121: Will StarStar Kill the QR Code?
Maybe you, too, have seen an advertisement that directed you to call or text **[brand name]. I have, and I wondered how that worked.
Turns out, that’s a service called StarStar, provided by a company called Zoove. So, now, instead of trying to get a phone number that spells something, you can skip the phone number entirely. The basic premise is that the caller types this code into their phone to call or text the advertiser. StarStar forwards that call or text to a phone number of your choosing.
In addition to a communication shortcut, StarStar can deliver various kinds of digital data (apps, coupons, gift cards, contact information, songs or videos, etc.) to the dialer’s phone or redirect them to online venues for purchase, voting, sweepstakes, opt-ins, etc.
Unlike your phone number, it doesn’t have to have a certain number of characters or work with a certain area code. You don’t have to force any acronyms, abbreviations, or phrases to fit what’s available; and a lot of company names are still available.
Unlike a QR code, it doesn’t require scanning; so, you can see the code anywhere and enter it somewhere else at a different time. Thus, it’s a better solution for billboards and other outdoor signage. (This is a much safer shortcut option for your vehicle graphics than a QR code, too.) Also, if used just as a communication shortcut, it should allow flip and brick phones to participate—not just smart phones. As a designer, I can attest that an alphanumeric code is a lot easier to make attractive and indigenous in your advertising than a QR code (or even Microsoft Tag).
The Zoove website makes it super easy to obtain the exclusive rights to a single code or several—for both personal and business use. Like URL’s, there’s only one of each shortcut available. So, the earlier you get one of these, the easier it will be to have a succinct code to advertise in the future.
Auction marketers could create different StarStar codes per auction—like some auction companies do with unique URL’s. You could also generate one for different kinds of FAQ’s or for use at different trade show-type events—like hash tags on Twitter. You could use different codes in different media to track media inquiries, too. I don’t know . . . maybe even generate a custom one for a valuable prospective seller and include it in your proposal.
At soluations starting at $3 per month, it can be a cheap solution for a lot of situations.
Not all shortcuts are wise to take, but this one might be beneficial to explore. I’m still playing with mine: **biplane
Taking It Personally
If you are a sharing your faith, you can create a shortcut to the truth you’ve found by removing obstacles religion has built over the years. If you don’t know what might be offensive or unattractive, it doesn’t hurt to ask.
My pastor did this decades ago, interviewing unchurched people for a postgraduate research project—interviewing those outside the church what they don’t like about American church. At the end of the extensive polling, he purposed to create a church as much as possible without those obstacles.
The result has proven to be a community where even people who don’t like church as they knew it find God more inviting, more personal, more practical. The environment became a refuge not only to the unchurched but also to refugees of the over-churched epidemic.
The challenge for me is to follow that example on an interpersonal level—to live a life that makes Jesus seem as desirable and approachable as he, unmatched, is. I want to be a shortcut to Jesus.
Stock image purchased from iStockPhoto.com.