I’ve been writing this blog on a weekly basis for more than three and half years now. I’m not sure if that qualifies me as a journalist or not, but one of the things I think that journalists like to do is to get a “scoop”. In other words, they want to publish a story before any one else does.
Well, this week I have my first scoop! (Scoop as far as Tech blogs are concerned!) My friend Michael Seguin, Senior Manager of Technology at the Contra Costa Association of REALTORS® has developed a way to take those strange looking QR codes that are popping up every where and turn them into “works of art” that are sure to get attention. (Disclaimer: I was a member of the Contra Costa Association of REALTORS® from 1989 until the end of 2010. I am currently a member of the Bay East Association of REALTORS®)
Here is how it works. You visit http://www.QRStyler.com and put in the URL of where you want the QR code to deliver the viewer after they use their smart phone to “decode” the QR code. Then you choose a layout and click a button to create your new QR code!
From there you can email the code to whoever you need to in order to use it on Facebook, your flyers or wherever!
In some email conversation with Michael, I was assured that there will always be a free version. Michael went on to say that there will also be paid versions with more features. The system is currently in beta and you don’t need an invite to use it. Although I am showing a real estate theme, there are many others that you could use. (At last count there were 40 different layouts) If you can’t see the QR code that is part of this post, go here: http://realtytechbytes.com/?p=2877
So, go give it a whirl!
Here is the press release for more information:
WALNUT CREEK, California—July 29, 2011—The Contra Costa Association of REALTORS® (CCAR) has entered into an exclusive agreement with GotWebDev, Inc. to produce and market REALTOR® specific versions of the QRstyler™.com encoding application to the residential real estate marketplace. QRstyler allows REALTORS® to easily produce unique and eye-catching QR codes that allow clients to use smartphones to scan and capture marketing data including listings and instant links to REALTOR® websites. The product will be rolled out to CCAR Members by the end of August.
“This partnership and the resulting product is a perfect fit for CCAR”, says Bruce Adams, COO of the Contra Costa Association of REALTORS®. “A key part of our mission is to provide REALTORS® with the latest technological tools and innovations that will help them be successful in an increasingly challenging marketplace. The ability to not just use, but customize QR codes will help our Members to both differentiate themselves and to provide more timely and accurate access to information.”
After enjoying enormous success overseas, QR codes are exploding in the United States marketplace. Looking like square-shaped barcodes, QR codes work by allowing smartphones and tablets to “read” a code through their camera. That code can contain an enormous amount of data. Acting exactly like a “super hyperlink,” QR codes allow REALTORS® to offer their clients information and services wherever they may be through a smartphone. Adding to their versatility, QR codes can be reproduced in print or electronic form.
While QR encoder software is becoming commonplace, especially with the popularity of smartphones, the result is technically impressive but visually nondescript, squarish barcodes. QRstyler is the first QR encoder with an integrated “style engine.” That means REALTORS® and other users can create beautiful, targeted and even artful QR codes. More than just eye-catching, QRstyler allows the creation of brand-specific QR codes that mirror an organization’s identity. The application can function as a stand-alone web utility for individuals to encode on-demand, or via a data-driven interface to provide instantly branded QR codes for any purpose.
Eventually, two real estate-specific versions of QRstyler will be available to CCAR. The Basic Package will be offered to CCAR Members as a benefit, allowing Member REALTORS® to choose from set of standard REALTOR® oriented design templates. A premium version will be available at extra cost to both Brokers and REALTORS® that will allow production of unique and visually rich images which may be highly personalized by Brokers and REALTORS®. Either version will produce attractive and unique QR codes that can be printed, placed on kiosks and websites, shared from a smartphone, and much more.
“Part of the appeal of this tool is that it will integrate with existing CCAR technologies that are already being successfully used by REALTOR® Members,” notes Michael Seguin, Senior Technology Manager for CCAR. “QRstyler will enhance both our single property website product called ‘Street URLs’ and our proprietary ‘Homes Open Today’ web application. If all goes well our intention is to offer QRstyler to other Multiple Listing Services and REALTOR® Associations.”