Basecamp QR code

Basecamp’s QR code

Recently, a very talented marketer and I were discussing QR (quick response) codes. QR codes are the rather ugly black-and-white squares you’ll find adorning business cards and perhaps posters. Mine is to the left.

Supposedly, if you scan a QR code with a mobile device (or I suppose with your desktop scanner), the QR code takes you to a special web page (say, one with a coupon), or a home page, a landing page.

I was quite enamored of them, because they seemed to work so well in Japan.

Anyway, my friend says QR codes are finally being used, and maybe she’s right. But I haven’t seen evidence of it.

Well, QR codes were created in 2009 and I thought I was pretty savvy adding one to the back of my business card. I can assure you that only one person scanned that QR code — and I was with him at the time.

Since 2009 the QR code has been plagued with setbacks. No smartphone manufacturer ever sold its products with a scanner already installed. So most of the public was pretty flummoxed and stifled by this.

Also, mobile phones were not quite ready for QR codes — in 2009, virtually no web site was “responsive” (that is, able to display content well on a mobile phone). If you scanned a QR code, gosh knows what would appear in front of you.

And THESE days, it’s so much easier for a business to post a sign asking you to text a 5-digit number, after which you’re entitled to all kinds of discounts and coupons.

“[QR codes are] as dead as a dodo,” said  Adam Buhler, DigitasLBi’s vp of creative technology. “They seemed like the holy grail, but they’re horrifically ugly. I’ve heard them described as a robot vomit.”

Anyway, after several years of waiting for QR technology to catch up to the rest of us, I finally redesigned my business card. And I’ve said goodbye to QR codes for good.

If you want to read more, check out:

Death of the QR code

or read what people think who still believe in them.

Some kind of a nod to equal time

Add your own links if you agree or disagree!

Death of the QR code

by susan time to read: 2 min
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