'Buycott' App: How Does An App Help Boycott Companies?

App Scans Barcode And Cross-checks Brand Ownership

By iDigital Staff Reporter on May 28, 2013 3:28 PM EDT 0

Credit: Buycott via Google Play Store
Credit: Buycott via Google Play Store

A new app is making waves among social activist circles. The "Buycott" app helps users boycott companies, allowing them to keep track of their consumer spending by cross-checking brands with a barcode scanner. The free app has proven so popular that the Android version brought down the company website.

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Credit: Buycott via Google Play Store
Credit: Buycott via Google Play Store

According to the Google Play Store:


Buycott helps you organize your everyday consumer spending to support causes you care about.


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.

Barcode scanner scans all major retail barcodes (UPC-A, UPC-E, EAN8, EAN13, etc).

Create your own campaign from

Credit: Buycott via Google Play Store
Credit: Buycott via Google Play Store

Often a single company owns multiple brands that the common consumer can be hard pressed to keep track of. For instance, few know that Oscar Mayer, Jell-O and Capri Sun are all owned by Kraft Foods, which is most famous for its boxed mac and cheese. A person who wishes to boycott Kraft might purchase Oscar Mayer bacon not knowing that it belongs to Kraft. Similarly, other large companies like Monsanto produce a wide range of products like herbicides, pesticides and crop seeds.

Credit: Buycott via Google Play Store
Credit: Buycott via Google Play Store

Buycott provided its own example:

Example: During the SOPA/PIPA debate in 2012, a number of companies pushed to pass legislation that reduced online freedom of expression, while other companies fought hard to oppose the legislation. With Buycott, a campaign can be quickly created around a cause, with the goal of targeting companies with a boycott unless they change their position, or buycotting a company to show your support.

When you use Buycott to scan a product, it will look up the product, determine what brand it belongs to, and figure out what company owns that brand (and who owns that company, ad infinitum). It will then cross-check the product owners against the companies and brands included in the campaigns you've joined, in order to tell you if the scanned product conflicts with one of your campaign commitments.

Credit: Buycott via Google Play Store
Credit: Buycott via Google Play Store

In addition to identifying what company is behind what product, the app allows users to identify the causes they believe in and to start new causes on the company website, which are then added to the app once they garner enough support. For instance some of the campaigns currently growing in popularity are:

-Say No to Monsanto

-Stop TPP

-Stop cacao related child slavery support ChocolateTree

-Demand GMO Labeling

-We Will Not Coexist!

-Avoid Koch Industries

There is a liberal/progressive bent to most of these campaigns, but conservatives can use them too. There is a "Boycott contributors to Obama 2012 reelection" and "Support Pro 2nd Amendment Companies."

Credit: Buycott via Google Play Store
Credit: Buycott via Google Play Store

Topics include:

  • Animal Welfare
  • Civil Rights
  • Criminal Justice
  • Economic Justice
  • Education
  • Environment
  • Food
  • Gay Rights
  • Health
  • Human Rights
  • Human Trafficking
  • Immigrant Rights
  • Labor Rights
  • Other
  • Social Responsibility
  • Veterans
  • Women's Rights

The app does suffer from mixed reviews on the Play Store, with a 3.5 rating, some users report problems logging in and issues with slowness. Hopefully, "Buycott" will continue developing to app to be more functional.

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