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Case Study

Mercado Ilegal

Crowdsourced contraband reporting


A reporting webapp built with a Headless Drupal, easy? Not at all, but it was quite a ride of innovation and crazy ideas that got us an awesome solution for the AMCHAM (Costa Rican - American Chamber of Commerce) partnered with the Costa Rican Ministry of Finance.

We created a webapp that let users report illegal products

AMCHAM needed to create a webapp that let users report illegal products in an anonymous way, share the locations, the category of the goods, it's characteristics, and the name of point of sale. Along with UX designer Gabriel Golcher, we built the webapp in 2 months, and if you take a look at some of the features, you can tell it was an awesome project to work with.

This website has been taken offline, but you can access the demo site here.

Project Name

The Process

We had to create a webapp that could perform under slow mobile internet connections and our tech challenge was to make it look like we were on a wifi connection. To do so, we created a headless Drupal using Angular to serve just the right code.

On the other side, because this website's content is mainly powered by users, we had to build a really responsive experience when people entered the data and also a custom backend dashboard for content curators to delete possible spam or misleading reports.

Mercado Ilegal

Nerd Talk


AMCHAM needed an instance that could generate multiple websites, so it could use one platform to maintain several other sites. This architecture made the whole ecosystem manageable and also it made possible to generate reports of the illicit goods of all the sites at once.


To make the site SEO friendly, we created a mechanism to redirect the traffic from crawlers such as search engines or social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, etc. and if the site was accessed by users, they would get redirected to the node with its information.


Everybody knows that Drupal out of the box is very rigid, so we needed to make it more flexible with all the data we were receiving, making possible features to filter, preview, and transition through reports and content on the map, as well as personalize the features of each site like language, colors, logos, among other things.


Latin America doesn't have big mobile internet speeds, so we knew that we had to build this web app mobile first, which means, speed first, that's why we relied on the backend of Pantheon and we even got featured at their blog because of all the magic we were able to pull of.

This project has been so technically challenging that we have talked about this in DrupalCon Los Angeles, DrupalNorth and in Pantheon.

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