Download and wonder!

I've been contemplating the web site run by the Bluespamming outfit I wrote about here. Their powerpoint is essential reading – download it and wonder!

For example, consider the flexibility of Bluecasting with respect to who you can track and annoy:

  • Short range from 10 meters

  • Medium range up to 100 meters

  • Long range over 500 meters
That's what I call flexibility.
And get right down to basics with their technology summary:
  • “Identification of clients via unique BlueTooth ID Code

    • Each BlueTooth device has its own ID code

    • BlueCast server identifies each unit and related history

    • Opted in, opted out, initial communication, repeat events

    • Tie in with existing eCRM systems “

Jason Lee Miller picked up on some of this in a piece he did recently at WebProNews. As Jason says:

“What if, in real life, only 15% of the people you approached for a conversation responded to you? You'd probably feel like a shmuck, a social pariah. Fifteen percent is enough to make a direct marketer's thick head spin, and Bluecasting, sending ads via Bluetooth technology to unsuspecting phone-toting passers-by, offers that promise…

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And really, the annoyance factor, once the bug hits the States, is going to be huge. Just try walking by a shopping mall, a subway station, or a town square, for that matter, without your phone constantly buzzing at your side asking if you want to check out the latest exercise machine from Tony Little. Gives me shivers.

But at least we can count on the fact that products will be developed to block “de-listed” signals one day, defending our right to not be annoyed as we catch our planes.

Jason also refers to a piece by Mike at techdirt. He had this to say:

… [Y]ou just have to cringe when some marketers do things so obviously bad that you just know it's going to continue the downward spiral of the view of what marketing really is about.

A few weeks ago, we wrote about a test of a system in the UK called “Bluecasting” which was more accurately described as “Bluespamming”, where terminals were set up to send commercial messages over Bluetooth to unsuspecting people passing by with Bluetooth-enabled mobile phones. The companies behind this plan insist it's fine because rather than just sending you the commercial message, they first spam you to ask you if it's okay if they send you a commercial message.

For some reason, these folks then thought it was terrific that they only wasted the time of 85% of the people they spammed. Sure, compared to direct mail, that's a high return, but it's quite a different situation.

Buzzing someone on their phone as they're walking through a train station is likely to really interrupt them as they're on their way somewhere. Yet, due to blind marketing-think, the folks behind it still are insisting it's wonderful and are expanding the program to bug even more people — pretty much guaranteeing that most folks are going to start turning Bluetooth off on their phones.

The people behind it are in denial about how annoying this really is. According to the manager of some airport lounges where this will be used: “I think it's done very well because it enables the customers [to choose]. It doesn't force it on them.” But, it does force it on users — by pinging them without permission to see if they want the ad. That's the spam. Being interrupted as they're trying to do something else. If it was really completely up to the user, they would just put up signs telling people they could request info or content on their phones using Bluetooth. But actively sending them messages via Bluetooth is intrusive and, to many, many people, clearly seen as spam.

We do have a right not to have our own devices interrupt us.

If people don't get this, we'll just get new devices that conform with the Laws of Identity. They won't allow marketers to hit us over the head, distract us and track our behavior without our consent. They'll reward marketers who develop actual positive relationships with us and respect our right to privacy.

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Published by

Kim Cameron

Work on identity.