SnapTags (Do Not) Push Scanning Technology Forward

Yesterday, an article on Publishers Weekly titled “SnapTags Push Scanning Technology Forward – Move Over, QR Codes” caught my eye, and there are a few items that I question the author, Gabe Habash, on.

First, the title itself. Mr. Habash, how are SnapTags pushing scanning technology forward? As far as I know, the SnapTag technology/user experience is very similar to that of JAGTAG and JAGTAG was developed in 2007.  Yes, SnapTags may be relatively new to the 2D barcode scene, but the technology is hardly cutting edge.

Second, you make reference to the fact that SnapTags can display a corporate logo, but in the same sentence you make it seem as though QR Codes can’t. Um, they can. QR Codes can be generated with a corporate logo as part of the code design. Also, the colors which make up a QR Code can be more than just black and white.
Third, you try to make a case for SnapTag’s ability to deliver greater reach and accessibility versus a QR Code, but in reality they are much the same. Both code types make use of a reader app, and both offer the ability to engage with users that either don’t have a smartphone or who choose not to scan the code. With SnapTags a user takes a picture of the code and sends it to a short code. From there, an email is sent back to the user with a link to the intended content. With QR Codes, the advertiser can include a short code along with the QR Code and, from there, the user will receive a message back with a link to the intended content. If anything, the QR Code eliminates the need of having to take and send a picture of the code itself. So, really, what’s the difference?
Fourth, Mr. Habash, you write, “The other benefit of SnapTags is that the content provided is more versatile. While QR codes typically take you to a Web site (and thus require mobile Web access), SnapTags, according to SpyderLynk’s founder and CEO Nicole Skogg, offer a multichannel marketing platform that sends messages to your phone, enabling companies to develop campaigns to deliver sweepstakes, free samples, video, and more.” How is this any different than what a QR Code can deliver? QR Codes typically take a consumer/user to a website only because of the limited creativity of the advertiser, not because of the limited capability of the technology. 
Mr. Habash, you go on to write, “The first book to use a SnapTag is Jeffrey W. Hayzlett’s Running the Gauntlet: Essential Business Lessons to Lead, Drive Change, and Grow Profits (McGraw-Hill, Jan.). In Running the Gauntlet, a SnapTag is placed at the beginning of each of the book’s 35 chapters, which send videos directly to one’s phone that feature Hayzlett explaining the core concept in the chapter.” Wow, that sounds pretty creative, summarizing a chapter at a time. I guess a QR Code couldn’t do that. Great that the author wants to make his book interactive, but what about offering something of additional value. Without having read the book, maybe there is something being said within each chapter whereby a next step would be referred to and, if there was a next step that required something to be paid for, maybe a coupon would be offered via the code. Just a thought.
Fifth, you quote the CEO of SnapTag saying the following, “What made this program different [from QR codes] was that it was very focused on the value exchange: what’s in it for the consumer and what’s in it for the brands. Too many QR code programs are only focused on what’s in it for the marketer.” As mentioned above, QR Code programs may be focused on the marketer only because the marketer is focused on him or herself. Again, this line of reasoning has nothing, nothing to do with the technology and everything to do with the way a marketer thinks and/or acts.
Sixth, Mr. Habash, you write, “So far, magazine publishers have harnessed SnapTags more effectively than book publishers.” Other than Glamour (see article), what other magazines have made use of SnapTags from a publisher’s perspective? I am not aware of any. Maybe this is a question for Ms. Skogg.

It really gets tiring reading one-sided articles like this where the author simply gets it wrong when it comes to 2D technology, let alone QR Code technology. Let’s spend some more time doing our homework first, please.

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One thought on “SnapTags (Do Not) Push Scanning Technology Forward

  1. Snaptags, from Spyderlink, are as “old” if not older than Jagtag. They aren't new and they were used for National level campaigns before QR codes came into (relative) fashion.

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