3 Reasons Why QR Codes Will Become Extinct

thanksgiving-qr-codeNot too long ago, experts were looking at QR codes as the next big thing in marketing. Brands responded accordingly by stamping them all over print media, while trying to find more creative uses for the trend that first got its start in Japan. But these days, it seems as if the QR code has lost steam – as this blog humorously illustrates. And while there is still a chance that it reaches wide spread usage, there are also quite a few reasons why it may never truly take off the ground.

Compatibility Issue

Although many of the newer smartphones are more than capable of the processing them, not all phones are compatible with QR codes. Believe it or not, but there are still many people who are using older feature phones that make it difficult or impossible to read the complex images on these two-dimensional bar codes. Users of older smartphones could also run into problems due to their low-resolution cameras. At the most, older phones may only be able to process codes on larger items, which essentially limits the type of media a marketer can use.

They’re a Security Risk

QR codes have a lot to offer, but unfortunately, they are being abused for malicious purposes. Seeing how it is so easy to use them in cyber attacks, it was only a matter of time before this happened. The code a user scans may take them to a website, but that site could be harboring Trojans, viruses, and all sorts of harmful applications. Even a site that looks legitimate might be a part of a phishing scam designed to steal the user’s hard earned money or worse – their identity. It is the user’s responsibility to exercise caution, but when dealing with QR codes, there is only so much security one can apply.

Better Options Exist

And finally, the main reason the QR code could be destined to fail as a marketing mechanism is because there are simply better options out there. Mobile visual search or MVS, is proving to be a great alternative, particularly for mobile marketing purposes. MVS allows the consumer to interact with an image that is actually familiar, rather than the strange looking bar code etched on a QR code. With a simple snap of the camera on their mobile phone, a user can be instantly connected with information associated with that image. If it is a product, they can actually buy it right there on the spot. Aside from being faster and more efficient, MVS technology is also more secure than QR technology, which definitely matters to the often skeptical user.


Once hyped as the key to bridging the gap between the real and digital worlds, the future is all of a sudden looking bleak for QR codes. Do they have a use in the marketing landscape? Of course they do, but with technologies such as MVS emerging, they could prove to be a total bust sooner than later.

Author Bio: Abel is a writer, online marketing expert, and advocate for email marketing software company, Benchmark Email.


3 Responses to “3 Reasons Why QR Codes Will Become Extinct”
  1. Fiona says:

    Every technology becomes extinct, so what’s new?

    Compatibility? Less than 25% of the population read a daily newspaper but everyone of them is stuffed with ads. So “not all phones are compatible with QR codes” is a non-issue particularly when 50% of the population has a smartphone.

    They’re a Security Risk? QR Codes are not a security risk but the sites they link to maybe, just like any link on a webpage is a security risk. At the moment you stand more chance of dying in a plane crash than compromising your smartphone via a QR Code.

    Better Options Exist? Better in what way? MVS has been around for years but requires a proprietary app so has never been able to compete with QR Codes. When MVS is open source then it may happen.

    QR Codes are ugly and marketers use them in stupid ways but like it or not they are here to stay for the foreseeable future.

  2. GettysburgGerry says:

    Good Morning Abel,

    While I like the piece, I would have to say that I completely disagree, the issue isn’t QR’s going away, it is that we have not utilized them correctly. I have attacked a link to show you how QR codes can be correctly applied.



  3. Joe Tatulli says:

    You bring up some interesting points, thank you for sharing! I was quick to come up with a few observations to think about:

    Compatibility: This reminds me of that way of thinking about designing websites 10 years ago; “let’s design the website for a smaller screen size, or an older browser version, even though only 20% of the users are still using the older technology.” So, the other 80% of the users who adopted bigger screens are not gaining the benefit they desired? Apply common sense, we design the website for the 80% of users, not the 20% minority. Doesn’t make sense to me, to not use QR codes because some users may have older smartphones. When designing I put Bitly web addresses next to the QR codes, when its important, so non-compatibles can still visit.

    Security Risk: The risk does not increase because you scan a QR code, there is always security risk on the internet. I do not hesitate to scan a QR code on a package, of something I’m interested in buying, to learn more, because of security risks?

    Better Options: You brought up one that will not fit all needs for marketers. I have not even tried MVS yet? Will the users with older smartphones be able to use this technology or is it even more incompatible than the QR code?