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UpTier makes it easy to promote your Zillow listing with QR codes

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Should homeowners wish to promote their property listing on Zillow, now they can with the drop of a link or simply entering the listing ID. Print it, wear it, share it, the world of QR codes is growing.

UpTier also creates socially aware QR codes for anyone, simply enter your social usernames, and create. It’s free, and easy.

We’re not sure what the pay model will look like in the future, but this leads us to the ultimate problem with QR Codes no one is talking about but us, and that’s QR spam.

QR spam will most likely stop QR use in its tracks unless a guaranteed safe transaction is presented. In fact, unless I know exactly what is on the other side of a code, I will not scan it. Why wouldn’t I want to scan it? Because my phone is worth more than the convenience of the 50/50 chance I’m taking by scanning a Trojan horse or ad serve onto my handheld device. I, like many people, have been trained not to click on links if I do not know where they’ll take me, and QR codes are the future of spam links.

Mark my words, until a trust source is created that all QR codes are fed through, the investment of real money into QR codes for Realtors is a risky proposition. If I see the code on a Realtor’s sign, hard printed, I am more likely to trust the QR destination than I am on random things like paper items such as business cards.

In fact today, I received a QR code in an email from a trusted source, did I scan it? No, I did not, and you shouldn’t either.

This is nothing on UpTier, I’m sure their product is sound, but in the future if ad supported, then it’s spam, is it not? And what of NEWS of the first ever QR shared virus? The publicity alone will dead end the future of QR use.

Solution? Is it time for certified codes? If so, what does that even mean or look like?

QR Spam, it’s what’s cookin’.

Benn Rosales is the Founder and CEO of The American Genius (AG), national news network for tech and entrepreneurs, proudly celebrating 10 years in publishing, recently ranked as the #5 startup in Austin. Before founding AG, he founded one of the first digital media strategy firms in the nation and also acquired several other firms. His resume prior includes roles at Apple and Kroger Foods, specializing in marketing, communications, and technology integration. He is a recipient of the Statesman Texas Social Media Award and is an Inman Innovator Award winner. He has consulted for numerous startups (both early- and late-stage), has built partnerships and bridges between tech recruiters and the best tech talent in the industry, and is well known for organizing the digital community through popular monthly networking events. Benn does not venture into the spotlight often, rather believes his biggest accomplishments are the talent he recruits, develops, and gives all credit to those he's empowered.

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11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. Steven Noreyko

    February 28, 2011 at 1:51 pm

    Seems pretty paranoid to me. How would a QR Code inject a Trojan or other virus on to your mobile device? I’d like to know if it’s even possible.

    Most of the scanner apps I’ve looked at on iPhone will sandbox the QR Code text within the app, and then offer to send you to a browser or make a phone call, etc. Not sure what BlackBerry or Android users have to deal with here.

    Seeing SPAM is certainly a problem with QR codes, but if you scan the code, that content is more HAM (to you) than SPAM since you ASKED to see the content.

    I’m curious to watch what happens in this space

    • Benn Rosales

      February 28, 2011 at 2:09 pm

      It isn’t ham if your once no ad QR is now filtered with an ad to support the QR provider.

      Paranoid?
      Come on. Clicking YES or NO on your computer screen was one upon a time seen as safe. lol Shortened links once upon a time never sent you to a malicious site, and today QR codes are obviously safe. Sure.:) It’s evolution.

  2. Ralph Bell

    February 28, 2011 at 4:50 pm

    @Ben I use my own QR software on my server. I at least know that it will never have ads. But like everything else on the net someone will find a way to take an originally great idea and turn it into spam…Facebook, Twitter, bit.ly, etc. All have succumb to the evils of online marketing.

  3. Joe Cascio

    February 28, 2011 at 7:53 pm

    I think the previous commenter was not out of line in using the term paranoia. This article doesn’t point out any specific threat, exploit or vulnerability owing uniquely to QR codes. It mentions no actual instances where a QR code in and of itself was used to deliver a virus or malware payload. It doesn’t even theorize on a QR-specific vulnerability or threat vector.

    I did a little research on this topic and the only specific vulnerability regarding QR codes I found had to with, guess what… Windows ActiveX. And that was some years ago and has undoubtedly been rectified.

    Let’s look at the facts here. QR codes are merely data. You can’t put anything in a QR code URL that you can’t put in a URL that you publish on a web page. You can’t embed binary executable code in QR. A QR code doesn’t contain any threat that doesn’t already exist, as far as I can see. If you use iOS or Android, the phone will prevent the browser from installing or executing any code you didn’t specifically authorize or that comes from their app stores.

    But the point is, it’s no different from clicking a malicious link on a web page. If you take the proper precautions to protect yourself from malicious web pages, a QR code won’t hurt you either.

    If the author knows of a particular new or unique threat presented by QR codes, then he should state it and stop hand-waving. If he knows of or has heard of a case where a QR code was used as an exploit vector then he should give us what facts he has.

    QR codes may be new to the author and many others in the US, but they have been in use for years by the millions all over Japan and Europe. If there was some particular threat owing to their use, I presume we would have heard at least something about it by now.

  4. Stacy Chapman

    February 28, 2011 at 11:32 pm

    Interesting post Benn! We have been considering adding QR codes into our event ticketing software, and I really never considered the possibility of spam on the other side of the URL. I’m not sure if the thought of potential spam will sway me from scanning in the future, but it will definitely make me think twice if I don’t know the source.

    This past weekend, I actually scanned several QR codes on my phone from real estate signs and was excited at how easy I could get house data when a flyer was not present. The only frustration I saw from the scan was the slow speed it took to pull up a few of the websites that were driven entirely in Flash due to the high number of images and virtual tours.

  5. Dawn Green

    March 1, 2011 at 12:05 am

    Hey Benn, great article! We’ve been thinking that adding QR codes to our print-at-home PDF tickets was in a future upgrade, but you blind-sided me with this! Obviously, I’ll take a wait-and-see approach on this one.

    Thanks!

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This non-judgmental app can help you switch to a plant-based diet

(SOCIAL MEDIA) There are many reasons people choose plant-based diets. If you’re looking to try it out, this app helps you stay on track.

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No Meat Today, a judgement-free plant-based diet tracking app.

The interest in plant-based proteins continues to grow. Healthline suggests that Americans are shifting toward plant-based meat substitutes because of shortages in the grocery store due to the pandemic, but there are many reasons to make the switch.

Plant-based proteins are considered more sustainable than traditional meat. Nutritionally, plant-based meat alternatives are often healthier. Regardless of the reason, if you’re one of the many Americans who are changing your diet, there’s a new app that can help you stay on track without making you feel judged if or when you do eat meat.

Your companion to eating less meat

No Meat Today is an app available in the App Store. You can get on a waitlist in Google Play. It’s a fun app that asks you, “Did you eat meat today?” You can even define what meat means to you, red meat, fish and seafood, poultry, eggs and/or dairy. As you eat less meat, your “planet” attracts cows. The design is simple, “don’t eat meat, get a cow.” If you eat too much meat, your cows go away. There’s no judgement if you lose a cow.

The creator, Arnaud Joubay says, “I’m not here to tell anyone what they should do, only to offer a friendly app to those who want to do the same.” It’s recommended to look back at your history to decide whether you want to eat meat or not.

Reviews

The app was just released earlier this year. Most of its features are free, but you can pay $4.99 for all the features for one year. There have been some very cute cows released for special days. In the App Store, reviews are positive, but the caveat is that the creator asks you to contact him first if you if your review isn’t 5-stars. It’s a cute app that can motivate you to eat less meat.

Here’s the link to the product page.

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Twitter insights to engage more customers this holiday season

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Twitter wants to help you prep your marketing for the first COVID holiday season by sharing findings on what customers care about.

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Man on laptop open to Twitter, considering his holiday shopping with Christmas tree behind him.

The year 2020 has been a year like no other. None of us expected to be confined to the inside of our homes, but here we are. And now, more than ever, the holiday season is something most of us are looking forward to, even if we have to spend it apart. And social media like Twitter will be a key part of that.

So, to get a sense of what consumers expect this holiday season, Twitter UK has shared some insights to help brands better strategize on their holiday campaigns. Twitter’s official partner, Brandwatch, analyzed tweets from March to September to find out “people’s opinions and biggest concerns.” Here are Twitter’s findings.

Compared to previous years, people have already started asking for and have begun giving gift ideas and recommendations to each other. According to the data, mentions of Christmas started to increase in March. Between March 1 and September 30, there was a 10% increase in mentions compared to last year. So, brands should definitely start kicking off their marketing campaigns sooner than later.

The pandemic has undoubtedly influenced how we spend our money and has altered how we are able to have family time. According to the Brandwatch Twitter data, 59k people are discussing how family gatherings will be impacted by it. So, brands should be mindful of this, and incorporate messaging that reaches out to everyone. Messaging that makes family and friends feel connected, even if they are spending the holidays alone.

Another thing to consider is combining your efforts with local businesses. Making purchases from small and independent businesses is something that has been heavily highlighted since the beginning of the pandemic. With Christmas drawing near, this couldn’t be more important in people’s minds. Twitter has seen a substantial jump in people saying they will be holiday shopping locally. By partnering with a local business, both small and large companies can benefit from sales.

Also, health and safety were and still are at the top of everyone’s minds. A lot of people on Twitter are saying they will do all their shopping early. This will help them avoid the large crowds of last-minute shoppers.

As a result, companies should start preparing themselves to receive early shoppers. Part of preparing is making sure all health and safety measures are in place. Brands should follow all CDC guidelines and make sure they continue to be transparent with customers. Sending out a simple safety message through social media or email will go a long way.

These insights from Twitter are specific to the UK, but should still be considered. No one knew we’d still be where we are now. However, the holiday season is still something people are excited about. And, brands can take these insights to help maximize sales.

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10 Snapchat Ad tips to increase engagement for holiday shopping season

(SOCIAL MEDIA) As holiday shopping draws near, Snapchat offers helpful tips to help business owners make use of their advertising and branding tools.

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Woman holding phone open to Snapchat chat window, casually dressed with journal and coffee nearby.

The holidays are basically here, and Snapchat wants to make sure you get the most out of your Snap promotions. The company recently released its “Snapchat Ads Best Practices: 10 Tips to Help Increase Ad Engagement” post. With these pointers and advertising best practices, Snap hopes to help companies “build visually appealing ads that drive quality engagement and high return on investment for your business.”

So, let’s get into the tips!

1. Choose the right ad format for your goals
With a lot of advertising options, Snap says you need to select the right ad type that will better align with and help you meet your business goals.

2. Showcase your product front and center in your ad creative
Displaying a fullscreen video or image of your product will encourage a viewer to want to engage more. As a result, it is good to include a ‘hero’ message at the beginning that has all relevant information, such as offers and specials.

For eCommerce purposes, products should be featured “front and center to drive purchase intent.” For apps and games, include the app’s UI, features, and benefits in the ad. Meanwhile, local businesses should highlight the services or products their business specializes in.

And, always remember to make sure your creative meets Snapchat’s ad specs so your ad can be displayed flawlessly.

3. Make your ads feel native to Snapchat
No one likes intrusive ads that scream at your face telling you to buy a certain product or service. To prevent this from happening, Snap says your ads should “mirror the bite-sized and linear storytelling of Snaps” already on the platform. These non-intrusive ads should be kept short at around 5-6 seconds. And, Snap says these more “conversational ads” get viewed more fully than polished ads do.

4. Drive urgency with relevant messaging
Don’t overcomplicate the message. This will just get people to swipe away. Instead, make sure relevant information is at the beginning and is easy to understand. Placing your messaging within the first 2 seconds is preferable.

5. Design for sound on
Despite what you might think, silence isn’t better. Snap says that about 64% of Snapchat ads have the sound turned on. And, an effective way of including sound in your creative is by using a customer testimonial. Spoken testimonials help viewers understand and better relate to the brand or product.

6. Link your ads properly
Make sure users are being directed to where you want them to go. You don’t want them clicking on a broken link. Or worse, someone else’s content. The right link is crucial for impressions and conversions. Here are Snap’s recommended “attachment types depending on advertiser goal.”

  • Drive online sales by using Web View Attachments. These pages instantly load for the user and are available in Snap Ads, Story Ads, and Lenses.
  • Drive app installs by using App Install Attachments. Snapchatters will be able to swipe and download your app. Using ‘Install Now’ or ‘Download’ as a CTA, Snap says you will have strong conversion rates.
  • Drive app engagement/app visits by using Deep Links. These links will bring existing users back to your app. At the same time, any new users will be directed to the app store to install the app. Deep Links can be added to Single Image or Video ads, Story Ads, and Lenses.

7. Test ad creative and try new ad formats
Testing something is a pretty good idea when it comes to anything. Snap emphasizes this, and says testing can give you “insight into what content resonates most with your target audience.” They recommended testing your ad creative for about 2-4 weeks using different formats. After you’ve gathered enough information, you can determine the winning format that is best for you.

8. Use goal-based bidding to bid towards your desired action

  • Goal-based bidding “allows you to optimize towards a specific action that a Snapchatter is most likely to take, such as installing your app, watching a video, or completing a purchase.”
  • Snap has several bidding strategies, and it recommends using Target Cost Bidding.

9. Broaden your targeting
After you’ve been running your ads for at least a couple of weeks, Snap says to consider broadening your target audience. Snapchat has several different targeting options. Some of the categories you can expand on are geo, gender, age ranges, and languages. Expanding your audience will allow you to get more impressions.

10. Understand your audience reach to optimize
Finally, make use of Snap’s Audience Insights. These insights provide Snapchat with data like demographics, interests, locations, and devices overview. By knowing this information, you can better understand your audience and create content that is tailored to them. Content that will ultimately maximize your advertising efforts.

Overall, Snapchat understands that “mobile advertising is a key component to any digital marketing strategy.” By offering us these tips, they are reminding us of some things we already know, and telling us how they can help us achieve our advertising goals.

With the holidays around the corner, Snapchat says they can help you reach a large and engaged audience for just $5 a day with their offerings. So, what do you think of Snapchat’s tips?

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