Another tool for the info age


So what, then, is a QR code, also called a 2D barcode or mobile tagging?

It started as a way for Toyota to track automobile parts in 1994. Today, these codes make print interactive with smart phones that have bar code scanner apps installed. They look like this:

This one above happens to be a code that will take you to the Hillsboro Free Press website.

These codes make print interactive. For example, I can make a code that will take the reader to a video about the print article that appears in our newspaper or to additional photos that did not make it into the print edition.

Not everyone will have the capability of using these codes, but for the 30 percent or so of folks who now have smart phones, it’s a whole new world of information for the user.

I am familiar with Droid and BlackBerry apps that scan these types of codes. And my Droid will also scan UPC bar codes as well. This allows me to find more information about a particular product instantly.

Some people are irritated about all of the new technology available these days, but I have chosen to embrace it and see where it can take us.

I already knew a little about QR (quick response) codes before we went to the Midwest Free Community Papers conference and trade show two weekends ago in Des Moines. The conference is where I picked up new knowledge about the QR codes and how to apply them in our business.

After attending the free-paper conference, I am reassured that our free-paper model is the right strategy for these times.

While many paid circulation papers are losing subscribers, our numbers are solid and reflect only slightly fewer numbers based on the population trends in Marion County during the past 12 years or so.

Our audit shows receivership, readership and response to advertising scores that exceed the national average, 99, 86 and 84 percent, respectively. There is really no other medium in print, on the Web or mobile that even comes close to our numbers in this market.

I say add the other media if you are able, to get additional eyeballs or the same ones in different ways, but don’t forsake the bread and butter, which is still print.

With the free model, we do not have to play any games trying to give the illusion that we have the territory covered like some others have done even with precipitous drops in paid circulation.

Our cost per thousand has stayed steady through the years while papers with declining circulation have had drastic cost per thousand increases.

I don’t know how many people use sun dials, but if you do, just wanted you to know that it is an hour off until fall.

A snail goes in to buy a new car. He told them he wanted a little car and then asked them to paint an “S” on the door so that when he drove it down the street people would say, “Look at that little S car go.”


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