or Satan or anyone like that. I then checked out my Lexar Jump Drive, recently purchased (so the empty cardboard container was still sitting on my desk). It seems to have recognized the manufacturer but did not know what the product was, but asked me to enter information about the product in order to "earn points." I entered the data and got an error.

I then checked All Free an Clear laundry soap, a container of little tomatoes, and a container of Laqwry's seasoned salt. The first two returned errors, the third returned data on the product that was accurate and information about the company. I was told that there were "no campaign conflicts."

Lawry Salt is OK!

So the bottom line is that the app works but there are glitches that hopefully will be ironed out.

The amount of time it takes to get the information back from the scan is fairly long ... tens of seconds ... but that is probably because their server is still working too hard.

Photo Credit: frankhg via Compfight cc

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As a PR flack, this and the Good Guide app signals coming apocalypse. ;)

By David Wescott (not verified) on 15 May 2013 #permalink

Hi Greg, thanks for the interesting review, I hope this is interesting to Buycott developers, will tune in again, would like to see this work.

I can't use an app -- is there a website where I could best learn which companies I should be supporting?

By Shawn Bostrom (not verified) on 17 Jul 2013 #permalink