For people who oppose Amazon’s announced HQ2 in Long Island City, a new app will help make sure they don’t throw any money the company’s way.
Block Amazon For Me, released this week, is a third-party Chrome browser extension that blocks access to amazon.com and many of its affiliated websites.
"In order to have real economic impact against Amazon’s monopolistic practices, we must break online shopping habits," the app’s anonymous creators write on blockamazonfor.me. "Boycott Amazon simply by blocking their websites from your browser."
Audible, Zappos, IMDb, Box Office Mojo, twitch, Whole Foods and goodreads are among the domains blocked in addition to amazon.com. The extension, however, does not block sites using Amazon’s web services "as this would disable a chunk of the internet," according to the site.
One of the web app’s developers, who wished to remain anonymous, told amNewYork in an email that while they do have the capability to track the number of installations, they are not yet publicly releasing numbers. The ultimate goal, the developer said, is "already happening."
"We don’t actually imagine a large-scale boycott taking place, but the largest impediment to boycotts is habitual shopping practices," the developer wrote. "With a click to install our browser extension, consumers can solidly take a stand."
Since the online retail and media giant last month announced plans to bring 25,000 new jobs to Queens as part of it’s headquarters expansion, there has been no shortage of public outcry from New Yorkers and elected officials.
Amazon is getting a package of $1.7 billion in incentives from the state and hundreds of millions more from the city.
The Retail Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) led a rally last week as it released its report — which is featured on blockamazonfor.me — of controversial employment practices and anti-union sentiments at the company.
Earlier in November, State Sen. Michael Gianaris said he was exploring legal opportunities to challenge the deal, which critics say offers Amazon far too much in tax breaks and requires little to no public subsidy in return.
"The state and the city should both be embarrassed to be standing behind this deal . . . They got taken, plain and simple," Gianaris said.
City Council Speaker Corey Johnson has also been publicly skeptical of the merits of the deal.