White label or white-label?

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It is becoming increasingly common in the world of the internet to use software or services created by others to deliver value for your own customers or clients.

For example, agencies use EditorNinja’s services to deliver great editing for their clients, without their clients even knowing. The agency can sell editing to their client and have it delivered by EditorNinja.

The question now becomes what this process is called and how that is spelled.

Is it “white label,” “white label,” or even “whitelabel”?

What does “white label” mean?

According to Wikipedia:

A white-label product is a product or service produced by one company (the producer) that other companies (the marketers) rebrand to make it appear as if they had made it.[1][2] The name derives from the image of a white label on the packaging that can be filled in with the marketer’s trade dress. White label products are sold by retailers with their own trademark but the products themselves are manufactured by a third party.[3]


Well that’s not very helpful, Wikipedia!

But what about a service? According to That Company,

In the digital world, white labeling is when your company purchases a white label company’s services and presents them to the customer under your brand name. It’s not like the customer is picking up a product, putting it into their shopping cart, and checking out.


The example above seems to be using “white label” with a space and no hyphen in between the words.

But is that correct? Are you confused yet?

To add to the confusion, “white label” originally comes from the music industry. A vinyl producer would create a test run of vinyl pressings on a white label, without the artwork, to ensure that the quality was up to the artist’s standards. From there, they’d produce more white label copies to distribute to promoters, DJs, and more.

Even more, software companies also use the white label term. They usually refer to an option that hides the branding of their service. One exception is the client portal software for agencies Service Provider Pro, which has developed a unique feature for white labeling. It allows its users to connect to a different workspace, and resell services.

White Label vs White-Label

So when do you use “white label” and when do you use “white-label”?

White label and white-label seem to be equally correct. Basically, the one you choose to use comes down to a matter of style. Investopedia, for example, uses “white label” whereas Marketing Profs uses “white-label.” Just pick one for your company or tone of voice and stick to it.

When referring to the music industry and specifically the process of producing advance copies to distribute, use “white label.”

What about “whitelabel”?

I have found very few instances where “whitelabel” is used. In Google, there are only 2.49 million results for “whitelabel” whereas there are 32,900,000 for “white label”.

Whitelabel is therefore used, but not widely, and may be seen as incorrect. In fact, Grammarly flags it as incorrect while I am writing this piece!

Are White Label and Private Label the same?

Before I let you go correct your use of white label around the internet, let’s briefly answer one other question: what is the difference between white label and private label?

While they’re often used interchangeably, they are different things.

Private label refers a brand sold exclusively in one retailer, such as Equate in Walmart or anything Costco sells as Kirkland. White label refers to a generic product, which is sold to multiple retailers like generic ibuprofen (Advil). Advil is white labeling generic ibuprofen under their brand name.