The Clearing House Real-Time Payments Tracker October 2023

PublicSquare Debuts ‘Woke-Free’ eCommerce Marketplace

eCommerce, PublicSquare, retail, SMBs

PublicSquare, a self-described marketplace for “patriotic businesses and consumers,” has launched an eCommerce site. 

The site, which rolled out Wednesday (Nov. 1), is aimed at offering small businesses a way to boost sales while giving consumers “a seamless transaction experience that aligns with their values,” founder and CEO Michael Seifert said in a news release.

“We are excited to continue building the parallel economy that will serve America’s small business community,” he added.

That “parallel economy” is one that does not include brands that PublicSquare deems “woke,” instead focusing on “70,000 values-aligned businesses.” 

“As mainstream corporate America increasingly pushes the progressive agenda of equity, inclusivity, climate activism, and more, PublicSq. seeks to promote the constitutional values this nation was founded on,” the company said on Oct. 27 on its blog.

The blog also includes a regular feature called “Buy Ditch,” imploring its customers to shop its approved brands and shun companies like Kellogg, Tampax, Starbucks and Skullcandy due to their support for organizations like Planned Parenthood and for anti-racism, pro-LGBTQ causes. 

As Time Magazine noted in a report earlier this fall, recent years have seen an explosion in businesses selling themselves as right-wing answers to “woke” products, often drawing investments from high-level venture capitalists and private equity groups. 

The sector, that report added, is still quite nascent, and it’s unclear how successful it has been. For example, PublicSquare generated less than $1 million in revenue for the first half of the year, and company officials said — as of September — that it hadn’t yet turned a profit.

Last year saw the quick rise and fall of GloriFi, a Texas startup that billed itself as a conservative alternative to “woke” Wall Street financial firms. 

The company, which described itself as “pro-freedom, pro-America, pro-capitalism,” announced plans in July 2022 to go public in a blank check merger worth $1.7 billion.

“Consumers today overwhelmingly want to do business with companies who share their values,” Toby Neugebauer, GloriFi’s founder and chief executive, said at the time. 

“We believe that this is a vastly underserved market, and our combining unapologetically pro-America values with what we believe is best-in-class technology provides GloriFi with a powerful competitive advantage to lead this exciting growth category.” 

But by November, GloriFi had shut its doors and begun laying off employees, as the funding it had hoped to land fell through.