Public-sector decision-makers deal with corporate contractors all the time, but how much do they really know about them?
The Buycott app is designed to help answer that question. Users download the free app to their mobile device and scan product bar codes, which generates data about the product manufacturers. This information includes data about the manufacturers’ parent companies and subsidiaries, as well as corporate contact information -- facts often unknown to consumers. Buycott also contains information about the causes these same manufacturers support or oppose — the app’s most interesting and controversial feature.
Buycott is intended to help users buy products that align with their beliefs, essentially allowing them to vote with their wallets. In government’s case, the app provides information about the companies who answer RFPs and voice opinions on government legislation.
The app is a handy tool for consumers, but they should still perform their own research about companies after using it.
Additionally, Buycott asks users to provide information updates, which makes it similar to Wikipedia in the way it classifies data, which means there’s a potential for people to provide inaccurate information about the companies in question.
Hilton Collins is a former staff writer for Government Technology and Emergency Management magazines.