What Heck Is That?
It looks like a design you'd see from an Anazazi Indian pot from 500 years ago.
If you've been living under a rock for the past few months, you might not know what a QR Code is. A QR Code is a simpler version of a BAR CODE tag. And I'm really shocked to see just how many people love this thing.
For retailers, it's the Anti-Christ.
Why? Because people shopping for rock bottom deals can take their iPhone or other mobile device and snap a photo of any product with a QR tag on the product they want to buy. Within seconds, it will show you where you can get the same thing for a little, or a whole lot less.
This is the one piece of technology that will further erode America's "traditional retail" brick and mortar stores. Imagine no more shopping malls. QR Codes will ultimately force large department stores out of business like Mervyn's, CompUSA and many more. In Santa Fe, Mervyn's is gone. So are all of the Hollywood and BlockBuster video stores.
And while QR codes erode traditional business... people like Jeff Bezos at Amazon are laughing. I heard from a friend Jeff just bought himself a Ferrari F-40. The cost? $572,900
For REALTORS, QR codes can be put onto a yard sign. "So what?"
Which has been the subject of many heated debates whether REALTORS are just being stupid, lazy or ignorant of older Americans who quite frankly "just don't get it," and don't ever want to.
In many towns across America, gone now are the house flyers that used to be dropped into the plastic "FREE Take One," boxes nailed to a real estate yard sign.
My mom just turned 70. She's not very techno savvy. But she's smart, healthy and doesn't look a day over 50. She has an iPad. She has an iPod mini (bright pink) and one of those things you can cradle it on and it plays her favorite smooth Jazz songs.
I asked her the other night if she would like an iPhone so her digital lifestyle would be complete. She sort of laughed. Okay, mom likes the real AT&T phone with the honest-to-goodness copper phone lines.
The iPad she has is strictly for chatting with her grand kids in Germany, emails to me and her sister.
She knows how to turn the iPod On and OFF but strangely enough -- me or Tanya have to load new songs onto her iPod whenever we visit. She doesn't want to learn how to use iTunes to buy music and she has no interest in learning how to SYNC her iPod. Entering in her credit card number into the iPad might as well be the same thing as water boarding. She'll never enter a credit card into a computer.
Which brings me to the logical assumption my mom is probably a lot like a few million next time home buyers that lot of you have just snubbed by putting your QR Codes onto your real estate signs.
I'm a firm believer in technology. I write about it. I coach people about it. But is QR Codes really going to find a home in Real Estate land? I rather doubt it. Here's the logic behind my thinking and I hope this gives you reason to think a little before you find yourself following a bunch of lemmings all diving over the same cliff.
You have a brain and more of you should be using them. Because the facts simply do not support that homes sales will increase simply by spending money on QR codes and slapping them on your real estate yard signs.
1.) Younger people with crappy FICO scores can't qualify to buy a home.
They owe $100,000 in student loans. Their VISA and Mastercard is jacked to the brim with electronic purchases. So your younger home buyers have credit scores in the 550 range and below. The fact is, more than 37 million Americans in their 20's don't have any intention of ever buying a home. They would rather rent, or bunk with friends or they'll stay at home until mom and dad finally kick them out.
So... why are you wasting your time on chasing them and luring them with QR codes? Just because QR Codes are cool?
2.) Older Americans with great FICO scores don't know what a QR Code is.
So it follows, if they don't "get it," then you won't "get it." Meaning a sales commission. It's a stupid idea to remove your name, your website and your phone number and just place your QR code on the sign because very few people in the 65+ age group will not have an Internet capable phone and they have no intention of downloading a QR code and using one -- let alone barely understanding one.
It remains my humble opinion that REALTORS will be wasting their time, money and essentially giving the "middle finger," to a lot of older Americans that won't ever understand them let alone ever use a QR code.
They just want to drive around in a nice neighborhood and when the find a yard sign in front a nice house they're interested in, what's wrong with letting them walk up to the curb so they can grab a house flyer out of the box?
Do you really want to say NO to that customer and say NO to that commission? Really?
QR Codes and Your Privacy. Whoops. Did you Know...?
Do you know what happens when you point your iPhone at a QR Code and ZAP it? 99.99999% of you have no clue what happens next.
Our U.S. Government spends billions of dollars a year with Google, and state agencies such as Los Alamos National Labs and Sandia Labs. They blend grant money with technology startups that are in part funded with SBIR's. (Small Business Innovation Research). These are government funds that are sometimes blended with the SBA (Small Business Administration) to help technology get off the ground. It is these same government loans that are getting local companies to build things like QR codes and GPS tracking devices.
Why oh why do you WANT to be tracked by the Government? FourSquare.com is a check in social media network. What is the excitement of telling burglars you are at the mall and you confirm you are not home?
You tell your boss you're sick. You play hookey on Friday so you and your friends can go out to play golf.
Thanks to "social media check in technology," some one else is playing golf who just so happens to know your boss and spots you on hole #9. He checks you into Facebook or FourSquare. You show up on Monday and get called into the boss's office. You know what's coming next.
The U.S. Government is a hungry machine. It thrives off of information. Exercise: Count up the number of cameras perched on top of every street corner, street light and building. AXiS is just one of several firms rolling in the billions and billions of dollars. New Mexico has hundreds of them.
Santa Fe is a small town of less than 68,000 people, yet every 38 feet we have another traffic camera on nearly light pole and street light.
Is this really necessary in Santa Fe? Miami, sure. But Santa Fe? Really?
We have police cars with really fast engines. We have good samaritans with cell phones who are perfectly capable of dialing 911 when they see a drunk driver or to report a real crime in progress.
Homicides happen every day. And every time they happen, little CSI technicians come out along with the medical examiner and scrape up the body parts. They take dozens of photos of the crime scene.
Which makes me wonder why $13 million dollars in Axis traffic cameras in Santa Fe are remotely necessary.
We have teachers that need pay raises. Our state ranks #49 in the U.S. right now and our former Lt. Governor Diane Denish had the temerity to make an empty campaign promise to boost education. I was one of the smart people in the audience when I asked how she planned to do that when under her administration with Governor Richardson, New Mexico actually FELL from 46 to 49. She lost the election, and the rest is history.
Couldn't that $13 million have been better spent on attracting and hiring better teachers so our kids can be smarter in math and science to they can compete better in a new world economy?
Don't get me started...
Sorry for getting off topic for a minute, but the fact is that Target, WalMart and every store you can imagine collects information how people ZAP tiny QR codes. They sell it to a data management company. Equifax -- a Credit Bureau is now fully engaged in collecting this data and then selling this to the U.S. Government. 70% of their firm's people and resources including their servers sit in the Philippines with your social security numbers on them.
Your QR Code can carry information as to your GPS location, who you are, all of your personal information and every time you ZAP a QR code. That information is sent up a big stream of information pipes where it ultimately gets dumped in with the millions of other unsuspecting Americans so naive to think that zapping a QR code carries no personal information about you or your buying habits to the U.S. Department of Commerce.
And you thought QR codes were harmless. Think again.