Misuse of QR Codes: Are You Using Them Right?

August 3, 2011

Real estate professionals have embraced QR codes (or quick response codes) in a big way for marketing purposes. These bar codes can be placed on a real estate sign or in your advertisements, and home shoppers can scan them with their smartphone and instantly access a URL connected to the bar codes. So while real estate pros love this tech-savvy way to provide instant info to buyers, why is Forbes columnist Jim Nichols calling QR codes “the most abused technology of 2011?” 

Nichols, vice president of digital at Stern + Associates, a public relations firm, was an early adopter of QR codes and sees the benefits but “I knew that this technology, like all great technologies (think e-mail) could be easily abused by people who either didn’t ‘get it’ or who were simply trying to be cutting edge,” he writes at Forbes.com. “I think we are at the forefront of this technology being abused” and the perk to users may be diminished if more marketers don’t start using them correctly, he adds. 

Some QR code offenses he notes in the article: scanning a QR code but then being taken to a non-mobile friendly web site or putting QR codes in odd places, such as a billboard on a highway that makes it impossible to scan while driving. Also, QR codes that take you to a Web site that then make you log in or start a special account to access the information. 

“There are many smart possibilities for QR codes as long as marketers remember their purpose: delivering additional, valuable information at a specific point of time,” Nichols notes. “Using a QR code to deliver a how-to video, coupon, ticket, vCard, phone number or directions are wonderful uses of the technology. Using codes to repeat the same information already in front of you is a waste of great technology.”

Source: “QR Codes: The Most Abused Technology of 2011,” Forbes (Aug. 1, 2011)

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How Are You Using QR Codes?