Brand Standard Identifier Number (BSIN): Open Product Data Working Group Launches a Brand Repository!

December 20, 2013 in Uncategorized


In order to build a meaningful database of all the products in the world, it is important that we are able to link essential attributes of the product to the product itself. One obvious attribute that we have wanted to link is the product’s brand. Unfortunately, we discovered that assigning a brand to a product is not as easy as we anticipated. Not only is there no standard identifier for brands, there is also not always a clear distinctions between a brand, a product line, a company etc. Nevertheless, a product’s brand is incredibly powerful in influencing purchasing decisions and we felt that it was important to develop a way of managing and assigning brands to products.

The working group had already built a brand repository containing upwards 4,000 brands but this repository was highly integrated with our open product database and our system of assigning brands to products was not scalable.  To correct for this we have developed a separate brand management platform and created a six digit alphanumeric code, the Brand Standard Identifier Number (BSIN), unique to individual brands. The brands already in our product database have now been assigned a unique BSIN code. The brand repository is available under an MIT licence via our API or by bulk download.  We can easily foresee the use of BSIN by all the product related applications and its use in the APIs of other system.

Ultimately, it will be possible to group brands by brand owners (i.e. all the brands belonging to Unilever or Pepsico) using OpenCorporates, for example, or link brands to resources such as wikipedia, and find the history of the brand using organisational registries like the INPI in France. 4,000 brands is only just the beginning. We will continue to add brands to our repository and users can recommend brands to add to the repository as well.

If you would like to be involved in the management of this repository (no technical skills required) or to participate in the development of the brand repository platform (Python / Django / Postgre), introduce yourself on the mailing list or find us on Github. We have a long way to go before we can truly link every product to its respective brand and owner but being able to identify and assign brands is an important first step.


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