Active Rain December 12, 2010

QR Code Overload

QR Codes in silly placesI do endeavor to be semi on top of things, and upon occasion I get a well meaning request from a friend for technical help with something they are doing on their computer or online. But I am really not that great a tekkie. I can type; I rely on others for web design. 

I therefore did not really know what a QR code really was until this past week, after speaking about them with a smarter guy than myself, Stephen Fells, who writes code and does things on computers that would completely stump me. Simply put, a QR code (quick response code) creates a hyperlink of sorts on print material where a hyperlink would not otherwise be possible.

For example, if you have a printed brochure to a listing, you can put a QR code on it and if people have a device such as a cell phone with the right app to read the code, it will take them to the web page on the phone. This makes them great for print ads, signage, riders, and even business cards. The limitation, of course, is that you could also just print “” and people can just input the url in their phone to get there.

But it is faster, and I can see them in places where web-based advertising might not have been feasible before, such as men’s rooms of restaurants and mass transit wall ads. You see it, you scan it, and you are dowloading their message instantly. 

Now, what I don’t get is all the QR codes I am seeing on web pages and blogs, because people are already online, and the QR code is simply a hyperlink in print, so to speak. To link on a web page or blog, you just need to put in a link. To my understanding, putting a QR code on a web page is redundant. Yet I am seeing them everywhere- in footers, sidebars, and I think I spotted one in a header not long ago. Why? Where else will we see them popping up next? It seems like real estate people are so paranoid about being ahead of the curve that they jump on a trend they perceive as important without really thinking it through. 

They have their place, these QR codes. But I think the QR Code fever we are witnessing is a little bit of overkill.