Quote from the movie Contact: "Will history repeat itself?"
Since 2D bar-codes like the QR Code have sometimes being looked at as a hype, I was looking for an internet hype to look for parallels. One of the best example I of a recent hype I could find is Second Life.
Second Life could be looked at as a social environment where your avatar could walk around. On the top of its popularity in 2007 everybody needed to be part of this social network. Companies and schools represented themselves in their own virtual offices.
My experience with Second Life is that controlling my avatar was difficult, and this world was too huge. I was just browsing, more or less afraid to miss the next best thing, but I had no idea where to go or what to do.
Participant of a hype will prolong its live longer then people who are just browsing. Businesses looking for new ways for marketing and sales need people who embrace the hype, not people standing at the sideline that are just looking what is going on.
There are some parallels with regards to 2D bar-codes. Businesses are (mis)using these codes just to have a feeling not to be left out of a potential new sales channel. Not all the time the implementation is fully thought trough; mobile unfriendly websites, links to sites that don't offer relevant information, etc, etc. And customers are looking at their QR Code, and don't see real difference to standard bar-code they can see on the products they seen in the supermarket. Who actually scans bar-codes in supermarkets? So why make the effort of scanning a QR Code?
Both companies and customers must see a benefit of 2D bar-code usage, like a more mobile and interactive experience to respectively promote and sell; find more information and buy displayed products.
If this benefit is not found by both parties, QR Code might make the long list of hypes that had the potential but just didn't make it.