Is Neustar’s 2D Barcode Clearinghouse Fading Away?

Based on a similar model to GS1’s central registry of Universal Product Codes (UPCs) Neustar’s mobile barcode clearinghouse service announced in February 2010 (press release), appears to have faltered or maybe even been abandoned.

An original element of Neustar’s proposed service was the use of an indirect 2d barcode encoded with a proprietary text string allocated by Neustar. Few examples of these have been seen in the wild but they have appeared on Neustar’s website and one was used in a joint Visa, NeoMedia and Neustar promotional contest at Mobile World Congress 2010. These codes required non-standard scanners that could interpret the text string and forward it to Neustar’s servers for redirection. As far as I know there were only four scanners out of a hundred plus that could actually do this.

What has changed now is the QR Code on Neustar’s website that decoded as the text string mc*neu*23 has been replaced. The new QR Code decodes as http://bc4.biz/mc*neu*34 and hence can be read by any 2d code scanner. This brings Neustar into direct competition with other 2d barcode campaign management systems and probably heralds the end of their clearinghouse project.

3 thoughts on “Is Neustar’s 2D Barcode Clearinghouse Fading Away?”

  1. IMHO, this was a case of Neustar taking the wrong approach from Day-1 where they acted like Big Brother and the new Dictator on the block who would impose a system and somewhere in here would also tap into revenue from everyone.

    Had they co-opted a number of smaller platforms and worked to legitimate QR in the mind of brands and agencies, taking a partner-role and being transparent about where money would fit into the equation (or, taking money out of the equation for a couple of years), perhaps this idea would have evolved. Not having a public or friendly face didn’t really help them either, it all seemed far to secretive and back-room-deal’ish. It wasn’t a bad idea, it was just poorly executed.

  2. Claude: I agree. They blew it from Day 1 and then continued to repeat the mistakes. They still have yet to clearly differentiate their product to the market besides the usual ambiguous key words: security, managed, reporting. At one point, their much touted advantage is “we are really, really big – and you are not.” I sent them an email about one blog post that hammered on about how everyone else would fail but Neustar (including their partners). They pulled it.

    Neustar has never been very good at working in a partnership and this nagging issue bubbled to the surface again. If you ask anyone in the industry the advantages of Neustar the reply would likely be on the lines of:

    1. Who?
    2. You mean the advantages for Neustar?
    3. I have less taxes because of the increased cost.

  3. Neustar has had extensive conversations with all players in the ecosystem and we have conducted testing with multiple technologies and approaches over the last year. During this same time, the eco-system has gone through many changes. Barcodes are becoming more and more prevalent, we are also seeing greater fragmentation. Neustar’s Interactive Mobile Exchange (iMX) supports an indirect code method, as well as enhanced URL based codes. The latter enables actions and activities via a URL structure to be recognized by a much broader range of mobile discovery technologies, including barcodes, SMS, links embedded in mobile web pages and emails and future options like water marks.

    Enterprises, their mobile application developers and campaign managers can now register mobile codes or “shortcuts” with Neustar. They can be confident in their ability to clear their campaigns through Neustar’s Clearinghouse to any appropriate application or campaign management solution, regardless of their discovery technology or ultimate destination. Neustar believes companies will invest in putting barcodes on their product, content, media and extend their brand, so the barcodes themselves will become valuable digital assets they own. Enterprises will be able to access Neustar’s clearinghouse via a URL, and they will have the flexibility to repurpose, add greater value and security, and redirect mobile codes or other shortcuts they create to different discovery technologies, applications and campaigns over a product or physical asset’s life span.

    Neustar will be discussing this at the upcoming GSMA Mobile World Congress this coming week. Visit us at chalet # AV78 or see a demonstration of our barcode solution at stand 7CZ2 located in the App Planet (Hall 7). We will also be showcasing our solution at the upcoming CTIA and ad:tech events.

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