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July 22, 2005
Bluetooth marketing and privacy concerns

Bluetooth marketing is a risky business, with the spam menace just around the corner. New Media Age has a good article on the privacy issues connected to the use of Bluetooth technology to deliver promotional messages.
Big brands like Nokia and Volvo have started exploring this kind of communication which requires an initial (unsolicited) message from the advertiser to start the conversation. The problem is most of the people with Bluetooth enabled phones don't know they can modify the status of their device to accept or refuse by default external communication with other mobiles located within 10 meters. Marketers are taking advantage of this lack of knowledge considering that anyone with the "fully discoverable" option turned on is open (and willing) to receive commercial messages.

With the mobile marketing industry still in its infancy, the risk of spoiling with spam a promising business is very high. Regulations and industry standards are required ASAP.

Comments on this entry

I experimented with 'bluetooth marketing' back in 2003 with mixed results - I beleive that hypertag have taken it to the next logical stage with interactive posters - worth keeping an eye on this one. I haven't used them yet but it certainly looks interesting.

Posted by: Andy Sarfas at July 22, 2005 04:03 PM


Spam is going to infect everything. Regulations and standards are definitly crucial. I live in Manhattan and everyone I see has a blackberry or sidekick... both in which are potential targets, Im sure. Here is an interesting article I found about blackberry and cells.;_type_id=2858

Posted by: Mary at July 22, 2005 08:59 PM


I started my latest entry on SPAM-To-Go ( from a blog entry here on Adverblog from last week - this is a nice follow-on.

I did call and speak to AURA - the folks behind Hypertag - and have asked for their comment. I'm still waiting.

Keep up the good work!

Posted by: Troy Norcross at July 26, 2005 01:31 PM


I don't agree to the leading opinion (any kind of pushing content to the consumers is concerned as spam), because everybody has the right _and_ the chance
- not to use BT at all, or
- to use it in the "invisible" mode.

Sending out digital files over 100 meters without letting the user know where the offer comes from, is definitly annoying. But first getting his opt-in, and afterwords sending him a file should be OK.

Mind the technique! The opt-in message (pop-up) is NOT send by the poster, nor from any terminal. It is created by the firmware of the user's mobile phone. So, the MMA is simply wrong.

Posted by: bt_user at December 6, 2005 09:27 PM


...not too sure that the message is created by the users phone. Bluetooth marketing uses the OPP (object push) Bluetooth profile and the system works in the following way:
1. Search for all Bluetooth devices
2. Push the marketing message to found devices.

It is at the stage 2 when the phone asks the user if they want to accept the pushed message - this is directly due to the marketer pushing the message i.e. the marketer pushing the message causes the phone to prompt the user.

There are other styles of Bluetooth marketing - interactive walls - pictures here where the user must request the content hence it is permission based and opt-in.

Posted by: Greg at March 26, 2006 06:42 PM


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