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Reverse-boycotting: Crowd clout meets eco persuasion

Nonprofit & Social Cause

Crowd clout is a force that can be very effective in getting consumers what they want—such as cheaper prices, as we’ve noted before. For helping to effect social change, though, it typically focuses on punishing bad corporate citizens through boycotts and other means. A new, San Francisco-based site called Carrotmob, however, is turning that aspect of crowd clout on its head by using it to reward the companies that do the most good. Very simply, Carrotmob aims to organize consumers to provide an economic incentive to companies for making positive environmental changes. The group hopes to begin by creating a broad network of consumers and forming partnerships with other larger advocacy groups, so as to tap into their research and infrastructure. Next, it plans to implement campaigns focusing on different industries, identifying for each specific opportunities to become more environmentally friendly. Carrotmob will then approach the companies in each industry with suggestions, and invite them to make the changes they have identified; interested companies, it hopes, will vie to do the most good. Competing offers will be evaluated by Carrotmob, and its network members will then reward the chosen company with “an unprecedented kind of shopping spree” to boost short-term company profits, as well as by proclaiming that company the most responsible in its industry. In short: the companies that do the most good get the most rewards. The non-profit’s founders explain: “The most exciting thing about Carrotmob may be that we can end the tradition of hostility between activists and business. Today we strive to make these important changes using a framework of positive cooperation. The best company wins, the consumer wins, and the planet wins.” For its first year, Carrotmob is seeking donations, and does not plan to generate any revenue; eventually, though, it hopes to become ad-supported, as members begin to display user-generated images and videos as ads on their Facebook profiles via a Carrotmob application. How it all plays out remains to be seen, but Carrotmob’s reverse-boycott model is one to watch! Spotted by: Jono Hey

Email: carrotmob@gmail.com

Website: www.carrotmob.org

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