It was bound to happen at some point!
While QR codes are a tremendous tool to drive mobile internet traffic, like any tool they can be used for nefarious purposes.
As someone who works with clients to help them deploy QR Codes and mobile optimized websites I've been giving a lot of thought to ways that we can help to insure that our clients codes work the way we intended and I've come up with a few options.
1. No More Black and White! Even if it's only a change in color make the code unique. It's relatively easy to generate a simple black and white code and replace a legitimate code. Below is the custom code for our company web site as an example.
Be careful though to test, test and test again to insure that your custom codes actually scan once they've been customized.
2. Tell people what will happen! Tell people what to expect when they scan your code. Use accompanying text or at least provide a url along with the code itself. This will accomplish two things. First it will help people know what to expect when they scan the code so if something else happens they may give it a second look before proceeding. Second it will help educate customers on how to scan codes, what to expect when they do and perhaps what value they will find for having scanned the code. Below is an example of a code we did for a great local bookstore.
3. Make it Difficult! Yes I said it. Make it difficult, when possible, for people to mess with the codes. That will likely mean different things in different applications but at least give some thought to the possibility, however remote, that someone might want to play havoc with your creations.
Those are the three ideas I've come up with. What ideas do you have to keep your codes working the way they were intended?