Its true! The image below is a link to a web site! Its not to be clicked on though ... its an offline link that needs to be photographed from a mobile device to be activated. In this case, it may reside on a billboard, a poster on a telephone pole, an ad in a men's washroom, or a tile on a train station floor. But make no mistake ... it is a link to a website!

Shotcode Image

The image(s) and associated software is produced by ShotCode. The image (each is unique) is really just a visual barcode of a website address ... a link. The link is activated on mobile devices such as PDAs and mobile phones, that have the required software installed. Once installed, all you need do is take a picture of the image with your mobile device, the software translates the image into a web address, and then launches your mobile browser to the url specified in the image.

Just imagine ... seeing the image on the side of a bus shelter, snapping a picture of it, and being delivered to a web page that tells you your bus is only 2 stops away. Its tremendous. Some companies are likely to start embedding these into their products. Perhaps municipalities will start selling sidewalk advertising. Guided tours can now be directed via the web. The applications are endless .... its genius really!

So, why am I, a search/social marketer talking about ShotCode? Because, its an opportunity. Our jobs as search/social marketers is to drive business for clients through their web sites ... and this opportunity seems like a virtually untapped door into many businesses. Of course, its only an opportunity if people start loading the software to their mobile devices. So start downloading.

Edit: apparently the team at SEOmoz posted about a similar technology about a month ago called QR codes here. Its a good read, and goes into much more depth.