One of the perks of working in the Trademark Productions offices is that wonderful little thing known as the “weekly staff meeting.” It’s usually there that a term I’ve never heard before is tossed back and forth as if everybody in the world knows—or should know—what it is. Yes, I understand SEO, but the other stuff? That’s when the comments start. “Does the writer not read?” Yes, the writer reads. The writer just prefers to watch “b” movies at night and not get hot and bothered about things like QR codes.

So, what the you-know-what is a QR code? First, it stands for Quick Response. Second, it’s a matrix barcode developed by the Japanese consisting of black module-like square patterns with a white background that can be read by camera phones. And what purpose do they serve? Folks here have seen them in magazines, so by scanning the code, it’ll allow you to get details about the business or product, find nearby locations that sell the product, or perhaps guide you to a preview of a film or TV show if it’s located on an entertainment ad.

That’s just the beginning.

Uses are spreading, too. Business cards, ads that lead right to the company’s website and, of course, they’re being added to websites themselves. Why add a code to a website if you’ve already got visitors where you want them? Because by adding codes or changing them out—perhaps they take people to a sale or announcement at a special landing page—the search engines are seeing that you’ve updated your page and will index it accordingly. Remember that whole “update your pages and the search engines will notice?” There’s also the hope that search engines will also recognize QR codes and even index the content they include.

This is either actually innovation in a truly unique form or some developers have far too much time on their hands. The verdict remains out on this, but I do like the idea of having a QR code on a business card. Speaking as a writer, how cool would it be to hand out cards with a QR code that someone would scan with their phone and be immediately taken to a listing of my books that they could then buy instead of pocketing the card and never taking the time to look me up later? Okay…starting to like this idea more and more here.

For those of you still curious and wanting to know more, in anticipation of their World Conference, Market America is actually offering a few “how to” videos since they’re pushing QR codes. The videos include instructions for the Apple iPhone/iPod touch, Android and Blackberry.

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