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Using QR Codes in the Real Estate World – Stickybits

What is a QR Code?

a312bf102f2b7b05d0b560134a993fd9QR is short for “quick response” code and is the same technology and function as a bar code on the back of your cereal box but instead of having to buy a fancy scan gun like grocers have, your phone can now read bar codes and/or QR codes by simply downloading an application to your phone that can scan them.

We wrote about QR codes in 2008 and not many advancements in the technology have been made, but we’re seeing an increase in adoption rates. People are using their iPhone in grocery stores to scan barcodes and learn about products (how green they are, the extended nutritional information, reviews, etc), so consumers understand how it works and will soon use QR codes more extensively.

Okay great, but let’s get real

What does this mean for real estate? You’re thinking that no one will walk up to a house and scan a barcode to see the price, right? That’s what we have augmented reality for, no? You’re right and you’re wrong.

You’re right that no one will walk up to a house and scan a bar code for a price, but with a new service called Stickybits, you can “tag your world” by attaching videos, music, text, pdfs, and other files to any barcode.

Some examples:

(click to enlarge)

Actionable uses:

07cfad8a9aa4784e1cd779b01438f7e5So imagine you put a Stickybits barcode sticker on a flyer you’re posting in a coffee house that lets people see a video of you touring the house, right then and there on their iPhone (or other cell device).

Or perhaps you print shirts up for your agents that have a barcode on the back that they can wear to Tweetups and encourage tech geeks to scan them and receive on their phone instantly a branded pdf outlining the mission of your brokerage and who the agents are, what your value proposition is or why to use a Realtor instead of going at it alone.

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Maybe Stickybits can be used to add to the back of business cards that you print out and put on all doors in the neighborhood of your new listing- it can be scanned and immediately pop up with a video that has a virtual tour and all pricing, data and contact information?

The options are endless. You may be asking if augmented reality diminishes the importance of QR codes, but I would argue that it does not. The barrier to entry for QR codes is extremely minimal, my grandma could figure out Stickybits, whereas augmented reality apps are developed by and used by the most technologically advanced, giving QR codes the short term benefit. So, if you’re looking to innovate your marketing, this is one inventive way to do so!

Lani is the COO and News Director at The American Genius, has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH, Austin Digital Jobs, Remote Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.



  1. Nick Ford

    March 27, 2010 at 9:27 am

    Hi Lani.

    I must say that I’m happy to have discovered you. Sharp post about Sticky. Barcodes can do a lot for real estate!

    Nick Ford

  2. Ralph Bell

    March 27, 2010 at 6:26 pm

    I can’t wait to start trying this out! The possibilities are endless.

  3. Dean Collins

    March 27, 2010 at 11:11 pm

    Please point out that Sticky Bits are “NOT” open standard QR codes but are a proprietary implementation of a 1D barcode.

    QR codes can be generated by anyone, and most importatly read by any reader.

    There are a lot of advantages for implementing a true QR code system rather than ANY of the proprietary systems.

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