At one of my favorite blogs, writer Erin posted a short item late last week in answer to questions she’s been getting about how to learn more about a product based on its barcode. You can see her post here. But here’s my question: Is this an activity that interests only a few on the fringes of consumer activism or curiosity, or is this a prelude to a future in which consumers will routinely do this sort of thing?
As noted in Erin’s post, GS1 provides the basic information on over a million companies in 100 countries… and you can search by company name, too. Now, for the sake of argument, if we can stipulate now just for the sake of argument that lots of consumers may want to do this, what does it mean for the company that isn’t using GS1-compliant barcode labeling standards? It means they wouldn’t be on the list. If that’s true, then who is really on the fringes — the consumer seeking data or the company that isn’t part of the global database of over a million companies and all the products they make?