QR codes, those tiny 2D codes are big on is hype, with proponents touting them as the bridge between the offline and online world. But that offline to online bridge is structurally flawed and may be keeping many brands from reaching their audience effectively.

QR Cupcakes

Updated. Every brand is trying to catch the attention of today’s on-the-go consumer. Many are turning to these things called Quick Response (QR) codes or other types of scannable 2D barcodes. For the unfamiliar, and judging by some surveys, that’s most of us, QR codes are those the little blotchy square barcodes popping up on everything from coins to the unmentionables of Olympic volleyball players. These kinds of bar codes come in many flavors, including the black and white QR variety, multi-colored Microsoft Tags, and others.

One thing these tiny 2D codes are big on is hype, with proponents touting them as the bridge between the offline and online world.  But that offline to online bridge is structurally flawed for most and may be keeping many brands from reaching most of their audience effectively.

Here are five key reasons why:

Not everybody has a smartphone

The simple fact is that most mobile phones cannot read a QR code.  While smartphones are the fastest growing segment of the mobile handset market, the Nielsen estimates that 60 percent of cell phones in use today are not smartphones. Surprising, right? You wouldn’t advertise in a language most of your target audience doesn’t speak. Why are QR codes any different?

The process can be confusing

2D bar codes are not monolithic. There are multiple types of incompatible codes and many different barcode readers, leaving users to figure out which reader is right for which code.  A quick search of “QR Code Reader” in the Android Marketplace or iTunes Store returns hundreds of free and paid apps.  It’s a bit much for a general consumer and can quickly turn the whole QR experiment from interesting to frustrating.  Why does this magazine ad prompt me to download a reader first before using it, while another just shows a QR code? Which bar code app do I choose?  Does this app work for my phone?  Will it work with the code I’m trying to scan? It’s a mess.  And, most codes don’t reinforce the brand image in anyway, unlike branded URLs or vanity numbers.

They lack cross-media functionality

Advertisers want to maximize their marketing spends effectively, and many are willing to experiment. But QR codes have their place. Flashing a QR code on a TV screen for 3-5 seconds at the end of a commercial or using them on highway billboards probably aren’t the best ideas.  And of course, they are completely incompatible with a radio promotion.  The lack of cross-media functionality is a severe limitation on the QR code’s use as a direct response method across all kinds of ads or promotions.

They may be too much trouble for the consumer

Consumers are notoriously unreceptive to learning new, complicated behaviors without an obvious, substantial benefit. And the QR code is nothing if not a behavior change. Consider that before a user can scan a code she must:

  1. Plan ahead and download a QR reader app, hoping that it is the right app for the code she will download.
  2. Find a QR code of interest.
  3. Check the lighting or disable the camera’s flash to reduce glare which can muck up the scan.
  4. Frame the code in the reader’s phone camera lens just right.
  5. Hold the phone very still.
  6. Scan the image.
  7. Wait while the image uploads (using a portion of her limited data allotment)
  8. Finally click the mobile URL or whatever the software sends her to activate the content or get the promotion.

For most people, you’ve lost them at the first step because they don’t have a QR reader to begin with, don’t understand how to use it, or simply don’t want to bother. And lest you think it’s just us older folks who aren’t clamoring all over QR codes like today’s tech-savvy youth — think again.  It seems many of them don’t get QR codes either. A survey of high school and college students by marketing firm Ypulse found that 64 percent of respondents didn’t know what a QR code was. Of the 36 percent who did, less than one in five had ever bothered to scan one.

A bad experience could be prohibitive

A poor or failed QR code experience could leave a frustrated user with a negative experience with the brand and the promotion itself. In a recent survey conducted by Lab24, only 13 percent of those polled were able to successfully scan the survey’s QR code that was provided to them.  In other words, nearly 9 of 10 attempts failed.  That’s an astounding failure rate for something that’s supposed to let people engage with your brand on the go.

QR codes do have their place, such as comparison shopping in Best Buy if someone is so inclined and technically enabled.  A recent comScore survey reinforced this point. Print publications and product packaging were the top two sources of scanned codes, with most activity happening in the home or in a store.  Scannable barcodes have their uses, but slapping them everywhere without thought for the medium, message, or the target customer is misguided.

Consumers deserve better than this. They deserve simplicity. They deserve value. They deserve respect for the time they spend interacting with a product, a business or a brand. Marketers must heed this call or risk building a wall between themselves and the consumer increasingly wary of the value we can deliver to their mobile phone. We can do better.

Joe Gillespie is the President and CEO of Zoove, a registry of self-chosen, short dialing codes, called star-star numbers, than brands can use as an alternative to QR codes.

For more information about mobile trends, check out our GigaOM Mobilize conference Sept. 26 and 27 in San Francisco.

Update: This post was updated on September 26 to more clearly describe the author’s company, Zoove.

Image courtesy of Flickr user clevercupcakes.

  1. Using this reasoning we should have done away with the internet in 1996 because most people didn’t have a personal computer, they had never heard of web sites and didn’t know how to download and install a browser, and web sites that did exist were hideous. While it’s true that QR codes are often misused, they can be a very useful marketing tool when done right. Come back and re-read this post in 2 or 3 years.

    1. JoeHage | #MedDevice Sunday, September 25, 2011

      I was thinking the same thing, Steve.

    2. + 1

    3. Just had to agree and reply – I remember giving a talk to business men in Aberdeen some 15 years ago and (being no spring chicken even then) talked about internet, hand held devices – they all laughed, thought I was mad! and said that the internet would be a 7 day wonder!!

    4. Jason 'Zeus' Brown Monday, September 26, 2011

      Completely agree. Plus, you don’t need a smart phone, you need a camera phone. And a few of the steps are completely bogus. As someone else mentioned, the image doesn’t get uploaded. The flash generally isn’t used, and the camera doesn’t need to be lined up just right and held very still for any decent reader. And using not being compatible with radio as a reason not to use it in other media would destroy every type of advertising.

    5. Robert Eastwood Monday, September 26, 2011

      agree…here’s a response in QR Code format…take that!

      1. Completely agree with @ Steve Briggs and thank you for the response in QR format.

      2. Congratulations! You were the first QR code I scanned. I just downloaded the app because I’m seeing these everywhere and need to be up to date.

    6. +1

  2. Some of these points don’t square with experience, to me.

    There is essentially one 2D barcode format: QR code. This accounts for over 95% of usage out there. A handful of applications use Data Matrix, which any major barcode reader also reads. Both are free and open. This idea that there’s a format compatibility problem is one promulgated by late-90s barcode companies who have an interest in selling their old “solution”: their own niche proprietary format, that nobody uses.

    No barcode reader today works by uploading an image to a server; it’s more than easy enough to decode on the handset. No barcode reader worth its salt makes you actively “scan” the image either, by pressing a button, if that’s what you mean. It just happens when the barcode comes into view. This really is not a difficult process today.

    Point taken about finding the reader, but anecdotally, it seems that most Android devices come with one preinstalled for example.

    At the end of the day QR codes remain a useful gimmick. They’re a glorified hyperlink and always will be, and a minor enabling technology in linking print to online. (Agree it’s not for radio or TV, but, the not-TV-or-radio universe ain’t small!)

    QR codes aren’t the big deal many writers make them out to be, but there’s nothing really wrong with them. They sure do what they’re meant to do, quite well.

  3. Number 1 reason, CueCat Scanner.

  4. The Japanese have been using them for years and Europe caught on quickly as well. If Americans take longer to catch on to new technology and phones don’t come with QR reader software loaded then it’s time to wake up.

    QR codes aren’t the problem, they are just tools. Every reason listed above was addressed in more advanced countries and the USA will eventually catch up.

  5. Of course his reasoning is weak. His company is pushing some pathetic StarStar number scheme. Good luck with that. They even slam QR codes right on their homepage. I’m really disappointed with GigaOm posting these obvious marketing pitches—especially inaccurate propaganda ones like this. Make some attempt to keep it honest and unbiased.

    1. Thanks for pointing this out. We do try to make sure that our guest posts are as free from conflicts of interest as possible, and that, if there is a potential conflict of interest, that we clearly disclose it. At minimum, we should have more clearly disclosed what Zoove does. I’ve updated the post to reflect that.

  6. I agree QR Code are disappointing so far, but just because there is lack of imagination from companies. Have fun here http://postmodernview.com/2011/09/02/qr-code-or-sex-the-final-marketing-tool/

  7. The company of the author (Zoove) proposes a different solution for the same problem. A disclaimer would have been appropriate.

    1. Agreed. What else should we expect.

      1. Thanks so much for your comments. We should have described more clearly what Zoove does. I just updated the post to clarify that.

  8. Grossly skewed perspective. The list of 8 is so elongated. Collectively taking about 1 second. Subconsciously. Just as “webex” said, bad form by GigaOm.

  9. Apple need to push this into their iOS5 as standard, people trust Apple and their pre-loaded native apps, same with every other operating system…

    We cannot ignore the dramatic increase in usage stats, not sure they will be used enough to push people back to print advertising though.

  10. boom. I agree w/ Steve Briggs.

  11. Sriram Vadlamani Saturday, September 24, 2011

    Here’s what I think of the 5 points you mentioned. I have to say, I disagree on all 5 of them.

    1. Not everybody has a smartphone — QR reader can work with a camera and an app. Feature phones are coming with apps these days. No?
    2. The process can be confusing — Could be. But so is every process. Those who can be confused will be confused.
    3. They lack cross-media functionality — QR codes will and should stick to the media which works with them. Paper is obviously one. Billboards might not be the one unless the cameras become all powerful. But flashing QR code on a tv screen is gormless. Haven’t seen anyone use it.
    4. They may be too much trouble for the consumer — Only one thing here. Evolution. Will get better.
    5. A bad experience could be prohibitive — Now this reason will be in the five reasons for almost everything in the technology.

    Read this : Forget Rashi, What’s your QR Code –> http://thegadgetfan.com/mobile-smartphones/forget-rashi-whats-your-qr-code.html

    1. Great insight in this comment and agree on all accounts. I like the link too, as it has some great info. I wrote a QR Code eBook that explains how to address the points made by the author of this article, as like all things strategy is what’s important: http://bit.ly/iHxZua.

  12. As @webvex says, this from a competitor that still uses primarily SMS. Hey, GigaOm, just saying he’s the president of Zoove isn’t enough — it should be disclosed that he’s essentially dumping on his competition.

    The point about not everyone having a smartphone is also misguided. Many older “feature” phones actually come with a QR code reader pre-installed (e.g. pretty much every Symbian phone, so wider usage basis in Europe).

    I agree that the magical world of NFC will be much better … but QR code is something that you can experiment with today.

  13. This appallingly biased post should be clearly labelled *at the top* as either a sponsored post, if it was paid-for as seems likely, or as a guest post from someone who is selling an alternative to QR codes (Zoove).

    GigaOM’s standards have slipped further than usual with this one.

  14. you left out Google Goggles.- what’s the lifetime of a non-standard label when a smartphone can determine the object w/o the label? PS Smartphones are dominant in the US now.

  15. I don’t agree. We have installed QR on panels in cities, museums and festival in Italy since 2009 and we are seeing a surprisingly growing of use of them. Consider Nokia phones had qr scanner in old phone models (not smartphone)

  16. Great article, thank you. Will tweet it.

    More and more clients are starting to ask for QR codes simply because ‘they are the latest thing’. Your article raises some interesting points – especially the Nielsen stats; are they relevant to the UK?

    Also, the effect of a poor user experience; if the user scans a QR code on advertising material about a specific widget, and arrives at the home page of their website without direct relevance to the widget it makes a poor impression. QR codes need to form part of a marketing strategy that can be measured.

  17. Michael Schwartz Sunday, September 25, 2011

    Whoever wrote this, has no clue. Check XDA for a change.

  18. I read this believing it was an article. Disappointed to have wasted my time reading propaganda.

  19. Gaurav Bhandari Sunday, September 25, 2011

    Do you really think QR is waste of time?? Sorry to defer you but I have following comments on your each point:
    1. Not everybody has a smartphone: This is not applicable nowadays. I guess you are referring to the year 1990’s.
    2. The process can be confusing: I guess one who knows QR can use it at ease. It can be due to lack of knowledge that one may feel the process as confusing
    3. They lack cross-media functionality: Why did’nt you cover QR codes at railway stations/ bus stands/ magazines in this section?

  20. John Littlefield Sunday, September 25, 2011

    For the small amount of space that a QR Code takes it is worth it to me to print it with instructions to AT&T’s scan.mobi which does a great job of supporting all the major phone platforms. I use it for newspaper advertising which greatly expands my ability to connect with a prospect.

  21. I agree this seems like a marketing pitch, with a clear agenda. The article does not bother me as each of his points are disputable. The main argument I would have is that qr codes are only for marketers. There are many uses that focus in connecting the real world to the virtual world that make life easier in a moble enviorment. Sit back and see how new uses emerge as smartphone adoption has begun to reach it’s tipping point… ( this post is sponsored by Skanz.com. ;) ) – Bradley Lewis CEO of Skanz

  22. propaganda from a QR Code competitor

    1. My post was sarcasm at best. Sorry if it came across as anything but.. B-

  23. I have to agree with those calling for more forthcoming disclosure of the writer’s interests. It is disingenuous to publish this as though it were mere analysis or opinion, when the author stands to benefit financially from the demise of QR codes.

    Gigaom, you need to reconsider your editorial standards. Please address this.

    That said, I find QR codes insipid and annoying, and will probably never use one.

    1. Hi, Aaron. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts. We do try to avoid conflicts of interest in our guest posts and to disclose any potential conflicts of interest from the authors. You’re right, we should have disclosed what Zoove does in the author’s bio. I’ve updated the post to make that clearer.

  24. Text “qrhelp” to 99999 for instructions on how to use QR codes.

    1. Tongue-in-cheek. Of course.

  25. I’m strictly from Missouri (the “show me” state) when it comes to QR codes. Then again, I’m a skeptic about almost every new marketing tactic that comes along trumpeting it’s ability to change everything. It’s not that I’m a technophobe; just the opposite: my vanity license plate is RLYDOPTR (closest I could come to early adopter). It’s just that the hype almost always overtakes the practical application.

    So I agree with all these points. But none of them obviate the useful application of QR codes in an appropriate context. Of course, the same holds true for every new marketing tactic. And, as with every marketing tactic old and new, whether QR codes are used ought to be determined not by their novelty and geek chic but by their strategic relevance and appropriateness given the messaging and media used in the campaign.

    For example, a presentation this past week by the marketing manager of Stratford Shakespeare Festival in Ontario, Canada illustrated a rather good use of the codes. Clicking on the QR in the festival’s printed program for the new season brings you to a video by the festival director who says if you’re watching this video, you must have a copy of our program in your hands and then goes on to supplement the printed program with video and other rich-media. This is an effective and strategically relevant deployment of QR that, notwithstanding the validity of Joe’s first point, greatly enlarges the experience for a lot of the target audience. And builds that bridge from the offline to the online where — here’s that strategic relevance again — the festival is trying to sell more and more of its tickets.

    On the other hand, and contrary to one of the comments here, I have seen QR codes in television ads, an obvious and ridiculous misapplication.

  26. This article is not the quality I’m used to reading on GigaOm by the usually great authors like Higginbotham, Malik, Tofel et al. There was no data at all to back up the author’s assertion that QR Codes have failed (fail or succeed, show us some data, show us some research).

  27. Oh, I just read the other comments and hadn’t realized that the author is dissing QR Codes to promote his other thing. This is a massive disappointment in GigaOm, I’m going to complain directly to Om Malik and the odds of me reading GigaOm in the future have now diminished. This goes a long way toward tarnishing GigaOm’s reputation for quality journalism. Very very disappointing.

    1. Hi, Eddie. Thanks for your comments. We do try to make sure our guest posts are free from conflicts of interest like this, and, if there is a potential conflict, our standard practice is to disclose it in the bio. We should have disclosed what the author’s company does in his bio. I’ve updated the post to more clearly reflect that.

  28. myself, i own a smart phone, i know what they are
    and i havent bothered downloading!
    my exhusband on the other hand- one of the first things he downloaded when he got his new phone

  29. Much of this dissent sounds like it comes from QR techie fanboys. As a marketer, I see QR codes stupidly used every day and I say stupidly because of one simple reason: There is rarely any incentive for the reader or viewer to whip out her phone and scan the blob. Usually the mailpiece or ad says, “For more information, scan this code with your smart phone.” Which leaves me wondering why they didn’t use that space to provide more human-readable information. Keep It Simple Stupid. Or maybe QR codes are a prop for incompetent copywriters.

  30. A thinly veiled attempt at marketing a competitive solution. Shame on GigaOM for not having a disclaimer at the top.

  31. QR codes are huge in the Japan. I just wonder if it is too little too late here for them to catch on. For real world frequent use there needs to be a “one touch” button to snap a QR code on every phone. In addition, I suspect other technologies will over take it, such as NFC currently being baked into some new devices. We experimented with QR codes at Rummble with some success, although inevitably the cost of distribution, without significant capital, was a problem. http://blog.rummble.com/2010/04/29/nextweb-2010-operation-quebec-romeo-tnw/

  32. While recognising one or two of the above points the view is extremely blinkered as there are an endless array of possible applications that have enormous public benefit. Below I explain one case in the UK…

    Wikimedia UK recently ran a two month competition called The Wright Challenge, in which they asked volunteers around the world to write pages about exhibits in a small regional museum in Derby. Each exhibit had a Wikipedia QR Code, created by the newly minted Wikipedia QRPedia engine.
    The QRPedia site was set up to recognise the preferred language phone settings of a smart phone user. That meant that any visitor to the Derby Museum that had a smart phone could point their phone at the corresponding QR Code on an exhibit and the QR Code would produce a Wikipedia page about the exhibit (or the nearest equivalent) in a pre-selected language.

    During the 8 week competition around 1200 Wikipedia pages were written by volunteers in a myriad of languages. This has helped to firmly place a small regional museum and the cultural & public heritage it holds firmly on the digital map. It offers a service to visitors of the museum (the
    public) and this pioneering project offers a low cost way in which to attract involvement of a museum’s OWN volunteers in the community as well as experienced Wikipedian editors. The co-creation element is cheap (as the hardware & software of Wikipedia already exists) and can help interest in a museum to extend and grow online to a potential audience of hundreds of millions. In conclusion., what better way is there to understand more about your own country’s cultural heritage than to write, read and discuss it with other like-minded people.
    http://slidesha.re/rbHpTy (presentation we gave at TEDX Bristol UK earlier this month)

  33. My long but detailed response to this article can be found on my Google+ profile http://qre8.me/oLPSJh

  34. QR codes will soon be replaced by “chips” that we can swipe our phones in front of to bridge the online and offline worlds.

    Also I think smart phones and search engines will start including QR code recognition in

  35. Smartphones need to have native QR and barcode readers that do not require the use of the camera, a device meant for a completely different function. I guess that’s what NFC is supposed to address, but optical-based readers are the missing step here in the evolution of ‘reading’ something external.

  36. This article paints us all as pathetic idiots who can’t figure out how to hold onto our Smartphones unless our weak arms are being propped up by a tri-pod. Is it really that difficult to scan something and wait for it to load onto a URL? I agree with Steve Briggs.

  37. you have to be pretty stupid to be overwhelmed by a barcode

  38. Stephanos Savvakis Sunday, September 25, 2011

    Sound but a bit overstreched reasoning. I will agree with most that QRs are a tool and a clever one. The more we use it, the better we will become at it

  39. I’ve been using QR Codes for quite some time and they are work out great. I have a new client base just because I do use them. The best QR Reader app is ScanLife. Go to getscanlife.com on your device and it will take care of getting you the proper app. It can read any and all styles of bar codes. And with their large network of resources and affiliates they have the largest results base of all.

    Yes, there are certain limitations. But they are no different than any other technology in its early days. Soon enough we’ll think an article such as this a humorous side note of yesteryear.

  40. What Steve said.

  41. I almost can agree with this… then again, I’ve got a business that’s able to use QR codes effectively either as a teaching moment or a removing-friction-in-communication moment ;)

    Concerning point #1: QR code readers have been available for nearly any mobile that can run a Java application since roughly 2005 – including mobiles sold in the US before carriers got a bit heavy with application loading on mobiles. If you or anyone constrains the thinking of QR Codes to smartphones only, then you don’t know mobile and need to go back to the basics there.

    Concerning your point about cross-media functionality, QR Codes are like any other passive-active channel, it needs to be used in places that make sense for the media. Referencing my example cited above, my QR-encoded business card points to a downloadable vCard of my contact information. Context, people see a business card and remember the communication, they want an easier way to reach me, they don’t want to type it, and are usually not familiar with OCR nor own business card scanning devices. Rather than a code that points to the web (print to web cross-media), its a code that points to their mobile (print to mobile cross-media). This isn’t just effective, but renders the business card as a environmental conversation worth having, again bringing other media streams into the conversation. Simply putting a QR code on your website that points to the website, or on a TV program that points to an unoptimized website isn’t smart – in fact, people doing that and having an opinion similar to that of the article writer might again want to go back to communication basics.

    I don;t debate that QR Codes have their problems. And clearly, the use cases don’t lend themselves to the push-overpower-broadcast nature of many who want to implement them. Refining that will take imagination, purpose, and a bending of the technology that’s not shackled to the ways you’ve used other media. Its interactive, therefore you need to start from there and adjust as the personalization aspects come into play.

  42. Here in New Zealand the local ambulance company has put QR codes on the back of their vehicles. I’m convinced this is just an opportunity to try to drum up new business.


    Eric Rowe

  43. QR codes are not always being used cleverly and I agree that flashing them on screen for a few seconds on a TV ad is pretty pointless. The rest of the article is nothing more than poorly argued and shameful self promotion. Advertorials should be clearly identified up-front so we don’t need to waste our time reading them. Very disappointing.

  44. Coming from an unreliable source!!. Would’nt it be appropriate to mention that you work for a competitive technology?? This is beneath contempt of what gigaom.com should be involved in.

  45. Robert Eastwood Monday, September 26, 2011

    it should be noted that the author is CEO of a company that is a rival of QR codes. So this is basically an ad for him to discredit QR codes to drum up business for his own company’s competing technology.

    1. Hi, Robert, and everyone else who shared their feedback here. I’ve weighed in a couple of times on this thread, but I wanted to make sure I weighed in enough that all the commenters saw it.

      At GigaOM, we try to make sure our guest posts do not have conflicts of interest, and if there’s a potential conflict of interest, we disclose it in the author’s bio.

      As many folks have commented, we should have more clearly disclosed what the author’s company, Zoove, does in his bio. This was an oversight on our part, and I have updated the post to make that more clear.

      It’s also led me to rethink some of the ways we treat guest posts. The first change you’ll see is that we’re going to disclose the author’s company in the byline and in the excerpt for the post. I’m implementing that change immediately.

      Thanks, again, for sharing your thoughts.

  46. Lindsey Anderson Monday, September 26, 2011

    I don’t agree with this article at all. Simply saying that something is a waste of time because of the lack of immediate response and user base knowledge is just.. dumb. I agree with Steve. Also in terms of cost/benefit ratio of something when that something is free, is compiled in seconds and can be added to a flyer or whatever for almost nothing – I don’t see how you can consider it a waste. Poorly thought out article.

  47. I’m looking forward to GigaOm’s next post from the CEO of Pepsi: “Why drinking Coke will kill you”

  48. It’s interesting that Zoove’s site isn’t mobile friendly when they’re competing in the mobile space. It’s about making things easier for the consumer, right? Might suggest focusing on that first before trying to take down something like QR codes that already have traction with consumers and advertisers…

  49. This reads worse than an ‘as seen on TV add,’ It makes the QR code situation look absurdly imposible even though it’s extremely simple. I almost never have to hold the phone still, it usually captures the code before I would have expected it to be able to read it. It was EASY to find apps both of the ones i’ve used have read EVERY type of QR i’ve put to it. The both also read regular codes. The big PRO to using QR is that in 100% eliminates transcription error of URL’s. A consumer who scans a QR cannot mistake any character because it’s simpler than a copy and paste. This gives companies a direct fast channel directly into the device of any consumer who scans the code wanting to know more. Transmission of contact info also error free. As well as several other things; VIN QR code would be great. I don’t think I’ve ever read an article with more stupid “points.”

  50. This reads worse than an ‘as seen on TV add,’ It makes the QR code situation look absurdly imposible even though it’s extremely simple. I almost never have to hold the phone still, it usually captures the code before I would have expected it to be able to read it. It was EASY to find apps, both of the ones i’ve used have read EVERY type of QR i’ve put to it. They both also read regular codes. The big PRO to using QR is that in 100% eliminates transcription error of URL’s. A consumer who scans a QR cannot mistake any character because it’s simpler than a copy and paste. This gives companies a direct fast channel directly into the device of any consumer who scans the code wanting to know more. Transmission of contact info also error free. As well as several other things; VIN QR code would be great. I don’t think I’ve ever read an article with more stupid “points.”

  51. To have such a interesting, fact like, great looking expert page like this article is surprising to me to find such a lack of technical knowledge.

    Everyone of your points can be dismissed with real understanding of this new form of communication.

    I can not use the code on radio but I can use it to bring mobile listeners to the radio program.

    Please stop being an expert before finishing the class and maybe we can get business happening again.

    Thank you
    George Robbins

  52. QR’s help brands reach a more tech savvy audience that generally understand their marketing better than “average consumers”. The more commonplace they become the more consumers will jump on the bandwagon. This article makes me cringe, as if it was written by someone who tried to scan a QR once a few years ago and gave up.

  53. This is a great strawman for those who want to promote the use of QR codes. Good job Joe. BTW, I have one attached to my picture on the staff notice board, linked to a set of delicious bookmarks with all my various profiles …

  54. I have never had a problem scanning a QR code and I am delighted on almost a daily basis by creative usages of this new technology. I bought some tulip bulbs at Home Depot the other day and out of curiosity, I scanned the code on the bag. It brought me to a mobile site with all sorts of information about how to care for my new plant. I loved it! I’m fully aware that a URL on the package could have done the same thing, but for the 40% of us smartphone users out there who are most likely as instant-gratification-oriented as I am, I thought this was a value-add to my purchase.

  55. If you are making decisions on Branding, and Cutomers and Products you’ve lost my interest in what you have to say about QR. QR is a fantastic, maturing, entry-level reach out to museum and exhibit visitors where institutional budgets are tight and buying/maintianing new media equipment is a non-starter in today’s museum economy.
    And I hear the number 60% for ‘adults’ who will be carrying QR compatible or factory-installed QR readers in their smart phones within the next couple of years, which corresponds to the lead time needed for the institution’s to workout the content and get a QR system in place with numerous integrated target stations. It ain’t either-or, it’s ALL ideas worth trying to get a museum’s feet wet with new mobile digital media.


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