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Homes.com's AI-powered Redesign Aims to Win Consumer Hearts
Real estate buyers have a friendlier way to search for homes, thanks to a recent overhaul of property portal Homes.com. The redesign, which debuted last month, leans heavily on artificial intelligence to deliver slick, new features like conversational search, match scores, camera/photo-based search, and more. We recently took a deep dive into these new features to see how they can benefit your real estate business. During a webinar, we saw how Homes.com is using cutting edge technology to distinguish itself from the "Big 3" property search portals. Watch the recorded webinar below, or check out our notes for a preview of the groundbreaking tech that we learned about. 1. "Human-Like" Search I'm sure you've heard clients or prospects express frustration over their property search tool. Maybe they can't find what they want, are frustrated by the interface or the search results, or are just plain confused. Homes.com looks to upend the hassles of the traditional online search by saying "goodbye" to the old-school search interface and "hello" to conversation-based search. Now, the user experience is guided by natural language that makes consumers feel like they're interacting with their own personal property concierge. This "human-like" experience starts from the Homes.com front page (seen below) and extends throughout the search process. 2. "Match" Score How close is a particular property to a client's ideal home? Homes.com's new "Match" feature makes that easier to find out. It takes a buyer's preferences--including price, location, number of beds/baths, amenities, etc.--into account to determine how well a listing, well, matches their needs. To maximize clicks to a home's listing details page, Homes.com has also launched new, descriptive headlines that are automatically generated by artificial intelligence. 3. Snap & Search We're getting real high tech now. Homes.com's new Snap & Search feature lets buyers find their dream home using only a reference image. Consumers can either snap a picture or upload an image of their ideal home, and Homes.com's AI-powered algorithms will visually search millions of property images to show you similar local listings. 4. HomeShare This feature makes home searching a collaborative affair. Now consumers can share properties with their loved ones and you, their agent. Users can also save listings, leave notes, share messages, and even upvote/downvote properties. Like the rest of the new Homes.com experience, this entire process is guided by friendly, conversational language that makes collaborating easy. Check out the webinar recording above to find out how these new features can help you win new business and better serve your existing clients.
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4 Ways to Enhance the Home Search Process and Help Buyers Find Their Dream Home
House-hunters are always in search of a simplified process. Real estate technology, including search websites and apps, have made house hunting much easier and more accessible in recent years. Real estate pros can harness the power of technology to help their clients find their dream home. Here are four enhancements to help you win over buyers and get them into the home of their dreams.
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School Report Cuts Sales Cycle in Half
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[Infographic] 5 Benefits of the RPR App for Realtors®
Realtor® on the go? There's an app for that. Easily search properties, create and send branded reports, and view local market activity anytime, anyplace with the RPR app. Use your phone's location to view nearby sales activity, or take a deeper dive into any property and view tax, mortgage, historical and distressed data, flood zones, dynamic mapping and more. Built exclusively for REALTORS®, the RPR app offers on-the-go access to a nationwide, parcel-centric database of both residential and commercial properties. Learn more about this valuable member benefit by checking out this simple infographic:
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Realtor.com's Mobile App Gets Spiffed Up for Spring
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App Alert: Gboard Will Transform Your Mobile Messaging Game
I love my smartphone and all that it lets me do—but if there's one constant gripe I have with it, it's that the copy-and-paste function is a pain in the you-know-what. My fingers are neither lean nor nimble, and trying to drag that tiny tracker around to highlight text is an exercise in frustration. Well, be frustrated no more! Today, we're highlighting one mobile app that will lessen your copy-and-pasting woes and put your messaging game on steroids. Gboard Gboard is a nifty app that replaces your phone's keyboard—and adds in some seriously powerful features. The app lets you search Google right from your text messaging app (or anywhere else you use your keyboard). That means agents can search Google for the address of a restaurant, their office, or other location right from their messaging screen. You don't have to toggle between apps and copy-and-paste it into your text. Simply search and hit 'Share' to automatically copy the address to your message. Gboard will also include a link to the location on Google Maps that your message's recipient can click on to instantly get directions.
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Discover MLS-Touch!
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Discover MLS-Touch!
Tuesday, February 9, 2017 at 1:00 PM PST MLS-Touch is the application you've been waiting for... and we want to take a few minutes to show you what it can do! MLS-Touch is the most powerful mobile MLS solution packed with features like map search, instant sales comparables, quick access to your listing inventory, email multiple listings and the InstaView which can get you details of the property in front of you instantly. Available for the iPhone, iPad and Android devices, this feature-packed mobile application will allow you to research and show homes, respond to information requests, set up future showings, and much more! Register now!
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Realtor.com Introduces Augmented Reality to Its Mobile App
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Discover MLS-Touch! (9/26)
Monday, September 26, 2016 at 1:00 PM PDT MLS-Touch is the application you've been waiting for... and we want to take a few minutes to show you what it can do! MLS-Touch is the most powerful mobile MLS solution packed with features like map search, instant sales comparables, quick access to your listing inventory, email multiple listings and the InstaView which can get you details of the property in front of you instantly. Available for the iPhone, iPad and Android devices, this feature-packed mobile application will allow you to research and show homes, respond to information requests, set up future showings, and much more! Register now!
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Discover MLS-Touch! (9/15)
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Discover MLS-Touch! (8/24)
Wednesday, August 24, 2016 at 1:00 PsM PDT MLS-Touch is the application you've been waiting for... and we want to take a few minutes to show you what it can do! MLS-Touch is the most powerful mobile MLS solution packed with features like map search, instant sales comparables, quick access to your listing inventory, email multiple listings and the InstaView which can get you details of the property in front of you instantly. Available for the iPhone, iPad and Android devices, this feature-packed mobile application will allow you to research and show homes, respond to information requests, set up future showings, and much more! Register now!
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Rate My Favorite Learning (8/18)
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Discover MLS-Touch! (8/10)
Friday, August 10, 2016 at 10:00 AM PDT MLS-Touch is the application you've been waiting for... and we want to take a few minutes to show you what it can do! MLS-Touch is the most powerful mobile MLS solution packed with features like map search, instant sales comparables, quick access to your listing inventory, email multiple listings and the InstaView which can get you details of the property in front of you instantly. Available for the iPhone, iPad and Android devices, this feature-packed mobile application will allow you to research and show homes, respond to information requests, set up future showings, and much more! Register now!
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5 Real Estate Apps that Used Augmented Reality Way Before Pokemon Go
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Homesnap Pro Rolls Out 5 New Search Features
Searching for properties just got a little sexier, thanks to Homesnap Pro's latest update. The search app rolled out five new features that make it easier for consumers and their agents to find information at a glance. Here's a closer look at each of Homesnap Pro's latest additions to their property search app: 1. Clusters Have you ever searched homes for sale only to have the mapview search results look like a forest of pins? Homesnap Pro clears that cluttered mess with a new concept--clusters. Rather than displaying each individual home for sale as a pin on a map, the app now adds up how many properties are on the market in an area and displays that sum instead. To view individual listings, just zoom in or tap on a cluster. This feature really cleans up the map interface and makes browsing results a simpler process. As an added bonus, now you can quickly see which neighborhoods have the most market activity!
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Discover MLS-Touch! (6/22)
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Discover MLS-Touch! (6/7)
Tuesday, June 7, 2016 at 10:00 AM PDT MLS-Touch is the application you've been waiting for... and we want to take a few minutes to show you what it can do! MLS-Touch is the most powerful mobile MLS solution packed with features like map search, instant sales comparables, quick access to your listing inventory, email multiple listings and the InstaView which can get you details of the property in front of you instantly. Available for the iPhone, iPad and Android devices, this feature-packed mobile application will allow you to research and show homes, respond to information requests, set up future showings, and much more! Register now!
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Realtor.com Launches Overhauled Version of Their Consumer Mobile App
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The Targeted and Viral Impact of Mobile Marketing
When it comes to real estate, one of the best reasons to use mobile marketing is its power to facilitate direct collaboration between homebuyers and agents. As a real estate agent, you can share properties on mobile with each buyer according to their particular needs rather than solely relying on listing ads to catch their eye. A real estate mobile app is the ultimate tool to share properties with homebuyers and sellers, and for them to then share it with family and friends. In this way, the app makes it easier to carry out targeted viral marketing to interested parties. This wins you more clients in the long term, and lets potential clients know that you are tech-savvy and able to make their listings go viral. Let's take a look at the following example of how this would play out: Timothy Townsend is a potential homebuyer. He has a long checklist of features for the home he wants to live in. He wants all of this in a certain price range: A townhouse Three bedrooms Lots of light A fireplace You have the perfect listing for him. Instead of hoping he sees your ad among several others in the newspaper, you can share the listing directly with him through a mobile app. Timothy is happy with all the homes that have been sent him through the app, but the one you had in mind for him checked off all the items on his checklist. You have now helped Timothy find his ideal home!
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Five Ways GPS Technology Has Transformed Real Estate
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Your Lead Manager is Only as Great as the Leads That Fill It
I was going to write an overview of VoicePad's new Lead Manager interface. During the course of my conversation with them, however, I discovered that the most compelling subject isn't the Lead Manager itself – it's the data that populates this backend interface. After all, any lead generation and management tool is only as powerful as the leads that fill it. In the case of VoicePad's Lead Manager, these leads are better than ever. The company now has the ability to associate an individual (name, email address, and/or phone number) with a property view on a VoicePad mobile website. "This allows us to identify and track what were previously anonymous Web hits," they explain. In the course of the conversation, Lead Manager itself – in a way – becomes an afterthought, simply a place where these valuable mobile leads can be tracked and displayed. Randall Standard, CEO of VoicePad explains, "In the mobile environment, consumers can request property information without identifying themselves as on a website (by providing an email address that is sent to an agent as a web lead). We are able to identify consumers by a phone number and track all of their mobile activity, which is much more than a web lead could ever reveal. From the Lead Manager, for example, an agent can see that a customer called to get property info four times; requested info by text six times; viewed 64 properties on the agent's VoicePad mobile site; and indicated seven as favorites. The agent sees who shared the mobile site via text. How often buyers are searching for properties and where they are. This detailed insight helps agents craft their follow-up strategy and gives them an intelligent way to reach out to potential customers."
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Product Review: Team Phone
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Selling to Gen X and Gen Y
What I'm about to tell you won't surprise you at all. In the coming years, more of your clients will belong to Gen X and Gen Y – and they're going to demand a more tech savvy approach. According to the National Association of REALTORS®, 31% of recent buyers belong to Generation X (born between 1965 and 1979) and 28% of recent buyers belong to Generation Y (born between 1980 and 2000). Consumers in this age group are quite proficient with technology, and are going to expect the same (or better) from their real estate professional. You may be thinking this is a stale topic. You may be right. But given the importance, it doesn't hurt to reevaluate how well you're serving this demographic and "up your game" a bit. Electronic Signatures Electronic signatures are a great fit for Gen X and Gen Y buyers. There's something so clean and modern about this mobile and paperless approach to signings. When you look at a tool like DocuSign, even the aesthetics are bright, clean, and attractive. It's especially appealing to the environmentally-minded, online-shopping, busy folks in their 20s, 30s, and 40s. Stacks of paper, inkblots, copiers, and fax machines are how their grandparents closed a real estate transaction – not how they want their closing to feel. And as we'll discuss next, mobile is a big thing for these groups so having a mobile app for your digital signature solution is a great idea.
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How to Gain Mobile Market Share and Minimize your Lost Customers
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Friday Freebie: Guide to Mobile Engagement
The explosion of mobile devices has changed how consumers search for real estate. More importantly, it's transformed how your website generates leads. Think that prospect who couldn't access your site on their iPhone will visit again from their laptop? Think again. The truth is, if your site isn't optimized for mobile, you're missing out on a huge number of leads. Mobile is an intimidating world, and it can be hard to know where to begin. In this week's Friday Freebie, we highlight a guide that can show you exactly where to start. Download a free whitepaper from Delta Media Group Delta Media Group started seeing dramatic changes in consumers' online search behavior starting in 2010. "Those changes in behavior are maturing now," said Delta CEO Mike Minard in a recent interview. "The method in which REALTORS® need to engage these customers is different." To get agents and brokers up to speed on these changes, Delta has released an informative white paper that's easy to read, regardless of your level of tech savvy. "The Mobile Customer Experience: Trending, Optimization, and Application" explores recent trends in online engagement, backed by traffic statistics from over 35,000 websites. In this free paper, agents and brokers will learn more about: Mobile engagement trends Measuring client expectations Mobile web vs. apps Click here to download the white paper now!
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The Impact of Increasingly Mobile Technology on Real Estate Pros
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Best of 2012: 6 Apps Every Homebuyer Needs When Buying a House
We're celebrating the end the year by counting down our 10 most engaging articles of 2012. This article, from HomeFinder.com, was posted in July and is #5 in our countdown. See #6 here. Regardless of how attentive your REALTOR® is, there are still many aspects of the home buying process that require you to take matters into your own hands. Aside from using online home searching tools for the initial search, there are a multitude of apps that will aid you in organizing your home search and help lessen the chaos buying a new home often brings. We've compiled the top six apps to help you navigate through the home buying process. 1.) Mortgage Calculator Pro – Within seconds, you can calculate your would-be monthly mortgage payment. This app lets you factor in insurance, property tax, and monthly fees such as the HOA costs, so you can determine the accurate monthly payment on your new potential home. 2.) Dictionary of Real Estate Terms – Unless you eat, sleep and breathe real estate, it's nearly impossible to know what every real estate term means. The Dictionary of Real Estate Terms allows you to input words such as "abstraction approach," so your eyes can look a little less blank when it comes time for contracts, negotiations and closings.
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Friday Freebie: Branded Mobile Apps from Smarter Agent
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Monday Morning Mobile: The Money’s in Mobile
I have made the point over the past couple months that our mobile devices have taken over as the primary consumer search tool for most of us, and will take over for the rest of us in the near future. Yes, we all still have a desktop computer which we use for work to create documents, presentations, do research--the majority of our work related tasks. However, when the work day is done, we immediately switch to our mobile devices, smartphones and tablets, for all our consumer searching needs. Why wouldn't we? It's far more convenient and comfortable to sit on our couch, recliner, or at our dining room table with our smartphone or tablet than it is to sit in those same places with our laptop. According to Nielsen, a recent study found that 85% of smartphone/tablet owners use their device while watching TV at least once a month and 40% of them do it daily. That's over the average of 34 hours per week Americans spent in front of the TV in early 2012.
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Today’s Tech Savvy Home Buyer
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Consumer-Facing vs. Professional Mobile Apps
Do you understand the distinction between consumer-facing and professional mobile applications? Does there have to be a distinction? After all, particularly when it comes to applications built primarily for property search, don't many professionals and consumers want the same thing? We chatted with Phillip Charles-Pierre, CMO of Smarter Agent - one of the industry leaders in developing white label or branded apps for franchises, brokers, and agents - to find the answers to these questions and more. What Consumers Want "Most consumers want to be able to search for homes, obtain accurate data (which might be a problem when they're using an app from the aggregators who don't always pull directly data from MLS data feeds), and want to be able to search by GPS as they walk or drive a neighborhood of interest," Mr. Charles-Pierre explains. He goes on to say that consumers want to be able to refine their search with advanced features to narrow down results. Further, they want to be able to receive alerts for new results that meet their criteria. Ultimately they just want to find the right home for them with not too much fuss. What Professionals Want Agents want these same things, Mr. Charles-Pierre explains, because it is how their clients are searching. However, they also need to have secure access to view additional data in their respective MLSs that cannot be shared with consumers (listing price history, agent remarks, compensation, etc.). "Many agents also want their clients to be able to contact them directly through the app," he says. "This makes communication during the buying process seamless and fully controlled by the client.
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My Husband’s Love Affair with the REALTOR.com iPad App
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The Five Rules of QR Codes
Guest Contributor John Lim from Mobile Card Cast Says: When used correctly, QR, or Quick Response codes are exactly that- instant, direct, and an extremely efficient means of delivering content to a potential consumer.  QR codes definitely have the “cool” factor.  A scan, followed by a familiar beep of your device can bring new life to a once two dimensional print ad or promotion. Unfortunately for many companies the use of QR Codes ends with this cool factor, never allowing them to fulfill their potential as a valuable marketing tool.  Here are some basic good practice measures that can take your QR campaign to the next level, harnessing the power to put your content in the hands of a consumer. Rule #1:  Your QR Code Must Lead to a Mobile Landing Page. This is the most important rule regarding the use of QR codes, yet it is often ignored by companies who are attempting QR campaigns.  If you do not have a mobilized landing destination, the instant nature of the scan is voided by slow load times, poor formatting, and cumbersome browsing.  You know they are scanning the code from a phone, so give them content that they can browse freely from their device. Breaking the Rule:                                    Photo Source: Neustar.com Neustar, who ironically produced an ad campaign regarding (and using) QR codes, violated the most important rule of this mobile technology.  When scanned, this QR code leads to a non-mobilized website that is nearly impossible to navigate.  While the content on the site may be valuable, its presentation on a mobile device offers an extremely poor mobile experience.  Even users who had a strong interest in the product would be likely to take one glance at the webpage on their phone and press the “back” button on their browser. Keeping the Rule:Ketchum did an excellent job with their print advertisement that contained a QR code (the full ad can be seen on the mobile site).  The QR code led to a fully branded, functional mobile website, complete with relevant articles and even social links.  This is an excellent example of how to serve users with a great mobile experience that will be sure to leave them with positive brand recognition. Source: Full-page Ketchum ad in Advertising Age, June 2011
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Top 10 Articles About Mobile Technology
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Monday Morning Mobile
Mobile Technology is changing the way the world operates, largely by providing Smartphone users the opportunity to visit a website directly from their fingertips. It is no secret that while consumers are getting much more demanding of the offerings websites provide on their mobile devices, REALTORS® have been responsive, and answered the need. The services that are currently available to real estate firms for their marketing can include text message lead generation, QR codes, apps and most importantly mobile websites to send listings to consumers’ mobile devices. Being easily accessible from an iPhone, Blackberry, Andriod or other Smartphone is key in this fast paced industry. For that reason, forward thinking brokerages have placed mobile technology in the forefront of their marketing techniques. This has proven to not only enhance the experience of the buyer and seller but also allows the agent the benefits of being the most relevant, and technologically advanced in their market place. This has also resulted in agent productivity and loyalty from the forward-thinking broker’s prospective, “Providing our agents the opportunity to offer it ahead of the competition—considering we are a strong locally owned company vs. the major national companies—our agents were able to leverage this mobile technology, property text numbers and QR codes ahead of the market. It definitely has helped set us apart in the markets that we serve in Los Angeles.” says Michael Williamson, executive vice president of The John Aaroe Group.  
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Do’s and Dont’s of Text Messaging for Real Estate Agents
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Mobile stats stack well for Rand Realty
I recently had the chance to sit down with the great folks over at BHG Rand Realty, New York, to discuss their current mobile strategy, changes they want to make to the present and where they want to go and do in the near future.  Matt and Joe Rand proved to be industry leaders on the mobile real estate forefront over a year ago when they launched the robust mobile version of www.RandRealty.com which was unlike any mobile site of its kind at the time.  Their new initiatives will only serve to continue that statement, I can assure of that having had a sneak peak, but that’s not what we will focus on here in this column. Instead, what I think is even more worthwhile than discussing what they will be doing, is reviewing the success they have had with what they have already done.  A report that was presented in during this meeting showed that their mobile website was the 12th largest source of traffic, just slightly less than Realtor.com the 11th largest source.  If that doesn’t put in perspective how any consumers are accessing your website from their mobile devices on a daily basis than I don’t know will.
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A perfect example of effective,consumer-oriented marketing
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Make it there – you’ll make it anywhere
Having attended the NAR Midyear meetings in DC recently and keeping my ear close to the street on the mobile buzz, it seems to me that there are still those that doubt the viability of QR Codes.  Are they a phase/craze?  Will they be obsolete by next year?  While these are all viable questions to ask when discussing new technology the fact remains, QR Codes are NOT new technology. The awareness of QR Codes has simply exploded over the past 6 months.  In addition, I have recently seen evidence that QR Codes are in fact here to stay.  In fact, if you believe in the lyrics of Frank Sinatra’s classic tune, New York New York and the line “if I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere” then you shall now believe that QR Codes are here to stay also.
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3 Ways Mobile Search Solutions Can Capture Leads: Text, Voice and Mobile Browser
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The New Marketing Ecosystem
There are several valuable data points contained within comScore's 2010 Mobile Review, but the one that hit home with me involves 'social networking ecosystems.' The first few sections of the report illustrate the expected mobile metrics: rise in smartphone users along with rise in mobile media access, Europe hosts a more developed mobile market than the U.S., and so forth. But at the end of a paragraph about smartphone buyer criteria, comScore re-branded a concept we've been discussing since 2008: "Smartphone users are increasingly sophisticated consumers who are looking not just for a phone, but for a device that is part of a larger ecosystem that provides a complete mobile experience, including apps, music and video."
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Six Steps To Help Avoid The Follow-Up Trap
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5 Good Reasons to Use QR Codes
Ain’t no stopping them now – QR Codes are on the move!  The buzz about these mythical images has grown to the point that they are on everyone’s mind; especially as this year’s marketing plans begin to go into action.  Inevitably, they have fallen under the mobile category, as it’s your mobile device which is used to scan them, and as we all know mobile is a big part of everyone’s marketing plan this year.   So with all the various renditions of how and where to? And should I or should I not?  I thought it may be helpful to offer 5 good reasons to use QR Codes.
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The Queue Goes to the World Mobile Congress
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