Quick Response codes or popularly known as QR codes are slowly entering the popular mainstream market of the digital world. Nowadays, we see almost every product embedded with weird alien language-like images in their packaging and you will probably never going to know what that means until you scan it up using your smartphone’s camera.
Scanning might lead you to the product’s website where you will thank goodness you did not get kidnapped by Martians and be eaten alive.
QR codes are 2D bar codes used to access, share and propagate information by means of scanning a printed code using a smartphone. Why are they so popular?
Why QR codes are everywhere:
- They serve as bridges between the corporeal and virtual world.
- Normally, these codes are made for free using open source technology.
- Anyone can make a QR code using an app or a website (try goQR.me).
These are the reasons why QR codes are used almost everywhere, from selling products, to links towards the customer relations site, to even sending secret love messages! (You should give it a try, if I were you. It’s cool and sweet all at the same time!)
QR Codes make things convenient because:
- They can be accessed from anywhere
- They are creative and a beautiful means of advertising
- They require less costing
Truly, the popularity of QR codes is steadily increasing. More and more companies adapt this advertising method. We may compare QR codes with wildfire that can spread really fast. However, like fire, it can save you or leave you burnt.
In ways, it can save you by providing a good means of spreading the information or product you want to sell. However, you may experience headaches once you used QR codes if you have not thought of them properly.
Let’s face it. We want everything easier, faster and more convenient. Less is more and the simpler the better. We are living in the age where being able to say something in the shortest sense possible is patronized. QR code is a product of that way of thinking.
How does the QR code work for the consumer?
- The QR code means an easy access to the product site.
- It saves the customer from the effort of asking for the website, or typing the website itself. Just scan and go.
- This gives web administrators and promoters easier jobs because they just have to sit back and just let the code strike out for the customer.
- The good thing here is that QR codes are generally free!
Why companies are using them?
For companies, it serves a great marketing strategy.
- The cloak of semi-anonymity gives a sense of suspense.
- QR codes are used in marketing for prizes, raffles and the like.
- It creates the demand for the product because of its unique function.
- You can scan them in a variety of devices
Even if QR codes are very convenient forms of web marketing, they still are a disadvantage in some ways. For example, you are in a moving vehicle, you are in a moving object - a bus or a taxi, let us say - and you see a QR code posted at another bus, telling you could win the latest model of the iPhone if you scan it. But suddenly, the bus speeds up and you aren’t able to scan the code.
This is one thing that QR developers should improve because the main idea behind the QR codes is based on mobile device scanning. If the consumers can’t scan it, the QR code is a wasted chance.
- Capturing can be difficult in moving vehicles
- Can sometimes be used to propagate malware and viruses
One more drawback to QR codes is the lack of drive for someone to scan. Look, if you don’t offer anything that the consumer might think as interesting, they won’t scan the code. Think of this, if people lie with having read the Terms and Conditions when they install a software, would they be scanning your QR code for no reason?
Some People Just Love to See the World Burn
Yes. Some people do really want to see someone burn. This happens with QR Codes. More and more people are victimized by scams and spams propagated using these codes. Some QR Codes are directed towards malicious sites or even malware. Some might even steal your data!
You might come across a queer QR Code and happen to scan it. It led you to a site offering a free massage. Yes, the advertisement is free, but along with this ad, off goes your money.
So how can we be spared of being burnt? Here are a few tips:
- Scan from trusted sources only. Don’t go scanning every QR code you see just because you feel like doing it or just because it’s fun.
- Scan legit codes only. Normally, the legitimate codes are clean links to clean sites. They won’t stab you without you knowing.
- Watch the link the codes are leading you. Pay close attention to the URL. If the link looks suspicious, like http://getfreepizza.yourmoneyismine.com, it might not deliver a box of delicious pepperoni pizza on your doorstep but a huge amount of bill you never really remember purchasing. Watch out.
- If the QR code led you to a download site where you are asked to download an app, watch out. See if it really is a legit and trusted app store. You might not know if this is really a useful app or an app that will steal all your data in one click. Beware!
- Try to download a security software for your phone.
You could scan from brandings, products, official websites and social media accounts and magazines you trust. But when you see a paper just flying around from the corner and says SCAN ME with a 200pt font, you should probably think twice. It might really be that Martian who is plotting to abduct you for their fertility ritual all this time.
QR codes are amazing. They could be your friend or foe. They could cause you ease, comfort and versatility in marketing and promoting your product. But it can bug you, steal from you, or worse, destroy you. The only thing left for you to decide is to choose which do you want it to be. Use it well.
Rudolph is a geek. He loves reading: books, blogs and even nutrition facts found at the back of products. Since joining 1stwebdesigner last year, Rudolph has written several articles that concerns Typography, Wordpress, Freelance Lifehacks, Graphic Design and Showcase of Beautiful Web Designs. He also write poems, movie reviews and he puts them in his blog together with rants and some daily life updates.