Advertisers Solve One Problem Of Bluespamming, Maybe

The holy grail of mobile advertising has, for a long time, been the idea of location-based ads that bombard consumers with things like coupons for 25 cents off a latte every time they pass a Starbucks. This idea is fundamentally flawed for many reasons, but it hasn’t stopped advertisers from trying, mostly through bluespamming — putting up Bluetooth transmitters, then hitting every phone with Bluetooth turned on with a request to connect and deliver some content. The problem is it spams users with the message to accept the ad, forcing them to opt out, but some advertisers in France have circumvented the issue by delivering the ads through a special application users must download, rather than generically via Bluetooth. A user downloading the application would be a tacit opt-in to all the messages in the network — while this is better than simply spamming everyone, the advertisers must ensure that their messages are relevant or they’ll be seen by consumers as intrusive and annoying, even though they may have opted in. The problem with the location-based coffee coupon scenario is that it mistakes location for context. Just because somebody is going past a Starbucks doesn’t mean the context is right for them to receive a marketing message from it, and this distinction is key. While the marketers behind this latest effort say they’ll let users control the ads they receive by specifying preferences for the products in which they’re interested, anything that’s triggered solely by location is missing the point.

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