What People Don’t Understand About QR Codes

In response to ScanBuy’s recent announcement regarding Microsoft Tag, the article below was written by Laura Stampler. See my comments in bold.

Microsoft Learned QR Codes Don’t Work 
By Laura Stampler, August 19, 2013
 
2DBS: Ms. Stampler, the title of your article is a bit vague and somewhat misleading. Microsoft probably realized QR Codes do, in fact, work and that’s why the company started to include them with the Tag product/platform offering over a year ago. To include an open-source technology with a proprietary technology, I believe, speaks volumes. To know that the company hardly supported and marketed the Tag product after about a year or so since its inception also, I believe, speaks volumes about how serious the company was, or was not, when it came to playing in the bar code space.
 
Microsoft announced that Microsoft Tag— the company’s customizable QR code alternative — is shutting down in August 2015. To which the tech world replied, “Wait … QR codes are still a thing?” (The answer is yes. Gillette even incorporated the Rorschach-like, black-and-white, scannable blocks on a recent Kate Upton ad.)

2DBS: Ms. Stampler, I was unaware that the entire tech world was polled about the recent news, because I know plenty of people and companies that still believe in and support the use of QR Codes. Also, if you truly followed the space, you would know that Gillette’s Upton campaign is hardly recent. You probably did a quick search for QR Codes and found this as an example. Such brilliant research. 

Scanbuy is taking over the support for Microsoft’s Tag technology next month.

Even though some research has shown that people are increasingly scanning QR codes, Aaron Strout at Marketing Land predicted that 2013 will be the last year of the QR code. “What I haven’t been able to find are statistics that show repeat usage, Strout wrote. “My guess is that there is a reason for that.”

2DBS: To Ms. Stampler and Mr. Strout, I’m not sure I understand what you are referring to with respect to repeat usage statistics. A consumer reads a QR Code-based ad, billboard, package, etc., scans the code, goes to the link page/content and interacts from there. If the consumer wants to revisit the page/content all they have to do is go into their code reader app’s history and click the link to the resolve page. The code does not need to be scanned again. So, are you referring to scanning the actual code repeat times, or are you referring to visiting the scan resolve content repeat times? If it’s the latter, this can certainly be measured by an advertiser, but it’s up to them to release this type of statistic. I can understand if they, the advertiser, would want to keep this information private.

In addition, to Mr. Strout’s comment, if memory serves, many like-minded visionaries, experts, what have you, saw the demise of QR Codes in 2010, 2011 and 2012, yet the technology is still out there and being used effectively. Is 2013 going to be the the year, I kind of doubt it.

To reinforce the point, we have collected some of the worst QR code mishaps ever. (Note: I omitted these from this post.)

2DBS: Ms. Stampler, you are like everyone else, so quick to find the fails, but so slow, or hesitant, to celebrate the wins, of which several dozen are listed on this blog. 

Ms. Stampler, thank you for adding absolutely nothing to the discussion.

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