Pass the Message, QR Codes
I recently had an interesting experience with a dim witted fool who claims to be some kind of “new media” wizard. Unfortunately, when new media is used without a basic understanding of business, marketing or even a rational thought process, it becomes an annoyance for all of us. Gone are the days when all we had to do is worry about junk mail from the postman or even spam in our inbox. Today, dim witted fools are propagating their messages in secret form through the use of QR codes.
If you haven’t seen them, QR codes are the interesting, 2-dimensional bar codes that are starting to appear all over the place. That look a little bit like this:
The interesting thing about these is the fact that they can contain all sorts of information from URLs to Calendar appointments and text to SMS messages (the one above allows you to send an SMS message to the gentleman I mentioned above with a personal message — try it out). All you need to garner that information is a QR code reader … of which there are many free or cheap ones available for iPhone, Android, Blackberry, etc. I personally use Red Laser on my iPhone, which does a lot of other things (like price checks using normal UPC codes) but is also an excellent QR code scanner. There are also many free/cheap tools for creating QR Codes. I use BIZ Barcode in my iPhone (although, I have to admit to having a few issues with this one crashing, but it is also a decoder/scanner as well I just like Red Laser better for scanning), or there are several web sites to do the same, such as:
That’s the good news–these are really kind of cool in a “secret code”, “treasure hunt” kind of way, especially if there is some cool additional information, tools or trinkets to be found. Unfortunately if jerks like the one mentioned above have their way, it will kill these cool little things faster than Facebook killed MySpace. The reason is simple … he wants everything to have a QR code and for these codes to have useless, boring marketing behind them. No cool offer. No trendy video. Nothing but boring, old junk mail masquerading in a deceptively cool package.
Maybe if enough people use the code above … he’ll get the message. Ok, probably not, but it will be fun anyway.