The Battle for Robot Puke

When QR codes are, except in jest, referenced in the future at an event I’m attending, I will in future calmly put my worldly goods into my bag, get my coat and make silently, but with haste for the nearest exit. It will, naturally, be a marketing event so perhaps I should be more wary of the content of said events before I join.

These charming little examples of what poor sick robots vomit prompt polarised reactions among those who encounter them. There’s those like me who consider them great for their intended purpose in the factory. There’s 99.9% of the population who have either never used one or simply “use” them in order to get a tumblr. And then there’s marketers (and real estate agents, but they’re a subset).

Australian News Media Publisher, Fairfax, has developed an alternative called, oddly enough, Airlink. It’s got a nice logo and, aside from sounding like a bus service to the airport, seems to have exactly the same use case as our little friends so beloved of your average marketer. I’m sure it has the same focus on metrics, analytics as said robot puke. Which is another reason why lots of people will use it. 

It’s not that QR Codes are evil or even ugly. It’s just that in the age of the quicker Google search on your phone they have no customer benefit to anyone except the person creating them or using them to leverage their campaign. Hell they’re so popular, we’re even pretty safe from the viruses some of them allegedly carry.

I mean, what the hell even is this? Are we drinking Guinness or performing acts of cocktail drinker self gratification?

It’s been almost two years since I first wrote about their pointlessness and yet they still keep being foisted upon us like a Skoda Car. When will they ever just leave the little guys to go home to the factories they grew up in and grow old without ridicule.

It’s not hard to use NFC instead, after all!

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You’re not a journalist, you just sell Newspapers

Former News of the World editor Paul McMullan admitted to Steve Coogan they published dross in order to fund real invesitgations. Are Fairfax also compromising themselves with their equal reliance on clicks, eyeballs and advertisers driven by linkbait like today’s Steve Jobs “story” by Julian Lee?

I finally caught up with the ABC’s Four Corners Hackgate show “Bad News this week.

Bad News

By Reporter Sarah Ferguson and Producer Michael Doyle For more than five years Rupert Murdoch and his most trusted executives told the world that a rogue reporter and a rogue private detective were responsible for hacking phones for the News of the World.

I found myself offended by Paul McMullan while watching. I couldn’t figure out why (and before you say it, it wasn’t because of that hideous scar he seems to have developed on his face in the past few weeks). So I searched his name and came up with this:

Appreciate the need for a broad church of knowledge #4Corners but Paul Mcmullan? Insider yes? Defender? Absolutely. http://t.co/cn0kPj7
franksting
August 30, 2011

Didn’t you just want to hear it was Steve Coogan, a victim of Murdoch’s Minions and #hackgate, who left that scar on his face?

Anyway, #hackgate has been done over, but Four Corners has a lot to answer for. Keeping me up late last night meant I got to see the Midnight drop of stories on to some of the local “news” sites.
Among them a piece on the hideously misnamed SMH.com.au. When Fairfax decided to use the well regarded Sydney Morning Herald branding as the brand for their online presence, who knew that one day the result would be akin to the New York Times using the entire content of the New York Post for their website.
Even when Mike van Niekerk from Fairfax celebrated their intentions to dumb down their offerings some years ago on Mediawatch, I wasn’t fully aware of how bad it would get:

But I digress, we already know the articles of Journalism at Fairfax have become few and far between in recent years. There’s been plenty written illustrating that in recent years (Google and Crikey are your friend if you want to find them).

This morning was all about their ex-Marketing editor, the fact Steve Jobs still attracts headlines and it’s cheap to drive hits to your site if you recycle old stories about Apple.
It was expected journalism failures would look for any Steve Jobs angle to drive clicks. The SMH connects his resignation to…
franksting
August 30, 2011
…Apple’s “toxic” products. If coal miners who strip the land & pollute water got this type of negative coverage, there’d be uproar.
franksting
August 30, 2011

Its pretty clear after all Jobs only abandoned Apple because they and they alone are responsible for our addiction to shiny things. Not to mention the pain and suffering Apple alone cause at Chinese Manufacturing and in the Jungles of the Congo where they mine rare earth metals for Mobile circuitry.

But the objective of the piece wasn’t to do any research or any journalism, it was clearly just

As Steve Coogan said about Paul McMullan: “You aren’t a journalist, you just sell newspapers”: http://t.co/cn0kPj7
franksting
August 30, 2011

So my advice to Fairfax is, rather than publishing such navel gazing idiocy, better:

If @brandstand and his ilk like to soul search their “addiction” to “shiny things”, can’t they take it to their own blog or turn Luddite?
franksting
August 30, 2011

and

If Fairfax are serious about investigating the impact our addiction to “shiny things” has on the world, they’d be spending $ on a one.
franksting
August 30, 2011

One where they would send journalists to the manufacturing hubs, the mining centres and the supply chains. I’m sure Greenpeace or other NGO’s in the space would be happy to partner with them.

But that costs money and while it’s been investigated, won’t drive them clicks. And more importantly it’ll probably scare off some of their advertisers.

Banners asking Michael Dell to clean up toxics

The hull of the new Rainbow Warrior III on dry ground at the Fassmer Shipyard in Berne. The ship is being prepared to be lifted into the water. The Rainbow Warrior is Greenpeace’s first purpose-built vessel, and will be officially launched in… Read more > The Greenpeace airship A.E.
Which as even Paul McMullan knows, modern media can’t do without
Advertisers Begin Abandoning ‘News of the World’ Over Allegations the Paper Had Hacked Milly Dowler’s Cell Phone | Adweek

Two businesses are reportedly reviewing their advertising relationships with the British tabloid News of the World in response to revelations that newspaper had hacked the cell phone of a missing 13-year-old girl who would later be found murdered.  The energy firm Npower became the first business to comment on the new round of allegations, a