Magazine links visitors to the Web via phone
It's the coolest magazine technology you've never heard about. QR codes are now used by two Hawaii-based publications aimed at Japanese visitors. Aloha Street debuted the techno-tool the first of the month.
Mix Hawaii also uses them, according to Hajime "Jim" Ueno, president and chief editor of Aloha Street parent company Wincubic.com Inc.
Aloha Street's ads contain the QR codes, postage-stamp-sized data blocks that can be scanned by readers' mobile phones. QR stands for quick response.
The scan links the phone's browser to the advertiser's information at Aloha Street's mobile Web site, where the reader can access customer reviews.
Japanese visitors "want to know what other people thought," Ueno said.
Scanning the code nixes the need to punch a bunch of buttons for site access.
Aloha Street is also looking at eliminating coupon-clipping. For years in Japan, people have snapped cell-pix of printed coupons, which they show to merchants to redeem. It would take some educating to bring the practice to Hawaii, he said.
U.S. magazine publishers are looking at mobile integration, said Scott Schumaker, president of the Hawaii Publishers Association.
He is also group publisher and vice president of PacificBasin Communications LLC, publisher of several titles in Hawaii and the Pacific.
The City and Regional Magazine Association, of which PacBasin is a member, has "initiatives working with wireless providers, building a national network of participating magazines."
However, integration won't happen in the U.S. tomorrow.
He is not surprised that Japanese visitor publications here are the first to go mobile as an extension of their brand and of the way they communicate with readers.
"In Japan they use their phones for much more than they do here in America," said Schumaker.
is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin. Call 529-4747, fax 529-4750 or write to Erika Engle, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210, Honolulu, HI 96813. She can also be reached at: email@example.com