Skip to main content

View Diary: The Invisible Guest at NN12 (27 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  that was my idea; looks like it went viral. (11+ / 0-)

    The app would tie into a central "boycott/support" database and return a simple "Yes" in green or "No" in red, with a button for "details" to go to the next layer down, a list of scores or conclusions, each of which could be clicked for even more details.  But if the database was managed by a high-trust organization, most people would take the Yes/No as sufficient to buy or not-buy the product.

    If this meme is starting to spread, I'll ring up my coder pals and see about getting the project going.

    "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

    by G2geek on Sat Jun 09, 2012 at 01:26:25 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  This is an EXCELLENT IDEA! (5+ / 0-)

      I can check pesticide levels in produce with an app, or any number of things through an Environmental Working Group app.  This has to happen!  Can you make it so?

      "The very least you can do in your life is to figure out what you hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope.". Barbara Kingsolver, _Animal Dreams_

      by thea lake on Sat Jun 09, 2012 at 01:55:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  working on it as we speak. (5+ / 0-)

        I'm working on putting together a team to do this one.  We have the requisite talent, it's just a matter of persuading my fellow workers that this will be worthwhile.

        Question: how much do you think people are willing to pay for the app and for the subscription to the database service?  

        The reason I'm thinking of a subscription model is because it enables us to protect privacy.  There has to be a person managing the database, which is necessarily paid work (always create right-livelhood jobs where possible), and there are ongoing costs for hosting and so on (same as anything else we do).   Those costs have to be covered somehow.  

        The usual model these days is to make everything "free" with an invasion of privacy as the real price: selling individual data to advertisers and others.  But the data from something like this could make their way to e.g. ALEC (once we sell the data there is no way to prevent our enemies getting access), and that would give the badguys a heads-up for their PR campaigns (not to mention a list of "radicals" to target in whatever way).  

        So instead, with a subscription model and a small monthly cost per smartphone, we can cover costs without having to compromise privacy or risk data falling into the wrong hands.  Question is, how much you think is reasonable?

        "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

        by G2geek on Sat Jun 09, 2012 at 02:56:28 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Hmmmmm. (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          PinHole, ramara, G2geek, mapamp, glorificus

          Running through the iPhone and iPad apps I have paid for, and trying to factor in something like NYT access ($20/month) or the Netflix subscription (~$8/month). As an individual, I'd be willing to pay at least $10/month for a subscription. More if updates were frequent--whatever that might mean. And what about institutional subscriptions?

          "The very least you can do in your life is to figure out what you hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope.". Barbara Kingsolver, _Animal Dreams_

          by thea lake on Sat Jun 09, 2012 at 03:31:06 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  that's good information (4+ / 0-)

            .... I want to believe we can do it for less than $10/month, probably quite a bit less (keeping in mind we haven't started the design process yet, and don't know what our costs are going to be).  

            Updates would happen on the website/database side, as frequently as new information came in about new companies to put on the list, and the information was vetted by being cross-checked with multiple sources or any definitive source.

            Thus, subscribers will automatically see those as soon as they go in.  Changes to the interface would happen periodically as well, for example adding new search categories and so on.

            The key to this will be to make it simple to use at the point of sale e.g. grocery stores and other retail outlets.  But a user could access their personal settings any time they choose, to set new priorities or search for specific companies or send information on companies, and so on.  

            One thing we have to adhere to, is keeping the information objective.  For example complaints about product quality or customer service, could be orchestrated by badguys to hit their competitors.  But campaign contributions, ecological damage penalties from the EPA, strikebreaking with scabs, contributions to ALEC, and so on, are objective data that a company can't fake by paying for a bunch of shills to send us bad data.  

            "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

            by G2geek on Sat Jun 09, 2012 at 03:59:26 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Less-than-$10/month would be good, (5+ / 0-)

              as it would make the information much more widely accessible.  I am "comfortably retired" at 55, and very aware how rare that is (especially for the child of farmers-turned-factory workers in the 50's), so my estimation is easier to make.  For such an app to have an effect, it would need to be affordable to many. The point you make in your 4th paragraph is also on the mark.

              It's interesting to contemplate criteria and appropriate authorities to speak to them . . .

              "The very least you can do in your life is to figure out what you hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope.". Barbara Kingsolver, _Animal Dreams_

              by thea lake on Sat Jun 09, 2012 at 04:36:00 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  what do you think would be affordable? (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                mapamp, mashed potatoes, ramara

                For instance, what price for the app and what price for the monthly subscription?  Would it be better to bill for it monthly or yearly?  

                Also I should mention, this wouldn't be platform-specific.  People would be able to access it from any device with a browser.  Folks who don't have smartphones could access it from their home computers and print out lists to bring with them.  What I'd like to see it do, is let people put in generic product descriptions and get back lists of companies, and make selections from those lists that would go on their personal shopping lists they could print & take along.

                You can see why that information would need to be kept private; we don't want advertisers or PR stooges getting hold of it and launching corporate image campaigns that lack substance.  Or worse yet, tying it to individuals as another form of tracking, which IMHO is evil.   Thus the subscription model is necessary to cover costs, instead of selling data to advertisers etc.  

                Ideal case, this would get popular enough to make a dent in the market for certain products.  Here's what's really subversive about that: it becomes an axis of competition.  Even a 1% shift in a consumer market is significant and makes companies sit up and take notice.  

                For example 20 years ago, toilet paper with recycled content was a new thing.  People scoffed that 10% recycled was meaningless.  But I predicted that it would become an axis of competition, and we would see other brands jumping in with increasing percentages of recycled content.  Turned out that was correct, and now we can get TP that's 100% post-consumer recycled paper.  

                It'll be a great day when we start seeing "100% ALEC-free" companies.  All it takes is for more people to vote with their dollars.

                "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

                by G2geek on Sat Jun 09, 2012 at 05:32:33 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Let me think about this . . . . (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  G2geek, ramara

                  too tired to give it the consideration it deserves right now.  Thanks for asking, and thanks for the details!  I will reply after coffee in the morning.

                  "The very least you can do in your life is to figure out what you hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope.". Barbara Kingsolver, _Animal Dreams_

                  by thea lake on Sat Jun 09, 2012 at 07:50:40 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  affordable? (0+ / 0-)

                  First, everything you outline in this comment sounds good: not-platform-specific, access info via generic product descriptions, ability to make selections (personal shopping list) to bring with.  Could be printable, or printable "save as PDF" and upload to something like Dropbox--for those who do have smartphones and want to just have the list right there.

                  Second, on subscriptions, I'd say offer both monthly and yearly.  I'd tend to go for the yearly, but others might want to subscribe at a point in time when they're making some major purchase.  So that flexibility would be helpful.  

                  Third, on pricing: as I said last night, I'd pay a monthly fee of ~$10/month--maybe give a $20 break to folks who subscribe for a year--give it for $100.  But it would get to more people if the price could be kept to half of that.  Monthly, $5/Annual, $60? $50?  As for the app--I think I'm out of my expertise on estimating that.  I can say that I have paid up to $30--for iBird Pro. And have paid $5 to $10 for some others.  Mostly I've got free or .99 apps.  Wouldn't your development costs affect this decision to some extent?

                  "The very least you can do in your life is to figure out what you hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope.". Barbara Kingsolver, _Animal Dreams_

                  by thea lake on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 11:54:59 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

    •  Awesome tool, less so to ALEC and the Cabal (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ramara, annieli

      Don't even think that I'm trying to discourage the development of this idea. It's a terrific idea. It's feasible, practical, useful, and appealing. The benefits are are faily easy to see. I think think that the top benefit is to enable more activists. All good.

      I see some challenges in the back end. This is far more complex than one might assume. It's a lot of work to keep things up-to-date. A full time job, perhaps for several people. Keeping things accurate might be futile. ALEC, for one, isn't exactly forthcoming with details. There are practical considerations, too. If, for example, Pepsico is on the list because it funds ALEC, how do you deal with it when Pepsico pulls its funds?

      Still, this isn't a show-stopper. It's a challenge. Perhaps the scale of the design should be narrowed a little.

      The reason that I suggest that this idea is harmless to organizations such as ALEC or the others in the Cabal (Heritage, AFP, Koch, Cato, etc.) is because of the ways that these organizations are funded. It's true that corporate sponsors are important to ALEC, but it's also true that a long list of right wing organizations and too-rich-to-care individuals provide most of the funds. A business that bails out of ALEC sponsorship can simply launder their funds through another organization. Heritage, for example, gives shitloads to ALEC. There are hundreds of undisclosed private foundations that fund all of these right wing money machines.

      This app idea is best applied to increasing participation and efficiency of boycotted products and businesses in a more direct way.

      Boycotting all Koch Industry products is an appropriate example. It isn't all that effective financially, but spreading the message is important. One problem with boycotting Koch is that the Koch brothers don't give a crap about their public image. They have plenty of other investments that boycotts can't affect.

      I'm not suggesting that boycotting such targets doesn't work because it does have an effect. Boycotts increase the pressure. All good.

      ALEC isn't going to be crushed by boycotting their sponsors. But it doesn't mean than boycotting these sponsors shouldn't be promoted.

      And this app is a boycott enabler. Good idea.

      "Never wrestle with a pig: you get dirty and the pig enjoys it"

      by GrumpyOldGeek on Sat Jun 09, 2012 at 06:40:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site