The Truth About Buying UPC Codes

NEW: The Ultimate Guide to BarCodes

The Ultimate Guide to Barcodes

If you ever wonder why I don’t post daily it is because what should be simple is often incredibly complicated and all the research takes a lot of my time. I then publish the results so others don’t have to reinvent the wheel.

If you sell products – this post is important to you.

Amazon has recently started requiring UPC codes for products listed for sale. Genuine Seller wrote a beneficial post about Dealing with Amazon UPC Requirements that anyone who lists unique individual products should read.

UPC Bar Code Maker

Click Image to Make a Bar Code

UPDATE March 18, 2012: There are only a handful of legitimate UPC barcode providers that have been authorized and verified by George Laurer (inventor of the UPC Barcode).

There is only one company that is legitimate, has the lowest prices and has immediate digital delivery of barcodesNationwide Barcode.

If what you are selling already has a UPC code and you have either a bar code reader or the exact product name you can try to use a UPC database to look up UPC  Codes. You can also try the bar code search.

Why we recommend everyone BOYCOTT AMAZON
They are intentionally risking their employees lives
and created an app to steal buyers from small businesses!

The codes DO make it easier for shoppers to compare prices which can be both good and bad; good because it makes it easy to compare prices and bad because it make is easy to make price the focus when it is NOT what either buyers or sellers should most care about.

This focus on buying cheap is what is destroying our economy and making us all poor! But that is a topic for an entirely different post so see what we can do to change all that is explained in my post Supporting Small Businesses.

This post is about how to buy UPC Codes without overspending or creating issues by buying from the wrong source.

If you have products manufactured that are not unique you are eventually going to need to buy a UPC code for each item if you want to sell at Amazon, on Shopping Comparison sites or in stores.

The very best explanation of the UPC issue is provided by Innovation Hall of Fame Member  George Laurer. Read his information BEFORE you Buy UPC Numbers and what to do if you only need to purchase one UPC number (or a few).

I recommend you use his list of legitimate UPC resellers if you don’t want to register your own.

If you regularly have products manufactured or wish to control the registry of your UPC you should use the official USC registrar Using them is the only way to have the UPC number registered directly to you.

All sites besides are resellers and the numbers they sell you are registered to them.

The Official GS1US site makes this claim:

“There’s only one U.P.C. barcode that’s accepted by retailers everywhere. And it’s only available from GS1 US.” ~ That is not entirely true ~

Even their own site mentions Solution Partners and articles like this one on buying UPC codes in the Washington Post acknowledge that there are legitimate UPC code resellers where you can buy a few or even buy one UPC code.

There is additional good information in this post about How to Sell your Book at Amazon on Kevin Kelly’s Cool Tools site and in the comments there. The information Simply BarCodes published on UPC Codes for Amazon.

I also recommend StartUp Nation‘s How to Obtain a UPC Code especially if you are a business selling in traditional brick and mortar stores like Nordstrom or Bloomingdale or any of the other companies that now require them for everything they sell.

If you sell handmade goods or collectibles that do not have UPCs and are unique (one of a kind) follow this UPC advice from SingleFeed:

“Do your best to include these unique identifiers in your product feed, but do not make these numbers up. If you’re selling handmade goods, you will not have MPNs or UPCs. That’s actually ok. If you’re buying your inventory from a distributor/supplier and that product has a real manufacturer, though, you can get MPNs and UPCs. It’s going to take work as not all distributors/suppliers are used to giving out this information, but you have to keep on them to do so.”

This UPC issue is going to affect resellers and merchants on a growing number of channels including Amazon and Google Product Search. See the resources below for additional resources specific to those channels.



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Gail Gardner

Small Business Marketing Strategist at GrowMap
Creator and owner of, Gail is primarily known for mentoring small businesses and encouraging bloggers to join collaborations to share skills and support small business.

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