Signing up for Amazon fulfillment for our new Mightyverse card game, I found that I needed a Universal Product Code (UPC) or European Article Number (EAN). Amazon referred me to GS1US which sells 1-10 bar codes for $250, with an annual renewal fee of $50. Wow. That’s an expensive number, and a hefty fee for them to maintain a row in a database table for me.
A quick google search later, I found dozens of companies offering cheap barcodes for UPC and EAN numbers. A $5 one-time fee for someone to generate a number for me seemed much more reasonable. However, it turns out that many of these are scams — selling invalid codes or ones they don’t own or don’t have license to re-sell.
… if a company joined the Uniform Code Council (now GS1-US) prior to August 28, 2002, the Uniform Code Council’s membership and licence agreement did not contain any prohibition against subdividing the numbers… This appears to have been a side consequence of the class action settlement. The product numbers from these companies are legitimate, however they will only be valid for as long as the companies are in business.
— BarCode1 FAQ
George Laurer, who developed the Universal Product Code in 1973, maintains a UPC Blacklsit and recommends this UPC registered sellers list. Despite being on that list, I’m avoiding InstantUPC since they have an FTC complaint against them.
After looking at a few sites I picked Legal Barcodes which sent me an email with UPC numbers. It turns out Amazon does everything in EANs these days, but magically transformed my UPC into an EAN by adding a zero to the beginning of it.
I hope this helps someone else!