QR Codes Become Technology To Manage Reputation

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Vizibility is building a mobile platform that will allow professionals to share social graph information and identify a list of common connections through QR codes, James Alexander, CEO at Vizibility, told MediaPost.

Those who create an account on Vizibility will have an option to link in Facebook and LinkedIn contact lists when adding a QR code to a Web site, business card or marketing collateral. The link in the code will pull in information from their social graph on a mobile device.

It's done through a technology application that Alexander calls "Google Me," a button that leverages Google's index to help people manage their online reputation. A clickable link or QR code connects the user to a search page, or what might look like a landing page, containing information based on a variety of criteria.

The platform gives users the ability to curate the perfect search on themselves or brands, making it easier for people to find specific information. The basic mobile application to manage what people discover launched in March.

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"It's still who you know," Alexander said. "If we sit down at a business meeting and scan the QR code on my business card and find we have four mutual friends -- all of whom you respect -- your conversation with me will fundamentally change."

When one person knows a mutual friend of another, it adds a level of trust. As more people put QR codes with personal information online, it will become imperative to embed code that prevents spiders from indexing the data. This probably will not affect brands, but it will affect company executives, freelance contractors, or others using QR codes to share personal information.

Alexander warned against allowing spiders to gain access and index the information online.

Vizability, which will soon close another round of funding in excess of $1 million, supports about 65,000 accounts with 8,000 active users.

The basic service is free, but the company also offers a paid version with more advanced options. The premium account provides a test message or email each time someone clicks a link or scans a code. Since search engine crawlers indexing sites can trip alerts, Vizibility designed a patent to identify spider vs. human clicks.

Earlier this month, Vizibility announced that the United States Patent and Trademark Office granted the company a patent for "Systems and Methods for Handling Internet Spiders." It covers the company's spider detection technology called SpiderTrap, as well as alerts to people when their Vizibility SearchMe button, link or QR code is clicked or scanned.

In June 2011, 14 million mobile users in the U.S., representing 6.2% of the total mobile audience, scanned a QR or barcode on their mobile device, according to comScore, which released Friday results from a mobile QR and barcode scanning study. The findings reveal that males dominate the use of QR codes. More than 60% of males -- the highest percentage ranging in age from 18-34 -- scanned codes in June, of which 36.1% have a household income of more than $100,000 annually. Overall, users were most likely to scan codes found in newspapers or magazines and on product packaging, either at home or in a store.

Vizibility also can identify patterns in requests for searches. The patent collects IP addresses to identify approximate time and frequency, for example, but not location.

 

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