As mentioned on E-Media Tidbits, the Spanish publication El Mercurio has begun including "Web codes" in its print edition classifieds. A Web code is a long number (e.g., 2011662) printed alongside a classified ad that you can enter into a form field on El Mercurio's Web site to get more information about the product -- like a nifty photo, detailed specifications, etc. -- that, clearly, wouldn't have fit in the newspaper.
It's a nice idea, but I think it the execution could be a bit better. Namely, who wants to remember random numbers? I'd rather be given an intuitive, descriptive, easily remembered code word. Something like "1996 chevy corvette" or "antique wooden table." That would make it much easier for me -- and it just might be easy enough to convince skeptical, or impatient, readers to use the system. (Yes, the numbered "Web code" system is relatively pain-free, too, but I think some people tend to shy away from large numbers. One glance at "2011662," and they might say, "To hell with it.")
It can be argued that if people are interested enough in the product, they'll do whatever it takes to get more information -- including scribbling long numerical codes. Yes, I agree. But for the casual browser, the process can be made much simpler by using easy code words.
(Isn't this why AOL's keywords are supposedly so successful?)
Thoughts? Have you ever seen something like this implemented on a site? Post a comment.