Crowdsourced labeling app aims for radical transparency in product labels

OpenLabel app screenshots
© OpenLabel

Like Yelp for products, OpenLabel allows individuals and organizations to attach their own custom labels, with reviews and ratings, onto product barcodes.

Instead of relying solely on the limited information available on the manufacturer's label, this app opens up the labeling ecosystem by allowing users to share their own thoughts on any product, empowering consumers to make smarter choices when shopping.

Marketing products to the modern consumer is a delicate dance of truthiness, insinuation, and misdirection, and if you read labels literally and take things at face value, you run the risk of being misled, because it's not always in the company's best interest to be 100% honest with their potential customers.

For the discerning shopper, there are ethical shopping apps which rate products based the earth-friendliness of the company, or their ingredients, or the political contributions of the company's leadership, all of which can help us to make more informed decisions, but now there's a new kid on the labeling block, which uses the power of the crowd to bring more transparency to product labeling.

The OpenLabel Project, currently in beta, aims to bring radical transparency to everyday products through its labeling system, which allows both individuals and organizations to attach their own labels to a product, instantly, using the product's barcode. These labels are then open to the public to see, and to comment on, through the website and the app, in essence acting as a social network and review platform for products where users can share their thoughts on the products and help others to either choose or avoid buying them.

The OpenLabel app (free for iOS, with an Android version coming soon) is easy to use - simply scan the barcode of the product in question, read any of comments on that product from others, and then add your own thoughts or review of the product. Along with the product labeling side of the app, OpenLabel also has a 'follower' ecosystem, so users can follow organizations and individuals they trust (through a 'newsfeed' feature), in order to make the best possible buying decisions, right at the point of purchase.

"Our dollars are our most powerful voice. By creating a centralized place for people and organizations to share environmental. political, social, animal, and health & safety information, the OpenLabel Project will make commerce more transparent, and help consumers make smarter, more responsible choices." - OpenLabel

Currently, this crowd-powered labeling platform covers some 20,000,000 products from 14,000 brands, but there's still a lot of work to be done in the product review/ratings space, so if you're a discerning shopper and would like to either add to OpenLabel, or just to use it for your own shopping trips, you can sign up at the website (if it says you need a referral code, you can use the code XCVHZ7). The app can be downloaded from the iTunes App Store, and an Android version is coming soon.

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