We received two urgent emails from Microsoft today. Normally they don’t have much to say, but two in one day couldn’t be spam, so I opened one. It politely got right to the point: “This August 19, 2013 notice is to inform you that the Microsoft Tag service will terminate in two years, on August 19, 2015.”
I wish I could tell you we were surprised.
It seems fitting that on the anniversary of the death of the Betamax format, another highly capable technology backed by a big company finally fell flat.
For the last year or two everyone’s been asking me about QR codes… will the be the next big thing? Do I need one? Should I use Tag or QR? At least the last problem just solved itself. I’ve never been huge on QR codes. I think they’re the single most overhyped and misused tool in the marketer’s toolbox. We’d live long happy lives without them. There are truly only a FEW special cases where the application of a QR code is brilliant, but 90% of it is rubbish.
So what are we supposed to do now to replace the Tag? Well, first, make sure you really have a good application for a tag. If the Tag just takes them to your website, well you could have just printed your website instead of the code and saved everyone a lot of trouble. If you have it at your attraction next to a display and upon scanning a website launches a video about the thing your standing in front of… now maybe you’re getting the hang of this!
So once you decide which Tags to keep, make plans to replace the Tags with standard QR Codes. Microsoft in its announcement yesterday suggested:
To help you prepare for the termination of the Microsoft Tag service on August 19, 2015, Scanbuy has been selected to support Microsoft Tag technology on the ScanLife platform beginning no later than September 18th, 2013, and to offer transition and migration services to Microsoft TAG customers who choose to migrate to the ScanLife platform. This transition path will help you to continue running your campaigns using Microsoft Tags on the ScanLife platform.
Scanbuy is the largest provider of QR codes and runs ScanLife, a cloud-based mobile engagement platform for creating personalized, uniquely tailored experiences for consumers to digitally engage with brands in their everyday surroundings through smartphones.
Don’t worry, you have lots of time… you’ll get used to those quirky but drab QR codes, and it will be hard to take down your once-hip, delightfully colorful tags. But your business and customers will be better off without them. Trust me. Maybe in 20 years you can buy a set of Tag coasters to relive the glory days.
Don’t agree? Or do? Either way, leave me a comment below!