My Vegan Database is a website where owners of other vegan websites can submit and categorize their site for free, and where users can explore those listings to find resources that can help them answer questions, solve everyday problems, or simply to learn more about veganism and related topics (such as animal welfare) in general.
As the Founder and Curator of My Vegan Database, Luca has his finger on the pulse of the online vegan community. He gets to see what categories of vegan websites are popular with users, what’s up and coming, and what’s overlooked. We were lucky enough to have him answer some of our questions, and share some of his valuable insights.
Q: How long have you been vegan Luca?
I have been vegan for 10 years. When I discovered the ethical side of veganism something clicked inside me. It was a bitter-sweet discovery at the time. Probably more bitter than sweet, but any time I see videos shot in animal sanctuaries I try to remember that a different future is possible.
Q: What was the main motivation for starting My Vegan Database?
I wanted to create a useful tool for people that are interested in topics and spokespeople related to veganism, with a particular focus on first timers. I started the website having in mind those people asking me how-to questions on veganism. I felt it could be a useful site for those who do not have the support of other longer term vegans.
The site is not biased towards any particular businesses or sites, I add in all sites that are promoting veganism and it is up to the community to rate and review.
Q: What part about owning My Vegan Database do you enjoy most?
The most amazing thing is that I discover people, websites or communities that I have never heard of, that are huge in terms of numbers. Social media profiles with hundreds of thousands of followers. And anytime I ask myself “how the heck is possible that I have never bumped into this before?” It’s been an eye opener to see how much the community has grown and how diverse it has become.
Q: There are other vegan website databases out there, what sets your site apart?
My Vegan Database is not just a listing of websites. People can vote and review the profiles, helping others to understand if that person or website is what they are looking for.
I wanted to give the vegan community the opportunity to apply the classic ‘5 stars’ criteria to all those online entities that explore veganism and related topics.
Q: What are the benefits to submitting a website or business on your site?
I wanted to give the the opportunity to all those medium and small veg promoters to be found. The opportunity to not disappear in the ocean of the internet or being overshadowed by the “loudest” vegans.
The question is, are all the famous vegan advocates also good advocates? Unfortunately, I believe that is not the case for all, and some of them are good promoters of their media profiles but negative characters in terms of content.
Q: Can people submit listings that they don’t own?
Absolutely. When this happens, I usually notify the owner of that site or business that a profile has been created, in order for them to verify if any information is not correct.
Q: How does one go about submitting a website or business? And is it free?
The creation of a profile is completely free and very simple. Either contacting My Vegan Database through social media or using the Submit an entry page on myvegandb.com will work. The minimum required is a link to the website or social media account, of which a profile should be created.
At the moment the entities that are purely businesses are not included in the database. Even if sometimes is not easy to understand the difference between a business and an online guide.
I am planning specific sections for businesses, so I gladly accept web addresses of vegan businesses but the profiles will be uploaded once this section of the database is ready.
Q: We notice a wide variety of categories on your site, do users tend to visit some more than others?
The category “Recipes” is of great interest for a lot of people, and I guess it was expected for several reason. “Ethics” and “Fitness” are of great interest too.
A fun fact is that a lot of people end up on MVDB searching for Barnivore, the online database of vegan booze. This clearly debunks the myth of vegans as a sort of modern monks.
Q: Are there any websites or business on your site that you feel are overlooked? Any profiles that you feel don’t get as much attention as they should?
While I wouldn’t call out any site in particular as they are all at different stages of set up and very different content, there are some really great rescues and sanctuaries that are quietly working away within their communities with the sole purpose of making life a little better for animals, without much social media exposure, so I would recommend that users check them out and share their profiles, and perhaps make a donation or volunteer with them if they could.
Q: Owning a site of this kind, you must see a wide variety of vegan websites and business. Are you noticing a certain type of vegan website or business becoming dominant?
There is a huge variety! The community is so diverse and at the end of the day we are regular people looking for the same things as everyone else, we just want our businesses to be cruelty free. If I had to call out what I think is the most popular I would say vegan recipes are huge.
I believe this is normal because vegan recipes are of interest even for people that are not vegan but still interested in plant-based food. I remember once I was checking for words trending on Google and “vegan cupcakes” was on the rise with an increase of the 700%! So not all vegans are health nuts…
Vegan fitness I feel will be the next big thing. Athletes are the most demanding human beings in terms of nutrition, and the fact that everyday there are more and more champions who thrive on veggies is challenging the role of meat in the world of fitness.
Q: Random question to close things out, what’s your favourite vegan food?
I love seitan, even if I don’t eat it regularly. My sister makes batches of fresh seitan, and when I go home for the holidays I normally get treated to delicious home made dishes, like seitan with roasted potatoes and peas. If I don’t like a seitan-based dish it means that someone put coriander in it!