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For the past few years clients have been asking for more and more QR Codes (short for Quick Response Codes) to include in ads and collateral.

The idea is that smart phones can take a scan of the code and link up immediately to designated web pages.  You can even scan with your smart phone from your computer screen.  It is an idea that seems to have excited many clients.  But what about end users?

We had a similar excitement about RSS Feeds many years back.  What a great way to gain subscribers and for subscribers to get updates and information.

The same happened with Podcasts.  These seemed to be exceedingly simple.  You just subscribed and articles, updates, radio programs and more were delivered to your device of choice without you having to do any more.

Unfortunately, we cannot call RSS feeds or Podcasts successes.  They have their adherents – me for one.  Some popular podcasts can get 750,000 downloads in a week.  But that’s the exception, not the rule.  Most people don’t even know that RSS feeds or Podcasts exist.

Twitter is an RSS feed from people you know or what to follow.  But it is packaged up as hip, unlike RSS feeds which are just functional.  Twitter has a lot of users, principally because it is in the Media’s best interest to build followership for programmes and personalities.

There are lots of other easy services like 4square and Yelp that some demographics also get into.  But they remain far from mainstream so far and serve only a segment of internet users.

What we don’t really have a quantitative fix on is penetration and usage of these technologies.  How many people subscribe to RSS feeds or Podcasts?  Or more currently, how many people actually use QR codes?

So are QR codes the next Segway – lots of hype but no real action?

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