I’ve mentioned before that I work in Social Media and online content… which means that I’m a bit of an internet snob when new technology hits the public and people don’t take time to learn about it. Have you seen those boxes of random design around town that say scan me? They’re called QR Codes. You are supposed to scan them using a program on your smart phone with your phone’s camera–the code functions like a link to get you a website easily. This means that they need to be stationary, well placed, and accessible. They can be both the most helpful things when they’re well placed, and dumbest things when they’re not. I’ve been pretty video happy, so let’s continue that streak with this from Scott Stratten, one of the big names in Social:
Stratten does a great job of pointing out the awful choices people make regarding QR codes and their placement–there’s even an entire website devoted to this failure called WTF QR Codes, showcasing various images of the abuse and misuse of these marketing tools. With these codes becoming the bane of marketing and one of the industry’s chief facepalm moments, you can imagine my dismay when I started seeing QR Codes pop up everywhere in the pet industry, including on dog tags. Really, how can you truly get a good scan of a QR Code while it’s on a dog? Then, a series of events brought me to appreciate these tags for the help that they could do.
While walking my roommate’s dog, a little stray dog happened upon us a few months ago; I relayed the story here. The little guy was lost, and it took us over a day to find that a phone number had been scribbled on the inside of his collar (it was in dark blue ink on a blue collar…I found him in the rain, and the ink didn’t show up against its similar background until the collar was dry). A little while later, Groupon ran a special with PetHub, an online company that helps you relocate lost pets, and Red Dingo, who makes adorable pet tags–on these QR Code pet tags.
If the little stray pup had had a QR Code on his collar, I could have taken the collar off (solves the movement issue) to scan it. Their databases not only contain the usual name and contact information for you, but also any emergency medical needs or concerns your pet may have. They also provide a picture and physical description for someone in case your pet were to lose their collar and the person only found the tag attached to the collar, with no dog. The system proved to be extremely intriguing, so we took the plunge and bought the Groupon.
The coolest thing about the special was that it came with a Gold Membership, which includes:
- The ability to store unlimited Arie data (allergies, coloration, temperament, commands, medications, address, phone, email, etc etc etc)
- Alerts to local shelters when you mark that your pet is lost
- Email Notifications with GPS tracking anytime someone scans your pet’s code
- $3,000 insurance for emergency coverage
- Nifty anniversary tag each Spring
I must say that this awesome system has completely won me over the pet QR code side–though I still don’t like seeing a QR Code on a banana (yes that has happened). Have you guys signed up for PetHub? What do you think about the system? What are your thoughts on QR Codes?