Canadian Newspaper Reinvents The CueCat?

from the Do-Not-Want dept

The Canada-based National Post is apparently the first newspaper in North America to try adding 2D barcodes to its printed product. By doing so, its newspaper audience can whip out their mobile phones to see what kind of breaking updates have happened since the dead tree publication was stamped with ink. Readers just have to download an app to their phone (if it's not already a pre-loaded function), find the barcode on the front page of the paper, scan it with their barcode-capable phone, and voila! -- instant happiness. This is the best innovation since the CueCat! (/sarcasm)

Seriously, though, I'm not against experimenting with innovative products, but this combination doesn't make much sense to me. The newspaper audience that is tech-savvy enough to have a barcode-capable phone (and actually use it) does not seem like the appropriate target audience for a system that simply re-directs them to mobile content. Smartphone users are already reading mobile content, so this barcode system unnecessarily complicates what they're already doing. (In fact, it also drives these users away from the printed edition even more so by promoting the fact that more recent news is online.) And the newspaper readers who don't use smartphones are obviously not going to jump at the chance to figure out how to turn barcodes into newspaper articles. Clearly, if any audience is going to start scanning 2D barcodes, there must be a useful reason for doing so. Simply being the first newspaper to use barcode technology is nice, but there needs to be a compelling service behind the technology to succeed. I'm reminded of the colorful saying: "The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese."

Filed Under: cuecat, news, scanner
Companies: national post


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  1. identicon
    Michael, 15 Apr 2009 @ 4:17pm

    tip of the iceberg

    We develop offline to internet link systems and applaud the National Post's convergence effort, though we think that keyword links to online updates from a desktop makes sense as well. We also have a 2D barcode solution, just that North America doesn't have enough java enabled phones to accomodate the reader firmware. We have begun discussions with transit operators whereby a rider could take a picture of 2D barcode that in about 10 seconds results in a paid ticket. Similar to mobile solutions airlines are using for boarding passes. In fact West Jet boarding passes that you print yourself have a 2D barcode. Until mouse clicks from the offline world are perfected ... keyword linking remains a simple and effective option.

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