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QR Codes Archive
If you are a regular CN reader, you know that I’ve been a big fan of QR codes since the early days…way before they became closer to mainstream as they are today. Most recently NYC has placed QR codes on all building permits to make the process of gathering up-to-date info quick and easy. Two years ago I suggested that QR codes would become a huge business – sadly it’s taking longer than I anticipated. If you are new to QR codes, check out how McDonalds in Japan uses QR codes to recruit new employees.
One of the downsides to QR codes is that they are kind of ugly – there’s no design elements involved — just a bunch of lines and dots. Microsoft created their 2D barcode technology named Tag — it’s more colorful but still lacks any brand presence and/or design.
If you are a regular reader of CN, you know I love the concept of QR codes. I think they have huge potential for print marketing and the ability to tie off-line and on-line promotions together like never before. If you are new to the idea of QR codes, check out our QR codes coverage and how the tags are being used in Japan.
Today the media department of the City of New York and NY-based how-to video site Howcast Media are partnering on a promotion to help push the concept of recycling to NY’ers. The promotion will bring QR codes to 2,200 New York City Department of Sanitation trucks. You can see a sample of the QR code on the side of the garbage truck below. So the next time one of the big rigs passes your building, hold your nose, grab your phone (I think the iPhone 4 should work fine for this usage) and scan that QR code.
After you scan the code, you will be taken to a page that features a video about recycling. In the coming weeks the page will be updated with the upcoming Howcast video. The NYC Media group notes that they have already successfully used QR codes in Times Square. Personally I can’t imagine people looking at their garbage trucks long enough to even notice the billboard and then wanting to get close enough to scan the code. But I like the concept and kudos to both groups for pushing the QR code concept.
Now if you want the killer city QR code concept – put the codes on every bus stop in the city. Scan the code with your mobile and receive an instant alert with the time the next bus will show up plus a schedule and map for that bus. The same could work for the subway although there currently is no cell service underground.
Howcast also recently relocated to a new, larger office that also houses a dedicated video studio.
I’ve been a big fan of QR codes from the beginning. Years ago my goal was to get the barcodes added to the Sunday coupon advertisements so that a customer could clip the coupon but could also get more information about the products using a barcode scanner.
About two years ago, Google discussed QR codes at the Advertising Club meetup in NYC. Shortly thereafter Google announced the Google Print Ads program which included QR codes. Earlier this year Google discontinued the Print Ads product.
If you are new to QR codes, check out our look at how the Japanese use the barcodes today. And also have a look at why I believe QR codes will be big business in the U.S. I wrote this article almost two years ago — I guess finally Google is reading this blog because today they have announced the launch of “Favorite Places” within their local product offering.
Google is sending out 100,000 stickers to the most often searched local businesses across the U.S. These stickers will include a QR code that can be scanned with a mobile phone. After scanning the QR code, information about the local establishment including hours of operation, menus, reviews, payment methods, etc. will be sent directly to the phone.
Users will be able to “star” their favorite places after scanning the codes and will also be allowed to write reviews.
With more of the new mobile devices having the QR code software pre-installed, I am sure this program will take off for Google. I wonder what will happen to Microsoft Tag and if Yelp (or the new local location services) will make a play in this area.
And just wait until all of us humans walk around with QR tatoos so that an interested mate can scan our code on our arm and learn all about us :)
If you read CN regularly, you know I like the QR Code concept. QR codes are 2D barcodes that can contain a lot of information and instructions so when you scan the code, it does something (most times it takes you to a website).
QReateBUZZ is a new service that helps you create QR codes for use on business cards, promotions, etc. They provide QR code creation tools plus the ability to manage multiple codes and an analytics tool (sample image below). The strength of the QReateBUZZ system is in the management and analytics – something many other QR code services don’t offer.
The interesting thing about QReateBUZZ is that it’s like using a hosted website (i.e. moo.hostedwebsite.com) — if that hosted website disappears, so does your site — same thing here. And this isn’t unique to QReateBUZZ, the issue would be present with any hosted company.
The service is free to use although I’d like a hosted model for a small fee. This hosted model would basically remedy the issue noted above. Here’s a sample screenshot from their analytics tool:
I’ve written about QR codes before and if you read CN, you know that I really hope the QR technology takes off in the U.S. as it has in other countries like Japan. You can see an example of a QR code (also known as 2d Barcode) on the left. Basically when you scan the code with a reader, it does something.
Today I came across, via Dean Collins, a record label using QR codes to get people offline to interact with their music. I’ve embedded a video below which describes how Lost Highway Records is using QR Codes. The video explains that they are using the codes to get people to a website where they can listen to their music, purchase full songs and find out information about upcoming concerts.
Check out the video and then think about how you can use QR codes for you and/or your clients. While I know the easy answer is that not enough handsets support the technology, adding the codes to your ads and promotional materials is easy – so why not capture those who can read the codes?
As some of you know, I am a big fan of QR 2D barcodes. Today LG and Scanbuy have announced that all LG camera phones will have the ScanLife 2D barcode application pre-installed on delivery. LG claims to have delivered 100 million handsets in 2008 although I don’t know what percentage were camera phones.
The ScanLife 2D barcode application reads all formats of 2D barcodes the company says so that means the new Microsoft Tag will also be supported. The nice thing about 2D barcodes is that they work worldwide. Let’s hope the other major mobile phone manufacturers follow suit and add a barcode reader by default as well.
Check out Satoko’s Japanese perspective on QR codes including some examples from popular companies including McDonalds.
Update: The 2d code blog says that there are no plans to support Microsoft Tag.
I was up very late last night and just before I shut down for the evening, I noticed a post by Mr. CES Robert Scoble pointing to a new launch by Microsoft called "Tag". Since that time, there have been over 60 comments discussing the Tag on Scoble’s post. If you regularly read CN, you know how much of a fan I am of QR Codes. There’s an example of a Microsoft Tag on the left – it’s got pretty colors and lots of triangles!
As an Internet marketer, I know how valuable mobile codes are around the world and how important they will be in the U.S. over the coming years. When I saw the Microsoft Tag, I was instantly disappointed because now we have yet another tagging technology to deal with. To some extent this is similar to the comparisons between Facebook Connect and OpenID. I haven’t heard anyone moaning that QR codes aren’t serving the needs of the community. The Microsoft Tag works just like a QR code works. You zap the tag with your mobile device and are taken to a site, promotion or application.
It appears the Microsoft Tag creation is free for now but eventually Microsoft will charge a fee to create a tag. What I wonder is how these tags change the cost of printing. A QR code can be printed in black/gray, this new Microsoft Tag needs full color which will certainly increase the cost of printing when black-only would have sufficed.
Long Zheng has a good comparison of the technical specifications between the Microsoft Tag and a QR code. Scoble says that the Microsoft Tag can be printed smaller and are more accurate.
I will be investigating these codes further as we support QR codes on CloudContacts for instant phone dialing. I doubt I would pay for code creation – especially when each person would have a unique code.