The bad idea that won’t die

The bad idea that won’t die: It’s true what they say about cats having nine lives. Because the dumbest idea of all time, the Cuecat concept keeps coming back in different guises (I’ve blogged about a few of them over the years). Today, the MIT Advertising Lab weblog points to yet another solution to a problem that doesn’t exist. As I’ve pointed out before, no one but Rube Goldberg would come up with a such a process — just because the technology exists.

Do people sit around and say, “Lots of people have camera phones and gee, what if they were turned into a barcode reader?” After the third or fourth beer, someone says, “Wow, if we could get advertisers to run barcodes on their commercials, then you could take a picture of the TV screen and then that would take you to a website. Gee, let’s go find investors.” And amazingly, they do.

Why this is a dumb idea: (And I’ll skip the obvious ones related to TiVo and technologies that allow you to watch TV and surf the web on the same screen at the same time.) How hard is it to type in a URL into a browser – something a person who has a cell phone and camera probably does about a hundred times a day. Every once in a while, I’ll see a clever camera-barcode mashup idea — for example, I at least find the Delicious Library concept fascinating — but the “point the cell phone camera at the TV” idea so it will take you to a website is nuts.

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