DailyDev: Business Card QR Code

June 22, 2010

Photograph, taken in front of a mirror, of the front and back side of a business card, with a QR two-dimensional barcode on the back.
A former newspaper guy transitioning to multi-platform journalism, I love, love, love print-digital mashups. So, naturally, I’m excited that QR codes, widespread in Japan and Europe, seem to be catching on in North America.

The two-dimensional bar codes, invented to track auto parts, are being embraced by content DailyDev blog series logo -- day 10producers and marketers because they can be processed by smart phones to steer users to URLs, contact information, map locations and other data. The South By Southwest festival this year used them on conference name badges. A Canadian newspaper recently started printing the codes next to articles to connect print readers to supplementary online content. Anyone in Times Square a couple weeks ago might have noticed QR codes (QR is short for quick response) in advertisements on one of the district’s many electronic billboards.

I decided to apply the technology much like SXSW did and embed my contact information on the back of my business card. To do this, I used a free third-party beta service called PingTags, which links with users’ LinkedIn accounts to create sleek mobile contact pages. PingTags automatically generates the corresponding QR code and even tracks page views for you.

DIYers can make their own QR codes here. There are many free QR code generators available online, but this one has the added feature of allowing creators to change the destination of the code at a later date.

Finished Product

  • The business card itself (the back is reflected in a mirror) is in the image at the top of this post.
  • The QR code pointing to my PingTags page is at left.
  • If youQR code for my PingTags page have an enabled smart phone, go ahead and try scanning the code. If you don’t have a QR reader app, you can download one here.
  • If you don’t have a smart phone capable of reading QR codes, check out the page here.


  • Make your business card more interesting and more useful to your contacts.
  • Make a static business card dynamic by changing the content the code points to.
  • Look technically hip without needing a lot of technical know-how.


  • Many users don’t have phones capable of reading QR codes or don’t know that they do.
  • Other mobile apps like Google Goggles and Bump can arguably more efficiently accomplish the functionality achieved in this example.
  • The codes look kinda cool — I think so at least — but aren’t going to be winning any beauty pageants. (SpyderLynk‘s paid SnapTag service offers a more aesthetically pleasing alternative.)


  • Be creative! Put QR codes on T-shirts, napkins, greeting cards, Twitter icons, tattoo them on your skin. The sky’s the limit. OK, maybe not that last one.


  • Yes, but bear in mind that a lot of people look down upon QR codes as gimmicky — and often times, they’re right. Don’t use a QR code where a shortened URL will do.

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