Young Haven Bluetooth Hotspots brings Location-based Mobile Marketing comes to Jamaica


The email read like a sales pitch from the get go. The headline asserted, “The Future is Now” then said,”distribute your business cards, flyers and ads electronically-stop the unnecessary printing.”  It was an introduction to Young Haven Bluetooth Hotspots, a mobile marketing startup based in Kingston, Jamaica.

It’s email pitch continued with 16 reasons why they think their offering of location-based mobile marketing(Bluetooth) is great for Jamaican advertisers and consumers.

 To consumers the Startup said

 1. Now: you can receive rich full colour text, images, videos, games to your cellphone

 2. Support file formats: jpeg, gif, mp3, mp4, java

 3. Stay connected to the latest of updates anywhere you go

 4. No need to be around a computer nor at home infront of the TV.

 5. Receive free content: Ring tones, Wallpaper, Updates, etc.

To Advertisers: Business persons, Party Promoters, Entrepreneurs they told

 1. Reach your customers on the most personal of devices.

 2. Everyone in Jamaica has a cellphone or three

 3. Most Phones have bluetooth capability

 4. Advertise 24 hours a day 7 days a week for less

 5. Very effective, innovative way of marketing your brand and business

 6. Ideal for party promotions and other events

 7. This is a DIRECT form of marketing that puts you in the palm of every consumer

 8. Perfect to get the word across at Trade shows, Plays, Cinema, Events, PRESS Launch,etc .

 9. We will host your electronic business card on our system so that everyone that walks pass your store will get a pleasant surprise on their phones – and will be influenced to enter your store.

 10. Send electronic coupons, SALE NOW ON info, electronic INVITES, etc   

 11. Bluetooth Zones include the Half Way tree Commercial district, New Kingston the Business district, Portmore, UWI/UTECH universities and Spanish Town.

All that’s cool but let’s examine some things.

 The Business Idea & Model

The idea itself is solid, location-based mobile marketing which is basically the delivery of relevant media directly to the user cellphone at the right time and place has been growing as a viable marketing tool in places like the US and China. It’s a low cost-effective methods to distribute rich media content for purposes of say Broadcast location-based coupons, Contextual advertising, Localized information, Gaming and music.

The Business model is fairly simple. They’ll say to advertisers, listen we have x amount of people signed up for this service and here’s a clue into their behaviours and wants, now if you want to reach them, here’s how much it’s going to cost. 

This is an idea and a business model that’s popular, but will it work in Jamaica?

 The Market Premise

The surveys that came back on this for me said 10-15% of Jamaican mobile users have Bluetooth enabled phones. That is 10-15% of a potential 1.8 million people which is about 200,000 and of that potential market, how many fit the profile of being interested in such a service. Will it be enough of a lucrative niche to make this grow into a viable business? Are they targeting a specific demographic? Seems not, as from their email ad, they are casting a very broad net to see what catches they make.

The Email ad

They didn’t do a very good job of selling the benefits in a detailed, pithy and exciting way. So let’s see what other tools and technique they use from here on in.

Bluetooth Security

This entire business is based on the premise that people will be ok with keeping their Bluetooth feature on and not hide it as so many already do. They hide it primarily because it’s a not a feature they use daily and secondly even though many may not know leaving your Bluetooth feature on can leave your phone information exposed, and it sucks your phone’s battery life.

So what are the odds of this business succeeding ** ½ out of 5.

What do you think?

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 FYI: What is Bluetooth and how does it work?

Bluetooth was designed to be the basis of the Personal Area Network (PAN) – a way for devices within relatively close proximity to communicate wirelessly with one another. The range for Bluetooth transmissions varies from about 1 meter up to 100 meters, depending on the power class of the device. In fact, the most powerful (Class 1) can communicate over a distance of more than 300 feet, similar to a typical wi-fi network.

Why does Bluetooth Security Matter?

The special concern regarding the security of Bluetooth mobile phones is that phones may have information stored on them such as the addresses and phone numbers of contacts, calendar information and other PDA-type data. Hacking into these phones using Bluetooth is called bluesnarfing. Newer mobile phones and software upgrades for older phones can patch this vulnerability.

Additionally, Bluetooth devices can also be targets of Denial of Service (DoS) attacks, typically by bombarding the device with requests to the point that it causes the battery to degrade. Plus, there are “cell phone worms” such as Cabir that can use the Bluetooth technology to propagate. Cabir targets phones that use the Simbian OS. ( Nokia, Sony Ericcson, Motorola)


  • I can’t comment on the business model because I don’t know what it is. I do know that this company,, did the same thing when I was at the last Ad:tech in Miami and I never got a single message because bluetooth was OFF on my Blackberry the whole day.

    Separately, Bluetooth is not the same as SMS marketing. SMS is great for Jamaica, especially because it is usually opt in. I ran one of the first SMS opt-in advertising services for parties in Jamaica 5 years ago and it worked great for the parties and our sponsorship of Reggae Sumfest.

    In the same way, this HAS to be permission-based marketing and while you give companies the benefit of the doubt, my experience in both the Caribbean and the USA is that all companies are not created equal – don’t assume that they did their research, more often than not, startups don’t seem to do enough of that.

    Lastly, even the promoters will demand stats that allow them to decide if it was worthwhile. When they radio ads, they check on the ads. It will be no different for bluethooth. Limiting your customer base to such a narrow group would also be very dangerous. You have to have a diverse base of clients to reduce the risk of a paradigm shift in an industry that destroys your customer base.

    Would you want to be the record pressing plant in the USA that only supplied record labels when CDs were invented?

  • I tend to disagree with you guys, the Business Model is good for Jamaica. Just bad Timing. SMS is the future as long as it is done properly. I am sure this company would have done their research in terms of Spamming and Tracking.

    But if the company finds that over 50% of 200,000 bluetooth users(age 18-25, love entertainment) located in the Kingston and St. Andrew area alone then the company could be a success if they focus on promoter advertisers.

  • Arvel Grant

    I agree with David fully but let’s say they get past the obvious roadblocks at points B & C. I would be interested to hear how they plan to go about promoting the service and how people would sign up for it? It would have to be opt-in otherwise it would just be mobile spam but I personally would need a whole lot of convincing to register for a service that is just gonna show me advertisements.If they get past points B & C there’s obvious value for the advertisers but where’s the value for the consumer? I’m already bombarded by ads everywhere and on everything so I need to gain some value from subjecting myself to more people competing for my attention and money.

  • I have seen similar promotions and I am skeptical for three reasons:

    (1) I don’t keep bluetooth turned on at all times on my phone, only when I want to use it (like ‘discovering’ a new device that I want to share something with).

    (2) I have no intention of keeping it on because I don’t want spam on my phone like what I get in email. The world is trying to get AWAY from interruptive marketing and move towards conversational marketing.

    People don’t like SMS spam so why would they like bluetooth spam? It will have to be an opt-in program.

    (3) Advertisers and marketers most care about reach that you can prove. I assume that the company will have a way to prove that 10,000 people got my message that I paid to broadcast, otherwise I am merely paying to broadcast a message and don’t know how many people it actually reached.

    As a potential advertiser, I would need to know 3 things:
    (a) How many people can I reach and what are their demographics?
    (b) How many people did I reach?
    (c) How many who I reached were converted? (The advertiser has to track that based on redemptions of coupons, etc.)

    If B cannot be answered, C is impossible, which then makes calculating ROI from a marketing standpoint impossible.

    Let’s see where it goes.