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QR codes: The 2-D bar code (r)evolution?

A couple of months ago I was fortunate enough to get my hands on my very own HTC Incredible. This is by no means a review of the phone, but I will say that it has completely lived up to its name…and then some. It is also my first smartphone experience where I have all the access I want: Internet, Android apps, email notifications popping up at 3am, and everything else that’s good and bad about smartphones. My new favorite toy, well function, is the bar code scanner. I recently saw an article on Mashable about creative social media friendly business cards that featured one card that I became obsessed with; number 8 on the page.

Note: If you don’t get what a QR code is I would check this out for more detail.

If you are involved in social media or marketing at all, you realize the potential for these little black and white squares. I personally followed the business card idea, and integrated a QR code link on all of my emails; scan the code and you’ll get my contact info as well as my LinkedIn profile and Twitter page links. I think it’s just the beginning of this as well. Sites like Stickybits are utilizing these bar codes in a way that allow you to have several documents including a resume, cover letter, and portfolio all in a small bar code.

Note #2: Download Stickybits for Android here, or for iPhone click here. After doing that scan this bar code:

Do you agree? (Hint: scan it)

The potential for these codes goes beyond just what can be contained within them. Users scanning these bar coded are actively engaged and will pay attention to what they are viewing. This puts these codes ahead of television commercials, online advertisements, and print advertisements. Imagine walking down the street and seeing a big QR code with a very intriguing tagline underneath. Scanning the code takes three seconds and the information you may be missing out on is something you can’t resist. You scan the code, find a store special or sale. This type of situation won’t be uncommon, or nonexistent for long. Advertisers have been looking for ways to get consumers engaged and attentive since the invention of DVR and pop-up blockers, and here it is.

Another example, something that I discussed recently with a couple of people: You go to a grocery store/supermarket and are looking for a nutritional bar. Scan the bar code on the shelf, not the product box but the one on the actual shelf, and you are immediately given customer reviews and nutritional information that you can compare to other bars (stuff that’s been done before), but then you are able to see pictures of celebrities eating the bar (automatic celebrity endorsements that are free…what now?) as well as any other documents or pictures one decides to attach to that bar code. Does this not seem like something consumers would love to have?

If you aren’t buying into the bar code craze give it a try, then let us know what you think in the comments.

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