Last Wednesday, a new service called SPARQCodes launched. The service allows businesses to create and analyze the usage of 2-dimensional barcodes. This helps tie the local business in with its online presence more easily. The SPARQCodes are made to interconnect with the businesses various online social connections, such as Twitter, Facebook, or even Foursquare and Gowalla.
It works pretty simply: the company creates a 2D barcode that can be printed or otherwise displayed where customers can easily see it. They then scan it with their phone (using the camera) and it auto-directs them to the business’ URL on whatever social network they’d like.
SPARQCodes were created by MSkynet, which may or may not be the embryo of the Terminator’s mainframe boss.
The idea is very slick and combines machine-readable, 21st century barcodes with social networking and mobile phones. Setup is very easy – just enter your company or business’ name and SPARQCodes will try to find associated social links (you can enter them manually if needed). Once this is done, barcodes for each are generated and can be printed at will for use as signage, leaflets, or even integrated into menus. So long as they are intact, they can be scanned.
This is a great way for the pizza joint to encourage Yelp reviews, for a coffee shop to build a Twitter-based clientelle for marketing, and so forth. MSkynet offers the service on a Freemium plan with stronger analytics and other useful data being included in the paid plans.
It’s a very cool idea and yet one more melding of the local real-life business and community with the Internet’s social networking phenomenon.