SEATTLE — The Code Corp., developer of the world's smallest barcode, yesterday unveiled a handheld scanner at the DMA Net.Marketing show in Seattle that hyperlinks printed barcode data directly to the Internet.
Shaped like a bulky writing pen, the Zapscanner reads barcode up to 5-point type, which allows it to fit into a regular sentence. When it scans a barcode embedded with a Web address, it instantly takes the user to the pertinent Web page of the cataloger, publisher, direct marketer or market researcher.
“It makes print media truly interactive for the consumer,” said Ben Miller, vice president of Code Corp. “It allows the user to stay within the paper's portal without the need to bang out long Web addresses.”
It works with Zapcode, proprietary software that creates a barcode that fits into the text of any magazine and newspaper, or even the smallest of product numbers in a catalog.
Zapcode is designed to take advantage of media crossover without the need for the consumer to leave the publisher's print or online properties. A reader who sees a Web address followed by Zapcode in a magazine, for example, could use the Zapscanner connected to his or her PC to connect to the Web site.
The Zapcode is an additional revenue stream for publishers, Miller said. They can resell the code to advertisers. In addition, it expands the possibilities of classified ads. For catalogers, the Zapcode quickens the ordering process for their customers.
Code Corp. will take a cut of sales made via its scanner. It will also charge publishers an annual licensing fee of $120 on a circulation cost-per-thousand basis. This is for advertising. The fee for an editorial license is $70 on a CPM basis. Publishers can also sell sponsor buttons on the scanner itself for extra revenue.
Cameron & Barkley, Charleston, SC, is beta-testing the product. It has handed out scanners to select customers of its safety and environmental products. Talks are on with major publishers like News Corp. and Germany's Bertelsmann.
Computer manufacturers would be an ideal fit, Miller said.
After an initial $8.5 million, the company is seeking about $20 million to take it to the next phase. At the moment, its marketing plan consists of one-on-one meetings with potential clients, a presence at trade-shows and ads in trade publications.