Power to the People

By Marilynne Rudick on January 6, 2012

After receiving more than 165,000 emails from disgruntled customers in one day, Verizon rescinded its $2.00 a-month-fee to customers who paid their bills online or by phone. Similarly, Bank of America abandoned its $5 a-month-fee for debit cardholders after being inundated by emails from angry customers.

How did these consumer victories happen? In large part the credit goes to, a website that makes it easy to mobilize people to fight corporate greed or city hall.

The cause can be global—getting Bank of America and Verizon to rescind their fees. Or the cause can be local. After receiving 1663 emails, the Fairfax County, Virginia Zoning Board reversed a decision requiring an Iraqi vet to tear down a tree house he had built with his two sons.

How Works’s mission is to build momentum for social change by providing the tools to rally support behind a cause. Tools include a simple template that anyone can use to initiate a petition. (Who do you want to petition? What do you want them to do? Why is this important?) provides examples of successful petitions and tips for soliciting signatures. Each signature generates an automatic email to the targeted individual or organization. For a fee, will partner with the petitioner to publicize the cause and generate supporters.

Getting Bank of America and Verizon to roll back their fees are’s most notable achievements. But thousands of organizations and groups have launched petition drives with Among its victories:

Today, many people feel powerless to change corporate or government policies. So it is heartening to know that victories are possible when people add their collective voices to a common cause. makes it easy to do that.

Categories: E-Mail & Messaging, Social Networking
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