QR tag tattooWe’ve all seen the posts about QR tags: they’re either dead or they’re of no use to the rest of the world. But there are some in the marketing world who see validity in actually using QR tags. In fact, they’re practically everywhere. Just look at any piece of paper, packaging, or product box and most likely you’ll see one of those strange hieroglyphic symbols. But just because they’re everywhere, is there actual adoption and usage of these things by consumers?

Some actually believe that there is adoption. According to a December 2011 report by comScore, within the United States, 20.1 million mobile phone owners used their device to scan a QR code between August and October 2011. When you break it down further, 59.4% did so from home, 44% did it from a retail store, and 26.6% did it from a grocery store. 21.4% scanned something from their office while 11.2% were outside or on public transit. 10% did it at a restaurant. People are using these things.

On sites like Mashable, there are a plethora of posts where they say that QR codes for marketing (or in general) are dead.  You can come up with creative means to promote your company using QR tags like Intel’s social media strategist Ekaterina Walter says in a January 2012 post on Mashable, or you might wind up proving people right about QR tags with some of the more memorable fails. It’s definitely a polarizing piece of technology and many people probably have erased it from their memory. Or so you’d like to think that…

Today, Scan.me, a producer of one of the more popular QR tag readers with over 10 million downloads, announced two newsworthy items that have far-reaching implications for the QR industry, and maybe its “second wind”. The first piece of news is that they received $1.7 million in seed funding from several top venture capital firms and even some angel investors here in Silicon Valley. Leading the round is Menlo Ventures with contributions by Google Ventures, Charles River Ventures, Yuri Milner’s Start Fund, Social+Capital Partnership, Transmedia Capital, and Ludlow Ventures. Angel investors include Ariel Pooler, Naval Ravikant, Jim Pallotta, and Troy Carter. It must be saying something about the QR industry when all of these major investors find something interesting about what Scan.me is doing.

Scan PagesBut what is Scan.me doing that is revolutionizing the industry and taking QR tags up a notch? That’s the second part of their announcement. Being unveiled today is the introduction of Scan Pages, which are apparently “user-friendly mobile websites accessible via custom QR code or short URL”. What these pages will do is give businesses and individuals the opportunity to quickly and easily create a mobile site.

Wait, it’s a WYSIWYG for your mobile sites! Of course the downside is that it’s not 100% connected with your brand nor is it directly tied back to your company website, but for simple sites done that allows you way more flexibility than you probably can do with existing resources, Scan Pages are a good resource for any beginner or company eager to want to begin their mobile strategy and are using QR tags. Users have an option to select from one of several types of mobile pages: personal, business, social media, website, and simple text. Each of these types has their own interface and design so make sure you choose carefully. Once you choose, you’ll be able to enter your content and immediately afterwards, be given a customized code to insert anywhere you choose. Users will need to log in to their Scan account in order to use it, but I suspect that by doing so, you’ll be able to have tracking data available to you as well as other useful tools.

Something that most people probably don’t think about when they create a mobile page are tie backs to the company social media channels. With Scan Pages, users can add up to three of their most popular networks, including Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, Vimeo, Instagram, Twitter, Flickr, AngelList, Github, Tumblr, Foursquare, LinkedIn, YouTube, and many others. The idea is that you create these pages, but it isolates them on this page without any connection to talk back to you–but by adding social media profiles and links, you give additional value and content to the end user and an incentive to build their community.

Garrett Gee, CEO and co-founder of Scan, believes that his company’s innovations will help generate business for others above all other QR technology:

QR codes and other mobile technologies have always had enormous potential, but until now they have been held back by poor experiences and incomplete products…Scan fulfills the promise of these technologies by creating direct connections and valuable information exchange between businesses and consumers.

It definitely looks like it…I personally have created QR campaigns for clients and the things you need to deal with are tracking, custom URLs, and testing to see if the page loads up when scanned by various readers. With Scan Pages, there lies enormous potential for real value and ROI for businesses. And they’re already realizing this opportunity–brands like Barneys New York, Kroeger’s, Lady Gaga, People Water, and others are all participating and using Scan Pages.

To create your own Scan Page, you’ll need to visit their website. But if you want their QR reader for your phone, you can download it from the iPhone or Android marketplace.

Photo Credit: QR tag tattoo by Synergy Interactive

About the Author:

Ken Yeung

Editor-in-Chief of Bub.blicio.us and an accomplished interactive producer in the San Francisco/Silicon Valley area interested in all things in tech and marketing. Whether its gadgets or startups or related issues, he's eager to learn about it. From attending local and national conferences to appearing at events, parties, and other meetups, Ken is interested in sharing what he sees. Oh, and he's an accomplished photographer too, having been commissioned by Mashable, TechCrunch, TechSet, SXSW, BlogWorld, and many more.

Visit Ken's page at http://www.thelettertwo.com

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