Frequently Asked Questions

What is a barcode?

A barcode is a unique code that identifies a product. It includes a particular set of numbers, as well as a unique pattern of stripes — or "bars". This pattern can be recognized by computers and optical readers, like the ones you see at the checkout counters of retail stores. And the list of numbers can be typed into a search engine, such as Barcode Lookup, to find info on that specific product.

Are there different kinds of barcodes?

Yes! Different countries and regions use different barcode formats. The United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and many other countries use barcodes that are called Universal Product Codes (UPCs). Retailers in Europe and other regions of the world use a barcode format called International Article Number (EAN — because it used to be called European Article Number). Books often use their own special type of barcode format, called the International Standard Book Number (ISBN).

Why do a barcode lookup?

A product's package may not give you all the details you want to know. For example, maybe it doesn’t tell you where the product comes from, who makes it, how durable it is, how well it does what it's supposed to do, or how much other stores are charging for it. When you enter a barcode into Barcode Lookup, you're tapping into an international database of information about millions of products sold worldwide — their manufacturers, their descriptions, and even photos and customer reviews. We also show you online stores that carry that exact item, so you can find discounts and special deals easily.

Where do you get your barcode information?

Our barcode and product data comes straight from a worldwide network of more than 1,500 retailers and regular users just like you. On a daily basis, companies and individual website users send us new and updated barcodes with product data.

How can I buy my own barcodes?

The Internet offers many different options to generate and buy your own unique barcodes for use in retail stores and e-commerce shops across the web and around the world. Start with your search engine and type in a term such as "buy your own barcode". You'll see sites that make it easy for you to buy and register a barcode for your product. If you’re interested in our recommendation, we suggest you contact And remember that certain types of barcodes are designed for specific kinds of products and situations — so before you buy a barcode, be sure to check up on the rules.

Do you sell barcodes?

Not at this time. But as outlined in the section just above, it's easy to find online stores that would be happy to sell you one.

How do I add my barcode and product information?

Visit our Add a Barcode page to add your product or edit the product information if it already exists.

How do I list my e-commerce site as one of your 'online stores'?

We work with a large list of online retailers. However, we're selective about who we include on that list because our users trust us to provide recommendations on quality, trustworthy online stores. If you're interested in listing your online store in our database, lookup a product and click the "ADD STORE" button in the Online Stores section.

I bought a defective product. Can you help me return or report it?

We're sorry to hear that! Unfortunately, we can't help with any product issues because we're not a manufacturer, a distributor or a retailer. All we do is maintain a database of barcodes and product info for customers to lookup. We suggest you get in touch with the product retailer where you made your purchase and explain the issue.

If a barcode is not found on your site, does that mean it isn't real?

Not necessarily. Although our database contains info on millions of barcodes and products, that doesn't mean we have every single barcode used anywhere in the world. If your search doesn't return information on a certain barcode, it simply means we don't have it yet.

How much is your Bulk Lookup or API service?

Check out our Bulk Lookup and API pages for more info on package and subscription rates.

How do we categorize the products in our database?

We follow Google's product taxonomy to classify products in the Barcode Lookup database.

Can a barcode determine where a product was purchased?

Unfortunately, we cannot determine where a product was purchased solely by its barcode. We suggest you locate the original product receipt.