For Those That Enjoy Scanning Things

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Take two former Amazon employees. Place in them the urge to develop apps (brought on by their other previous employment at Pelago). Now mix in a heaping portion of Foursquare and a healthy amount of Stickybits. What do you get? The newest social media interactive shopping experience; Barcode Hero.

Barcode Hero is an iPhone app (coming soon for Android) that helps users compare and discover new products all while earning points, dukedoms, and kingships. After downloading the app, users then will scan items at a store, bringing up a wealth of information and tips that others have left on that product. The company hopes to ultimately eliminate “offline” shopping by having every purchasing decision go through some sort of online channel.

Wait, there is more! Like many social sites before it, Barcode Hero lets you follow your friends, so you know just what it is they are scanning and likely purchasing. Now, don’t get too excited, the fun doesn’t stop there. Scanning items in the same category will earn you points. Earn the most points in a specific category and you will be crowned with the King or Queen title. If you are not quite King status, but have earned a minimum of 25 points, you will then be donned a Duke or Duchess.

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Sounds like a fun and original idea, right? My first thought after learning about Barcode Hero was, “are you kidding me”? Seriously, if Foursquare and Stickybits had social media offspring, it would be Barcode Hero. The one aspect Barcode Hero does incorporate that sets it apart from its competitors is the ability to compare prices and info from top online retailers.

That is essentially what bothers me the most about this app. If comparing prices is your money-making feature that differentiates you from the rest, roll with it. Why bother trying to throw in the stuff that works for everyone else, for the sole reason that it works for everyone else. I rather have a really great comparison pricing app, than a mediocre ugly stepchild of Foursquare, Stickybits, and Amazon. Maybe it is just me, but I feel that Barcode Hero could be doing a lot more with a lot less in this case.

There is one redeeming quality I found while reading over the FAQs on the site. Barcode Hero promises to take away titles you don’t really want with an email to them. Knowing that somewhere out there a poor, innocent soul was accidentally anointed King of Hemorrhoid Medication, while just trying to find the best deal for their nagging ailment is enough to make Barcode Hero okay in my book. It’s the little things in life, right?

24. August 2010 by Alex Trevisan
Categories: Mobile, Social Media | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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