Saturday, June 01, 2013

Fortune 500 Nightmare: Revolutionary Wiki Buycott will put power in our hands

The Revolution starts here!
There is a nightmare hovering over large and small corporations. It is the shifting of the power balance, away from the companies that produce goods and services, into the hands of millions of consumers.

The nightmare for company CEOs is a new product that will soon be in the hands of consumers – the Wiki Buycott.

The WikiBuycott is a development that I expect will arrive soon in the marketplace. It will be an extension of one of the Top 10 free apps on Apple's list: the Buycott.

Buycott is the brainchild of Ivan Pardo, a 26-year old Los Angeles developer.

This is what Huffingtonpost says about Pardo and Buycott (check the video of Ivan speaking at that post):

Pardo’s handiwork is available for download on iPhone or Android, making its debut in iTunes and Google Play in early May. You can scan the barcode on any product and the free app will trace its ownership all the way to its top corporate parent company, including conglomerates like Koch Industries.

Once you’ve scanned an item, Buycott will show you its corporate family tree on your phone screen...

Even more impressively, you can join user-created campaigns to boycott business practices that violate your principles rather than single companies...

Crowdsourcing to power up the Buycott database:

Buycott will use a type of crowdsourcing to add data – even you and your friends can improve its database:

Buycott is still working on adding new data to its back end and fine-tuning its information on corporate ownership structures... The developers are asking shoppers to help improve their technology by inputting names of products they scan that the app doesn’t already recognize.

You can boost good companies and good products:

Consumers will be able to reward companies and products they think are making positive contributions to worthy causes:

And if this all sounds worthy but depressing, be assured that your next trip to the supermarket needn’t be all doom and gloom. There are Buycott campaigns encouraging shoppers to support brands that have, say, openly backed LGBT rights. You can scan a bottle of Absolut vodka or a bag of Starbucks coffee beans and learn that both companies have come out for equal marriage.

“I don’t want to push any single point of view with the app,” said Pardo. “For me, it was critical to allow users to create campaigns because I don’t think its Buycott’s role to tell people what to buy. We simply want to provide a platform that empowers consumers to make well-informed purchasing decisions.

The WikiBuycott version powershift:

That brings me to the logical development of the Buycott product – the WikiBuycott. 

I can see Buycott being adopted by people contributing to a new Wiki product, one geared to providing – through Wikipedia type of crowdsourcing and crowdpolicing – the databases required to use a Buycott product to punish or reward companies and specific products.

This would shift power from the producers to the relatively powerless consumer of today. Instead of simply being on the receiving end of the advertising by producers, we will be able to notify them – and, importantly, have our individual notifications gathered together in internationally available databases, broken down by categories – of reasons why we are or are not supporting them or their products.

With sufficient responses by consumers, producers will be forced to listen to the customer stakeholders, and not just their shareholders. They will have to decide whether to change their corporate ways, and modify their products.

Examples of futurw WikiBuycott Programs:

Here are a few examples of what I see happening in the near future as a result of these probable developments:

Ø  Global warming:
Imagine tens of millions of consumers able to reward or punish individual companies and products because of their contribution to greenhouse gas emissions! Consumers can reward companies that improve their emissions records, and punish those that do not.

Ø  Human rights:
You and  millions of other buyers will be able to shape the corporate response of Fortune 500 giants to infringements of human rights in places where the products are made.

Ø  Gender issues:
Dissatisfied with large public companies that are dragging their feet over paying women salaries that are equal to men doing the same job, or that have too few women in their top management ranks or on their boards? Show your displeasure buy not buying their product, while at the same time informing them of your purchase of the product of a competitor that is actually walking the talk of gender equality.

Ø  Unhealthy products:
Millions of consumers can give quick, painful and effective reminders to product designers that individual products are being shunned and better ones being purchased, because they have too high a fat or sugar content. 

And the international databases capturing the WikiBuycott responses from all consumers, will break it out per company, per product, and per month and year. Everyone will be able to see how many units of products and millions of dollars are being diverted from unhealthy products and producers to better ones.

These are just a few examples of what will be happening soon.

The power of crowdsourcing, wedded to new apps, is totally underestimated by businesses right now. 

Loraine and I used this concept in our novel about global warming, named Obelisk Seven, which has one of our heroes discuss a movement in his international televistion show to put power to reduce global warming into the hands of ordinary people:

"Nick, I see that my suggestion about using competition seems to be working," Gliffy said, breaking a crust of bread and mopping up juice on his plate. 
"Like a charm," Nick acknowledged.
Gliffy's hint that competition amongst viewers of the show could increase ratings had led to the launching of the YouRateThem Internet site.
Nick had shown on the screens the results of a world wide competition between cities to cut their emissions.
Hundreds of thousands of people had voted for their cities using YouRateThem checklists. WorldHeat was now celebrating the top ten coolest cities in each show.
"Bateman is ecstatic about your idea; it has already boosted our viewership by over four million."
Gliffy bowed modestly."Anything to help a man with a Stetson …"

You can brainstorm with your friends about what causes you want the WikiBuycott to promote or oppose, and let developers like Ivan Pardo know.

And while you're thinking about it, why not start a Kickstart campaign to raise donations to help Ivan Pardo further develop his Buycott app?

Start now by downloading the Buycott app and using it.
Forward the revolution!


  1. Why do I bother.June 02, 2013 8:43 am

    Way cool! I would like to be able to simply eliminate trans-fats from the shopping cart, and it would be even better if the fact that I was shunning peoples products for that exact reason was related to the producers. Perhaps if a food processor saw just how many times people put their product back on the shelf because of the transfats they would smarten up and find a way to get rid of them. That would increase my choices for healthier food. Great idea!

  2. WDIB, spread the word! Tweet this post, add it to your Facebook, encourage others to do the same. That will increase the chances someone might grab hold of the ideas and run with them ...

  3. Is an open source aplication?


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