QR Codes, PURLs & GURLs

Quick Response (QR) Codes are barcodes that contain various types of information and can be read by smartphones using a barcode reader app.

While they are used for many purposes, the most common uses are:

• To connect print items to digital resources by linking to landing pages, websites or social media

• To store information (messages, contact info, etc.)

QR Codes can be used to display text to the user, to add a vCard contact to the user’s device, to open a URL or to compose an email or text message. QR Codes containing addresses and URLs may appear in magazines, on signs, buses, business cards, or on just about any object about which users might need information. Users with a smart phone equipped with a barcode reader app can scan the image of the QR Code to display text, contact information, or open a web page in the phone’s web browser. This act of linking from physical world objects is known as a hardlink or physical world hyperlinks.

QR codes have become more prevalent in marketing circles and have been integrated into both traditional and interactive campaigns. Media where QR codes have been deployed include: in-store displays, event ticketing and tracking, trade-show management, business cards, print ads, contests, direct mail campaigns, websites, email marketing, and couponing, just to name a few. QR codes are of particular interest to marketers, giving them the ability to measure response rates with a high degree of precision, allowing for easier ROI (return on investment) calculation. QR codes have also been used on attendee’s name badges at trade shows and conferences to quickly capture an attendee’s contact information.

Create Your Own QR Codes


PURLs (Personal Uniform Resource Locators or Personal URLs) are web pages (also includes mobile web pages) that are personalized for a specific individual. GURLs  (General Uniform Resource Locators – or General URLs) are web pages that are set-up for anyone to visit.

What sets this type of page apart from a typical web page, is that it is designed to capture data. A PURL begins with a database of known recipients and tracks that person’s useage of their PURL and captures any information the visitor has been asked, or track behaviors of that individual on that page, and attaches the tracked data to their record in the database. GURL web pages are used to gather information from people that are unknown. This type of page will typically ask you for your name and email address. These pages are typically part of a campaign, but can be used in conjunction with QR Codes to gather information or relate information on just about anything.