Google Favorite Places QR Codes Taking Many Customers to Wrong Location

Dec 17, 2009 • 8:44 am | comments (5) by | Filed Under Other Google Topics

On Friday afternoon, I reported My Google Favorite Place Decal Was Hijacked. In short, it turned out the QR code was indeed correct, but if the QR code scanner reads it wrong, it can take you to a different business. Which is what happens when I use certain scanners or if the lighting is poor when I scan using certain apps.

Here is a quick video of how this went down on Friday afternoon:

Now, I am not the only one experiencing these problems. I have spotted at least four threads (I know there are more) with complaints about their QR codes not working.

Let me pull out the various complaints from the four Google Maps Help threads I found:

The card I received in the mail from Google indicating we are a "Favorite Place" takes the user to the wrong business. Hundreds of miles away.

My card takes users to the generic google mobile home page?!?!?!

Same issue, mine goes to the generic google home page.

I got someone with an iPhone to test it out and it goes to info on some store in New York City, not my store, Epic Biking (, in Saratoga Springs UTAH.

Once our Favorite Place decal is scanned it directs to the Double Tree Marriot in Palm Beach Gardens, FL as opposed to our listing Land Rover Palm Beach.

We're having the same exact issue. Except, ours is Starwood Hotels in New York when it should link to OK4WD. I scanned the thing probably a good five or six times too

When I had my issue, Ryan Hayward from Google contacted me immediately. I learned from him that in my case, it was not a data issue on Google's side, but rather an issue with the scanner reading the code incorrectly or missing pieces of the code. From what I understand, the code itself stores data in it, such as addresses, URLs, names and so on. So technically, I do not think Google printed these codes with a specific unique identifier in them for your business to match up in the Google Local Business Center. I think Google printed these codes to have address information and that is all. I can be wrong, but I think this is how it is working.

The overall issue here is that the codes are not working for many many businesses and searchers. It doesn't matter if it is a Google bug or a scanner bug, it is not working for a lot of people and lot of the time.

Forum discussion at Google Maps Help threads.

Update: Ryan from Google sent me a note that many of this complaints are due to a QuickMark bug in their latest release. QuickMark sent an update to Apple and they hope it is approved soon. QuickMark wrote about the bug over here.

Ryan added:

Obviously we're not happy that any users are having trouble with applications to scan their decals. We are in close contact with QuickMark, and are planning to notify our Favorite Places decal recipients when the bug is fixed. In the meantime, various other apps should be working fine, and the QuickMark bug only applies to the latest release which came out Dec. 11. Once the new release is live in iTunes' app store, all users will be able to download the update.

Update 12/22/2009: QuickMark's update is now available for download in the iTunes App Store. It fixed the issues for me.

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