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Tag Technology: Print Finally Finds A Husband on the Internet

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Candy Evans is one of the nation’s leading real estate reporters, bloggers and consultants. She writes for AOL’s Housing Watch, Joel Kotkin’s The New Geography, and is now a guest blogger for Future of Real Estate Marketing (FOREM). She’ll soon be writing for Move.com. Candy holds a masters degree in journalism from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and has been a published writer for more than 25 years. She was a longtime contributing editor to Dallas’ D Magazine and sister pubs, and in 2007 founded the wildly successful Dallas real estate blog, DallasDirt, where she broke the news on where former president George W. Bush bought his Dallas home in 2008. She is the founder and creator of SecondShelters.com.

Tag, you’re it! I recently interviewed a Santa Fe agent who told me that, to maximize internet presence, her firm advertises in at least 400 places on the internet. If they advertise through print, which they do rarely, that ad must have a media or internet component.

Besides being Harry Potter, how can you connect a piece of paper to the internet?

Easy. You play tag with a new communication tool:  the Smartphone Tag Reader.  A Tag Reader is a graphic tag printed on a regular print ad that, when scanned by a reader downloaded to your Smart Phone, immediately delivers a full photo gallery of the ad product — home, all property details including room dimensions, current pricing, even neighborhood and school information. Some even feature property videos. It’s almost as if the whole listing pops right out of your cell phone which I have no doubt, someday down the road, will happen.

Here in North Texas, the Ebby Halliday Companies, in conjunction with Luxury Portfolio Fine Property Collection, publish their own glossy, luxury home magazine of the most expensive homes or home sites in the area priced over $750K. The magazine is then mailed to 30,000 high net worth individuals in the north Texas area. The magazine, Grand Vie, satisfies Ebby agents’ demands for a glossy print product where they can showcase their homes without paying the outrageous prices commanded by local print media.  But this year, Ebby took one major technological step further, adding a Smartphone graphic Tag on each Grand Vie listing.  Clients run their Smartphone over that tag, and out pops a full gallery of rooms, going way beyond the capabilities of a one- dimensional ad.

Want to see how Tag technology brings print alive? Three easy-peasy steps:

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1. Download the free Tag Reader to your Smartphone at http://gettag.mobi, then follow the    instructions for your phone type.

2. Open the Tag Reader and scan or photograph a Tag on any page in Grand Vie (or the Tag above).

3. Property details, more pictures and agent information will load as a web page where you can explore the property more thoroughly.

Tag technology has been extremely popular in Asia, and is rapidly picking up steam in the U.S. You can also see similar Tags in recent issues of Architectural Digest, and ads from retailers like Pottery Barn and Giorgio Armani. But Tag technology seems to have found the perfect mate, at least on paper, in real estate sales.

“It offers a great way to make print come alive,” says Randall Graham, Vice President and director of Marketing for Ebby.”We’re seeing great results and hope to see even more in the future.”

Have you tried Tag technology yet?