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Thank You LinkedIn – NOT part 3

Here is an explanation of the navigation changes that I found.  It might have been really nice of them to actually email us all (especially those of us that were viewed in the top 1%) and let us know before the change went into effect.  I guess that is just not their style.

li headerChanges to the Top Navigation Links on the Homepage

How do I find places that I used to see on my top navigation bar?

Last Reviewed: 05/24/2013

Report Answer Inaccuracies

With the new version of LinkedIn navigation, certain features may have moved or changed. Below is a list of items and how you can find them.

  • Inbox - Click the Inbox icon at the top right of your homepage to access your messages and invitations.
  • The top navigation bar disappears as you scroll down the page – To see it again, move your cursor to the top of the page. You’ll also see it when you scroll in the upward direction, or scroll all the way to the top.
  • Skills and Expertise - Go to http://www.linkedin.com/skills/, or move your cursor over any of the skills listed on a profile and click the title of the skill.
  • Recruiter link - If you have a Recruiter account, you’ll find the Recruiter link by moving your cursor over your profile photo at the top right of your homepage and selecting Go to Recruiter. You can also log into Recruiter via http://www.linkedin.com/recruiter/.
  • LinkedIn Today, Influencer Posts, and Channels - Move your cursor over Interests at the top of your homepage and select Influencers.
  • Your Company Page - Move your cursor over Interests and select Companies. Then search for your Company and click its name in the dropdown list.
  • Groups - Move your cursor over Interests and select Groups. You’ll see the list of groups you are a member of.
  • Recommendations - Go to your profile page and scroll down to the Recommendations box.
  • Polls - Go to polls http://polls.linkedin.com/ or share polls within a group.
  • Students and Alumni – Go to LinkedIn Alumni at //www.linkedin.com/college/.
  • Signal - Go to http://www.linkedin.com/signal or click the Search icon at the top of your homepage and then click Updates in the top left.
  • Manage Team Accounts for Sales Navigator - If you’re a team admin, move your cursor over your profile photo at the top right of your homepage and select Manage Team Accounts.

 

 

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How Businesses Can Take Advantages Of QR Codes

QR codes (aka Quick Response Codes) can help you provide customers and potential customers with instant access to your services online. QR codes are often displayed in magazines, newspapers, mail, and even some retail establishments. The idea of a QR code is to complement your ad and allow your customer to learn more or to complete a speficic action (e.g. redeem a coupon, join a mailing list, place a purchase, etc…).

Benefits of QR Codes

These computer-generated images are basically direct links to particular mobile websites that you set up to coincide with the message of your QR code. Using QR codes minimises the time spent on typing in web addresses or URL’s. Potential customers are able to scan QR codes with their smartphones, and are directed to the intended online destination. When scanning the QR code the customer is presented more information about upcoming events sponsored by your campaign, provided more information about your services or offered more information about your product.

How it works

By placing QR codes in the right locations, your proposal, service, or offering will attract more leads or customers. Using their smartphone’s QR code scanner application, they simply scan the image, and the desired information is displayed almost instantly on their smartphone. One thing that you should not do, while using QR codes as your way of advertising, is to cluster the images any and everywhere without purpose or cause. Use QR codes to allow your audience to take a specific action.

Placement is one of the most important aspects of QR codes. You should make sure that people that will be most interested in your products, services or offers are viewing your content. Your marketing campaign is used to persuade your audience, as well as to inform them of any upcoming promotions or events.

Actions

As we said before, putting a QR Code randomly in your ad with no purpose will likely result in very few amount of people actually scanning it. If you want to maximize your returns, ask people to scan the QR code for a specific reason (aka incentive). Example: let them know that the only way they can redeem a coupon or take advantage of a special offer is by scanning the code.

QR codes on Pinterest

While many teachers have already learned the value of QR codes on Pinterest for their classrooms, the business community is quickly catching up. Pinterest is one of the fastest growing social media forums. On Pinterest you are allowed you to deliver significant images and videos to your supporters, and increases your ability to set up or grow a social network. QR codes give your customers a direct link to whatever messages you are trying to give. While you are extremely limited in the amount of words you can use on Pinterest, you should try to explain to your audience exactly what the QR code will link them to and the benefits of scanning it.

Growing a Mailing List

If you are trying to grow an email list, a QR code may be the perfect answer for you. This feature is ideal for your marketing campaign. These QR codes allow supporters and customers to join mailing lists by using their mobile devices decoder application. More people than ever before are using their mobile phones to surf the web so do not overlook the potential of marketing in this way. Once the customer scans the QR code they can become members of your email list and receive newsletters and other valuable information.

Increase your Fanbase with QR Codes

Directing supporters and potential supporters to your website using QR codes saves you time and is a quick way to obtain likes and followers, on popular social networks like Facebook and Twitter. A QR code can be used as a direct link to your Facebook and Twitter page and This is a direct link to your campaign and gives supporters and inquirers a chance to view any posts, images, or uploaded videos on your Facebook or Twitter page.

When using QR Codes as part of your marketing, it is important to use your imagination to come up with a way to seamlessly integrate the code within your ad. Check out some great examples of QR Code usage here.

Featured images:
  •  License: Image author owned

Marie Maslow is a tech enthusiast that enjoys writing about technology and marketing.

 

 

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Top 5 Silliest Management Books of All Time

This post takes a satirical look at the business management book genre, specifically looking at five of the most ridiculous titles and how they often lead to bad management.

Reading Up

While the old cliché that “managers are not made, they are born” can in some degrees be argued to be true, it is also worthwhile acknowledging that you can often pick up a number of tips and ideas for your own leadership style from the vast plethora of management guide books available.

While there are undoubtedly some gems, some of them just give a ridiculous message, ridden with management speak that is often regurgitated verbatim by the reader when at work, under the misguided premise that they are now a great leader.

We looked at five of the most ridiculously titled management books there are.

1.Management in 10 Words

If it is possible to sum up management in 10 words, then why on Earth has this been extended out into a 320 page book? Surely each word does not require an average of 32 pages for an explanation of why it is such a great management tool. If management really can be defined in 10 words, then a piece of A4 paper should suffice just nicely.

2.Who Moved My Cheese?

There is also another similar book called “Why is my Iceberg Melting,” however the essential message is the same. How can you and your business survive and thrive in changing conditions in an evolving world? Well, the answer is somewhat obvious in that you too must also evolve to meet the demands of the world. There is really no need for a book that likens the business world to a mouse trying to survive by looking for cheese. The scariest thing about this book is that it is an all-time best seller. Is it any wonder the global economy is a mess?

3.Getting Things Done

There is a whole series of books carrying this title, with various sub-titles based around being productive and having a stress-free work life. However, the message after 250+ pages of reading is always the same. If you want to get things done, write it down and have a plan. Simple really.

4.The One Minute Manager

For me, personally, this was the first management book I ever read. Unfortunately, it had little bearing on me, as having read it I immediately realised that the manager who had borrowed it to me was the human manifestation of the book, a product of what he had read. Basically, the book is centred around managing everyone for a minute each day, based on the old business cliché that “my most valuable minute is the one spent with my people.”

5.How to Lead

If ever there was an expensive tick the box exercise, this is it. Although it does contain a lot of leadership advice, the main purpose of the book is to tick off everything that applies to you, then go away and get the skills needed to tick the rest. Perhaps if you spent the time leading rather than reading and ticking boxes you would acquire the skills easier.

Posterita is a revolutionary POS software, and its free point of sale software can show every aspect of that.

 

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The Latest of the Persistent “Verizon” Identity Theft Attempts

This might be amusing if it weren’t so scary.  It is sent to multiple addresses, and I don’t have an account with them, but some people might fall for this and click on the links.  If you do, and you don’t have a really good security software setup, kiss your bank information goodbye!  (I removed the links just in case you don’t have Norton or equivalent).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To make it even scarier, that email was followed up with this one:

Note that the URL’s are all bogus.

Do ya think Wells Fargo would need to use: client22601-wellsoffice….?

DO NOT EVER RESPOND TO AN EMAIL FROM YOUR “BANK.”  If you think they actually need information from you, log off, go to your cell phone and call your local branch.  Better still, go in the building in person.  If you get this stuff, forward it to the link below: (notice the URL is fbi.gov)

The address of the FBI criminal tip link:       https://tips.fbi.gov/thank-you-for-your-tip

 

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Why “Second Chance” Tweets Matter: After 3 Hours, Few Care About Socially Shared Links

by 

There have been various studies suggesting that if someone doesn’t see a tweet or a Facebook post within a few hours, they’ll never see it at all. Now link shortening service Bit.ly is out with another. After three hours, Bit.ly has found, links have sent about all the traffic they’re going to send. So start thinking about doing “second chance” tweets, as I call them.

The Half-Life Of A Link

In particular, Bit.ly has measured what it calls the “half-life” of a socially-shared link. By half-life, it means the point in which a link has received half the clicks it will ever get. From the company’s blog post:

We can evaluate the persistence of the link by calculating what we’re calling the half life: the amount of time at which this link will receive half of the clicks it will ever receive after it’s reached its peak.

Personally, I find this a bit confusing. The link will still continue to generate some additional clicks beyond this period, substantial amounts, even. It’s just that the link — after the half-life period — is headed to rapid decline. The real near zero point will be a bit longer than the half-life.

Three Hours To Decline

Still, terminology aside, the half-life concept is useful in stressing how quickly attention shifts away from things that have been shared. Bit.ly found measured the half-life of links on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. Here’s the chart:

And the numbers:

  • Twitter: 2.8 hours
  • Facebook: 3.2 hours
  • YouTube: 7.4 hours

In short, after three hours, links shared on the two major social networks — Twitter and Facebook — are headed to obscurity. However, YouTube links last a bit longer. It’s unclear what Bit.ly means here, but I think it’s saying that a YouTube link that’s shared on Twitter or Facebook will attract attention longer than other types of links shared on them. I’m checking on this.

Postscript: Heard back, these are indeed shortened URLs that get shared on YouTube such as in comments or descriptions there.

Second Chance Tweets

Here on Search Engine Land, we’ve long tapped into the decline of attention by doing what we call “second chance tweets.” On our @sengineland Twitter account, we tweet a story as soon as it’s posted. However, many of our Twitter followers might easily miss this, if they’re not online, busy and so on. That’s why we schedule a “second chance” tweet for most major stories to go out a few hours after they originally get tweeted.

Typically, we receive about 50% more traffic from Twitter from our second chance tweets as from the original ones. In other words, by simply tweeting a story again, some hours after the “half-life” of the original tweet has expired, we pick up 50% of the traffic that the original tweet generated.

In fact, I was coincidentally looking at some of our stats earlier today. In one case, a second chance tweet that we did generated substantially more traffic than the original tweet. That’s not normal, but it highlights how if you assume all your followers have seen your original tweet, you’re probably making the wrong assumption.

Of course, no one wants to have the same tweet shoved at them over and over again. We’ve been deliberate and careful in how we do things; we’ve had less than 10 complaints that I can recall over the half-year that we’ve been doing this. So, I figure we’re doing it OK.

Bottom line: Tweet and tweet again. In moderation. And turn that half-life into an extended life.

 

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Protecting Your Personal Details Online

shop-online

When it comes to internet safety protecting your personal details is of paramount importance. Online crime is escalating at a rapid rate thanks to our increased dependence on the internet for shopping, personal finances and entertainment. More and more of us are conducting the majority of our shopping and personal finances online; partly for ease of use and partly because of the huge cost reductions the online world facilitates. However our personal details can often become targeted by less scrupulous individuals so we need to exercise caution when we browse and buy online. With that in mind we’ve put together a quick guide to protecting your personal details online.

Your computer
Your computer is one of the easiest targets for people to steal confidential information – if you leave it unprotected that is. If you don’t run home security software then your computer is incredibly vulnerable to attacks; both to steal your personal details and to damage the computer itself. Use reputable software and make sure that it has the following features: Online support, regular updates, virus scanner, virus removal, quarantine function, remote access blockers and software updater’s. These are essential e-safety features and you shouldn’t be without them. Finally make sure your browser is up to date and that you password protect any files you do not want falling into a third parties hands. This will create an additional layer of defence.

Browsing
Browsing safely is key to keeping your personal details safe. Stay away from any site that feels at all dodgy and you should be kept relatively safe. If you search through one of the established search engines (Google, Bing, etc.) then you should mainly find reputable sites. Be wary of clicking on links and advertisements from other sites though as there I no guarantee that these will send you to a reputable retailer – even if the site you started on is itself reputable. Always avoid downloading from or inputting your personal details on any site that you do not recognise and/or trust.

Shopping
Shopping online is incredibly rewarding and we wouldn’t want to discourage you from it. However you need to make sure that the company you are dealing with are doing everything they can to secure your personal information. Initially you should take the time to read their privacy policy and terms and conditions of use as this will give you a good idea of what security measures they take. Then when it comes to actually making a purchase you should be careful to check that a padlock symbol appears in your address bar and that the URL begins https:// as this means your personal information is being encrypted. Always be wary of sites that have offers that seem too good to be true as these often will be scams that will charge you repeatedly on your credit card. If you can try and use alternative payment methods such as PayPal as these provide additional security and recourse should you suffer at the hands of an unscrupulous vendor.

Personal finances
Many of us now use the internet for a variety of personal finance tasks such as online banking, policy renewals, vat returns etc. These systems are usually fairly secure but you still need to make sure that you are doing your utmost to protect your personal details. Your computer security is the first step but you also want to ensure that you are choosing strong passwords and that every account you use has a separate password. A password should be a string of seemingly random letters and numbers with capitals and lower case letters mixed in to ensure that it is as hard as possible to crack. Change your passwords regularly and make sure that you use different passwords for all your needs. Finally, if you are using your computer for personal finance documents it is a good idea to store them on a separate USB so that they are not constantly attached to your computer.

Jane writes about various internet safety topics for both children and parents. If you are interested in more information on this topic please see the Vodafone internet safety guide which provides a wealth of information and support.

 

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Why Do You Need to Dominate Your Profession on LinkedIn Search?

Because you still can! 

Unlike Google, Bing, and Yahoo, who have algorithms that weigh keyword density,
relevance, links, and SENIORITY (that’s right – if you have had dominance for a keyword for years, it’s darn hard for anyone tobump you from it) LinkedIn is still relatively virgin territory.

For business owners in the more popular competitive fields it is virtually impossible to beg, steal, or borrow a top page one ranking on Google. The smart larger firms started optimizing for SEO ages ago.  They hire rooms full of people in Bangalore or Shanghai to sit around for $2.20 a day and stuff keywords into content, Meta tags, Meta descriptions, photo titles,pop-ups, dropdowns, and URL’s.

LinkedIn is still doable, and it’s more than just keyword stuffing.  If you research the appropriate words to compete with, and integrate them into valuable content it does not detract from the integrity of your profile.  For several of my clients I have been able to get keywords like “real estate – 95131” ranked not just on the first page, but NUMBER ONE, on LinkedIn: The fastest growing search medium for professional services.  Check it out at http://bayintegratedmarketing.com

I would also invite you to check out my small business blog (great tips) at: http://bayintegratedmarketing.wordpress.com

 

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From a Guitar-Pop Concert to a Thought: America is not just the Business World—Expand!

Indeed, like what Moz has been singing in his concerts these days, America is not the world. Although the song’s lyrics are far from what I want to point out, the crooner successfully sent a more beautiful thought through his rolling r’s, lisped s’s, and whimsical yodels. And as a vigilant spectator of economics and business trends, I never see any bias in his words, but rather I them as apolitical and an eye-opener.

America is not just the world. Maybe the critically acclaimed Brit singer was correct when he wrote these words in his studio; I am not sure about it, but I know where he is coming from—especially when I heard him sing it live in a concert ground surrounded by tall skyscrapers that housed the world’s most renowned financial institutions.

America is not the World, the business side, my point of view

It is only natural for us Americans to focus on our target market as we start our business. We rely on what is available and existing around us. We start from our friends and colleagues and make them our initial customers, then move on to our neighbors, and expand a bit to their relatives and friends. We then get a feel of the whole process and finally settle for a fixed daily promotional routine, which we find as a perfect time to stop and call it a regular business flow. We call this stage contentment, the point of labeling our business as “stable”. But in my own point of view, to be contended this early is a business illness.

Another illness is that we always think there is nothing greener than the pastures of our homeland and ignore all the possibilities outside it—even the neighboring southern regions of Mexico or Canada. The grandeur of our country blinds us from seeing the world outside, as if there is no other county, no other “real” market and financial possibility than America. The truth is, some of us are just too scared to branch out, too apathetic to expand, and unfortunately, too terrified to dream.

Perhaps you will say this thought is only for international companies and big businesses or for those who have the money to finance a wider business campaign. In fact, what is the purpose of aiming for an international promotion if your business is just a 35 sq. meter diner along a working class Long Island Boulevard? Or what is the point of overdoing your social networking ads on Twitter and Facebook if you are just an online businessman who wants an extra income for your weekend hobbies? Is it reasonable to dream that big if you are plainly contended with where you are right now? The answer is simple: expansion, or to dream big, is only for those who have desire to follow and achieve it. Fortunately, as a marketing speaker for ten years, I have sensed and seen scores of Americans who are dreamers, who are not satisfied with their four-cornered rented business areas.

Let us accept it. Some Americans are only business owners and not business-minded. Well, it is not an issue of race or anything; it is just my observation. We think of having a business as a profession, a job, an escape route to joblessness or to our former low-paying profession, but not as a way and part of life.

Fortunately, although some Americans think that way, most do not. I have been hearing countless success stories of Americans who became CEOs regardless of their humble beginnings—from a street sweeper to a remote control car parts manufacturer in Canada, from a typical college student in New Orleans to an Internet Marketing head in India, from a tired hamburger kiosk owner in Des Moines to a major Quesadilla wrapper supplier in Central Mexico. All these success stories may sound surreal and saying that I have met them personally would not make it more believable either. Yet there is one thing that makes these stories similar to each other (and makes them believable as well): they all started online, through Facebook, Twitter, and blogs that others have ignored and used for entertainment and leisure.

The advent of social media sites, especially social networking sites that have simplified the lives of humans, has given Americans a clear path to expand their businesses outside the vicinity of their physical stores. Today, this over-availability of social networking sites is changing the dynamics of local businesses, for a lot of them today have strong followings and customers outside their localities, state, and countries.

And certainly, I am sure that Moz is 100% correct when he sang America is not just the world.

Your author Warner likes to write about technology related topics. He works with Endless Rise who provides SEO Reseller Packages and White Label SEO services exclusively to resellers.

 

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Are QR Codes Good For Local Marketing? A Contrarian View

 by Chris Silver Smith

Quite a few marketers have raved about QR codes as the best thing since sliced bread. Small-to-medium local businesses wonder if they should jump on the bandwagon as well, but is there enough substance to justify the buzz? Consider this contrarian view before deciding if you should.

Are QR Codes Good For Local Marketing? A Contrarian View

With new and emerging technologies, it can be challenging to identify whether integrating them will produce a good-versus-bad ROI. With some experimental interactive marketing ideas, the “law of diminishing returns“ eventually kicks in, meaning you expend progressively more time and effort for lower and lower returns.

If the tactic you’re considering has an extremely nebulous potential return, it might not justify any time spent on it at all. QR codes may fit into this category.

Reasons To Nay-Say QR Codes

They are not a substantial improvement over URLs. At its most basic level, a QR code is a method for communicating and storing a very precise ID to be associated with some thing, such as a product, an advertisement, a business, or an individual. In this respect, it works very similarly to a URL. (They can also store plain text, but most of their best business functions seem to be in the role of ID/product-numbers or URLs.)

For instance, if you saw an ad in a newspaper or magazine that looked interesting to you, you could scan it with your mobile phone, and the app on your phone would translate the graphic code into a URL which you could save or have it launch straight into a browser window on your phone.

While this theoretically could save you from having to manually type in a URL you read off the ad, it’s not necessarily all that much faster (I’ve watched people pulling up the app, getting close enough to the QR code, aligning to snap a pic, etc.). If one frequently wanted to visit URLs found when reading newspapers or magazines, this small time savings could drive one to install and use the app.

But, I’d venture to say that most people reading print media are not in a mode to take notes or go look up websites all that frequently while in the midst of that activity — I think those moments are more sporadic. And, when a consumer reaches that point, it’s not difficult to type in a URL, which incidentally might be easy to remember, too.

Some of the main uses for QR codes where local business marketing is concerned has been the practice of placing QR code decals on storefront windows or in print ads, and the matrix codes are linked-to the company’s website URL. This was pushed by Google Places, and many small businesses got the decals and placed them on their windows in a nearly knee-jerk reaction based on the assumption that if Google thought it was good, then it must be. Or, perhaps it might give them some sort of advantage in Google rankings.

There’s no reason to think that QR codes help in local search rankings on Google or elsewhere. Many marketers are desperate to push against any perceived lever there may be in making the needle move in Google rankings, so quite a number of people fell in line and posted the matrix code graphics on their store entrances. But it likely did nothing for rankings. In fact, there’s reason to believe that messing with your site URL structure to make better QR codes may de-optimize it for search.

Rhetoric around QR technology has been suspiciously hype-laden

The online marketing community’s enthusiasm around QR codes has made it sound compelling and the excitement that all of us have around clever tech is catching. But, there needs to be a good reason to use it or else it won’t have a natural place in consumer ecology.

The short life-cycle arc of the CueCat indicates this could be an evolutionary dead end

The CueCat was the product of a flashy startup during the dot-com era which allowed people to scan in small barcodes which could be later uploaded on computer to sync up with URLs.

A CueCat Scanner used technology similar to QR codes.A CueCat Scanner used technology similar to QR codes.

I remember when I was called in by the print side of my old yellow pages company to integrate CueCat code with our website for a brief, thankfully-abortive time period. I was so horrified when I realized what it was and how far in bed the print product manager had gotten with the Digital Convergence company that produced the CueCat.

It was so patently obvious that it was a nearly-pointless novelty item that I could not see there being sufficient consumer adoption of the technology to justify the amount of yellow pages ad print space to allow for the barcodes.

So, it was no surprise to me within a mere year or so when I was called upon to vet Digital Convergence’s technology for consideration of being acquired as the company was about to go bankrupt — and I had no hesitation in killing off the proposed buyout based upon technical incompatibility with our server environment and assessment of the CueCat’s complete lack of sufficient consumer adoption.

It’s still horrifying to me how eager some unsophisticated companies were to associate themselves with technology they understood poorly, and how much money they lost from investing in the technological dead-end.

Debbie Barham of the Evening Standard described the basic failure best when she said, “[the CueCat] fails to solve a problem which never existed.” And, that unfortunately seems to describe QR codes, too.

Slight inconveniences with products can amount to huge barriers for adoption

With QR codes, there are a few different inconveniences: you must download and install the app(s) on your phone. You must scan the codes. You must FIND code to scan and be near enough to capture it.

Could it be easier to use? Well, imagine if your cell phone had an app which allowed you to snap a photo of a URL, and then it might automatically launch your browser window with the URL. This isn’t far outside of our current technology.

There must be a compelling incentive for consumers to adopt it

If it doesn’t quite speed up some interation enough, then it needs some sort of premium to bribe users into getting involved.

Google dropped support for QR in Places

After initially pushing intensively to get SMBs to adopt them and use them as decals at their places of business, Google dropped QR code support. If this had been working for local consumers, Google wouldn’t have abruptly halted it. This is a significant indicator that it has yet to hit critical mass.

The vast majority of average consumers haven’t a clue what it is!

Poll the men-on-the-street in your area and see how many of them know what a QR code is and have a QR app installed on their cellphones!

As a unique identifier for people, businesses, things — it likely will not have a long lifespan

For businesses, apps becoming more adept at identifying/linking based upon ubiquitous geolocations, for instance. And, what about RF IDs (a.k.a. “NFC” – “Near Field Communication”)?

Nanotech devices with embedded RF ID detection could offer seemless ID detection and invisibly bridge the gap to connecting with online/virtual info. (There is speculation that Google dropped QR code from Places in order to replace it with NFC-enabled decals.)

URLs have wider recognition and might be preferable to using QR codes in print ads

Unlike QR codes, a URL doesn’t require locating an app, downloading it, installing it, and using it to snap a pic of a code graphic. For consumers who don’t have smartphones or have yet to download the appropriate app, a URL (including conveniently shortened URLs) will work better.

Multiple, warring code protocols result in some consumer confusion

The fact that there are multiple QR flavors may necessitate loading multiple apps to read different codes for different purposes. A consumer who feels unsure of which app to use for a code will tend to avoid participating. A service which requires a degree in Internet technology to use it is a service destined for failure.

Reasons To Believe In QR Codes

It’s easy to find reasons to nay-say QR code. However, it has gained some number of devotees and some growth of users. It would be simplistic to ignore that the technology has a few reasons to believe in it and consider that it might become sufficiently robust to gain traction. Here are a few of the reasons which I think have some merit.

It is an evolutionary step up from the CueCat

QR Codes only require smartphones for the device, compared to the specialized CueCat scanners — so, it is founded on a device which many consumers already have. While this is an adaptive advantage, it’s also insufficient in my view, because I didn’t believe the specialized device was the main flaw of CueCats in the first place — it was their lack of compelling reason to be used.

Still, this incarnation has the advantage of a slightly lower barrier-to-entry, and each incremental advantage helps bring the concept closer to the tipping point where it might finally reach critical mass.

QR code might manage to achieve a necessary degree of cool factor

Just one clever PR stunt could help propel it from the digiterati/early-adopters over into popular culture. There have been quite a few different companies, organizations and individuals which have done something innovative with QR in order to get some publicity buzz.

For example, a few days ago Ballantines whisky company got a tattoo artist to ink a QR code onto a friend which was linked to an animated version of the tattoo illustration:

Yet, this is more of a novelty than something which will bring QR tech over the top. Few people have access to the tattooed guy to scan in his matrix and get the animation to launch, so there’s no incentive for people to download the app and play along. For a stunt like this to really convert the non-QR-enabled, it needs to involve a more popular subject and it’s got to get a lot of people interested in making the scan themselves.

There is still some time yet before omnipresent ID technologies catch on and become standard

NFC or some nanotech ID handshake may be just around the corner, but they haven’t arrived. Until then, there may be some useful applications for QR protocol.

Google’s purchase of Punchd indicates it may still have plans for QR where local is concerned

Punchd is a service that has a built-in incentive that can drive consumers to seek out the special QR app, download, install and use — frequently. Mashing up a loyalty program which users can engage with via cellphone makes for a compelling raison d’etre.

Innovative QR code use indicates that the tech could be one small leap away from becoming really useful

A South Korean grocery store, a Homeplus company, figured out that providing busy shoppers with a virtual store in subway stations where they are a captive audience might be solid gold, and enabling the shopping cart functionality by having consumers scan QR codes for each product they wish to purchase is actually a brilliant application.

Now, if someone comes up with an equally compelling application here in North America, you could see QR codes really enter the mass consciousness in a big way.

Conclusions

QR codes have yet to achieve sufficiently widespread awareness in popular culture. Their usage  could still grow at a rapid rate as some have cited, but their penetration is still insufficient to justify time spent on integration for most small, local businesses. But, don’t ask me — ask a small, representative sample of your usual customers and see how many of them know about it.

If you’re a small business, consider first if you’re in a tech-savvy industry where your customers will commonly know what this is and use it, or if you’re in a highly tech-aware location, such as Seattle or Silicon Valley. If you fall into these segments, you may fall within a narrow exception case category and this could be worthwhile for you to experiment with (particularly offering Punchd loyalty discounts).

Additional innovative applications like the South Korean grocery use could happen in the North American market, but until that happens this still may not have reached the necessary tipping point to be worthwhile.

Some future innovative stunt like the QR tattoo might manage to tempt large numbers of consumers into trying out the technology, helping it to jump past the tipping-point.

For larger companies with sufficient resources to spend, a QR integration could be used as a speculative experiment similar to the Ballantines company’s tattoo gimmick, and they still might get some publicity/buzz value out of it even if it doesn’t evolve into a more worthwhile medium.

But, for the majority of small, local businesses, this is a speculative curiosity which simply doesn’t yet merit any expense of time/resources to mess with. As such, for most of these businesses any time spent playing with this will translate immediately into lost money.

However, stay tuned on the QR code topic where local interactive marketing is concerned!

Where I could’ve predicted the rapid death of CueCat, the story isn’t completely over for QR yet, and it might yet climb its way up over the tipping-point and make it into a sustainable position in the marketplace here.

It will need something to help propel it further, though — some increase in the ineffable “coolness” factor such as a Lady Gaga full-body QR code tattoo, or virtual shopping malls in subway stations — but, it might still happen.

 

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