Bid2Win India – I don’t think so!

This one’s going to be a rant where I blast the heck out of this TV program called Bid2Win.

The Concept
You watch this TV program where TV stars come on anBid2Win Indiad tell you about this latest object of desire – the latest gizmo, gadget, device or whatever that you really, really want. What you’ve got to do is bid for the lowest price on the gadget by sending them SMS messages. You can thus (allegedly) “win” this really expensive device for literally peanuts.

The hosts urge you to to SMS whatever price you think will “win”. They insist that the more you SMS, the more your chances of “winning”.

How all this is supposed to work is that a whole lot of people out of the viewership of the program SMS repeatedly into the program’s SMS number, the minimum price they think will bid for the particular product. The hosts suggest that you should SMS the coolest price – only the “coolest” price will win. This cannot factually be true; the actual winning bid is the minimum price that a single person bid. The on-screen graphics that run during the program display this story well enough; they repeatedly display what the number of prices that have not been SMSed below a certain minimum price by viewers.

The viewers try to guess what numbers have not been SMSed. The program lets you bid for a 24 hour period, the time difference between the two shows. Bid2Win then displays  yesterday’s winner in the program.

The program talks about you sending SMS messages repeatedly for each bid. Alternatively you can use your telephone to call the Bid2Win number where their IVR system will pick up and you can put your bids in.

What they don’t stress on, enough (and should):

  • Each SMS you send them is going to cost your Rs. 10/-

  • Each minute you spend trying to figure out how to use, and then actually end up putting your bids in is going to be charged at Rs.6/- per minute.

What they don’t tell you:

  • Sending of SMS messages only works with Airtel mobile phones.

  • I think the call-in number will also only work with Airtel mobile phones as well.
  • The number of wins that are possible. From what they seem to say, I think there is only, I repeat, ONLY one such device to be one, because they’re visibly announcing only one winner.

How they make their money:

Size of viewership who actually send them SMS messages, cumulatively MULTIPLIED by the number of SMS messages MULTIPLIED by 10


Size of viewership who actually use their IVR system MULTIPLIED by the number of minutes they use the system, cumulatively MULTIPLIED by 6

And this is done, daily.

Now can anyone guess the approximate viewership that this kind of program has, daily? I’m sure it is in the scale of figures where the number of digits really look insane.

So you thought you were getting that yummy, scrunchy must-have, brand new gadget/device/gizmo for cheap? Easily?

Think again.

Cost of average device that is displayed? Under a lakh of Rupees? Typically under 50 thousand.

Considering every combination for under Rs. ten, then you have 10 + 10 * 99 combinations. That’s 1000 combinations for a sure shot “chance” to win. At Rs.10 per SMS, that’s Rs. 10,000/- to make it a very costly chance, I’d say.

Because you’re one person in millions watching. Which lowers the chance of you “winning” anything signifcantly.

I’d put up the concept right up there with gambling on a roulette table in a casino in Las Vegas. The house always wins. No matter what you do, remember this in any gambling scenario – the house always wins. All gambling games are designed that way, including Bid2Win.

The people behind Bid2Win: From some initial research it turns out that Bid2Win is one of the most successful programs in UK and has been repackaged to suit India.

The same company that started Bid2Win in the UK, continues to power monetization using mobile (and other new) media in all it’s forms. The company’s name is Cellcast and admittedly they do claim to be at this for a long time, 1998.

And I’ll be surprised if their offerings works well in India as well. They have the know how and the experience, they just need to adapt it to the Indian market, which they seem to be doing well.

My Point?
My whole point with writing all this is that looking at where we’re headed with all this on public television really upsets me. Looking at it from my viewpoint I feel they are actually fooling the audience into spending gigantic amounts of money on a particularly small service being offered. All with the detailed organization and power of an MNC who knows the game inside out. Getting the end consumer hooked into thinking that they are spending less while they’re actually “bidding” to get something that isn’t really worth the effort and the pain that viewers go through.

Above all it’s such a crass way of doing it. Look at another program that my family seems to be addicted to: Sa Re Ga Ma Pa: Ek duje ke liye. This particular program has it’s singing contestants come on to stage and literally plead with the audience to vote for them by sending SMS messages as detailed. And they have more network operators support than just Airtel, which means many more participating viewers, which means much more money for them.

And then companies like CellCast go ahead and coin new terms like Participation TV for something that’s been around for a very long time: How to make money selling something in a win-lose situation.

My simple advice to all the people who don’t understand any of this and are just curious about participating on these shows:


60 thoughts on “Bid2Win India – I don’t think so!”

  1. I have noticed, that whoever has commented, has not won the product, and that is why such negative feedback.

    Well, I had bid a product – Compaq Presario C301TU and won. They sent me a sms informing the same, and within 2 weeks, some papers came to be filled, and I did it with the draft and all ….

    Anyway, the only bad thing about this process, is the delivery time. It took them 70 days to get the product delivered to me. But, who cares, I got a Laptop worth 35K for under a buck, and I sold it off for 32K in the market.

    In brief, this is a gamble, you do not win all the time, and if you are lucky you may win. If this was to be banned, then why not horse racing, casinos in goa, or even playwin.

  2. hello
    myself shailesh rathod from gujarat, i inform you all that, a tv show
    on india televison, are a fraud its name is BID2WIN yes i played it
    23rd jan2007 for the products of sony ericsson model p990i hhere my low
    and unique bid is (6.30,7.40,7.90,7.80) and these record i filed and
    also these figure also record on bid2win show, but night 23rd 2007 jan.
    in show are announced to another winner for bid 15.20 low and unique as
    per show how it is possible where my bid (4) unique and low i have all
    proof and contect to customer care then they reply me, WE INVESTIGATE
    AND CONTECT REVERT BACK, but till date we have not recived any reply or
    call from the teem of BID2WIN / CUSTOMERCARE, I GIVE HIM 5TH REMINDER
    i want take legal action agaist these show i have compleate proof in hard copy ………………………….

    shailesh rathod ( [email protected])

  3. dhiraj i completely agree with u i now i have done lots of sms for other programs but till date i dint even 1 . so i think that its all about making money by fooling people who no who is keeping track of all this who is the actual winner this all is done by the insiders only .s o i please requets all others to stop voiting for all its a shear waste of ur money. u can see it in sa ra gama lil champ also .i dont belive all this .

  4. Tch Tch. Guys, guys.

    Let’s keep the language under control here. Don’t want this to get out of the PG category and start moving towards A even.

    I’ll be forced to delete comments otherwise, please keep abuses under control.


  6. To all those who hope to bid and win there is only small statement to make, “Nothing comes free” Abstain from such things the wisest thing to do.

  7. there are a billion no. of ppl who have mobiles out out which just take a minimum of 1 million people r glued to the programme so ur chances of winning r 1 in a million.
    thanks 4 ur valuable info .
    if u want the gizmos or gadgets brother u got 2
    earn it then only u will deserve it .

  8. I agree with you Dheeraj. I have round 10 messages sent .Every time I recieved that status of the bid will be sent soon. I tried to block a few of the bids but till date I never received any status. Its simply making money through SMS by the show.
    I suggest the viewers not to encourage at least these types of shows.

  9. Totally agreed to you. They are really making money by showing you the dream. its all about making mony and fooling a common man like me and you.

  10. I totally agree with you. I remember one old show which used to do the same trick of looting money from viewers, the great KBC. StarPlus earned hundreds of crores. The premium rates, 6 Rs per minute were the means. India was mad and everybody use to call KBC to answer some stupid questions to participate in the show. We think that 6 Rs is not much, but when masses participate it becomes lakhs, crores, hundreds of crores. Basu, the mastermind of KBC cleanly sweeped money from Indian pockets. At the end some fools won crores and whole nation lauds at them. Holy crap. Contesting through SMS is more sinful than gambling. And one more advice please dont participate in pollings too. Indian idol 1, 2, Nach balliye, Sa re ga ma pa 1 2 3 4 …. n etc here too the Service Providers are earning crores from SMSes. Money money, easy way the rich to become richer is looting from innocent/foolish people. Bottomline: Put your paid SMS to good use. And stop participating in this traps.

  11. Dear Sir,
    No one can stop his/herself to comment on this post. so here is one from me. “Great Post”. Since this is more about SMS and Math behind the show, I would like to bring your attention towards the “Hindi” News channels (English I did not mention because I don’t watch them). Please watch StarNews or Zee News whenever you want to laugh and go mad. E.g. there was a breaking News ” Khadde mein Prince” on Zee News, then “Kanhaa jaay maa” on AajTak then recently I watched (don’t remember the channel name and actual headline) news.. Some kashmiri terrorist was sentenced to death by some court and the news channel was asking the viewer to send SMS and give their opinions whether the terrorist should be hanged or not? I have full sympathy with the terrorist, but I can not expect “money making show” from a “News Channel” on a serious issue of someone’s life or death. I salute to those SMSers how send SMS(s) without “thinking” anything.

  12. Correctly stated, the question is how this message can be communicated to the rural and urban masses as the literacy levels are low.
    since we know that they are prone to these media worms. the great effort would be if we ourself create a word of mouth for this ASAP.

  13. Guys,This BidToWin is now in Airtellive portal cast in all GPRS enable mobiles.These telecom operators generate millions and pay vitually nothing.Its like fooling a big mass and steel money from innocents.

  14. Iqbal also mailed me. It seems Airtel *does* send out your bid is no longer unique emails.

    Hmmm…… I’d still attribute it to a buggy SMS system rather than allege that Bid2Win is also lying about it’s winners.

    Of course, anything is possible in showbiz and TV, as they say. Do investigate by calling them up if you feel it necessary to waste more time and money after a stupid contest.

  15. Ummm…… ok. This probably happened this way (if Bid2Win is actually fully legit, that is):

    You put in your bid for 37.58, which was unique. But *later* someone put in a bid for that same number and Bid2Win didn’t tell you (they could have SMSed you, but this would cost them money).

    This same thing went on happening until the number 61.81 which was the lowest until the contest for that particular item closed.

    Do keep in mind that they don’t disclose which numbers bid on what price. They probably don’t have a way to do so, anyway.

    This leaves all non-winning (99.999999% of all participants, considering that there’s only 1 winner) members feeling cheated. This may or not be true, of course, just my guesswork and a little probability theory.

  16. on 16 th september 2006, the product was N91. i send a bid of Rs. 37.58 and messege recieved by me is that “oops – your bid of 37.58 is unique”. If any other person send the same bid then messege from your end was sended to me that” your bid is no longer unique” but there is no such message is recieved by me and the winner is any other person whose bid rate is Rs. 61.81 . but my bid rate is low then 61.81 . I
    want to know about all these.

  17. i Dont know what these people are doing coz i gave a bid of Rs. 18.79 and i got a message that this bid is not placed by anyone else but this is not the lowest one. and when i saw the result the result was Rs 46.06 either they dont know Maths or they are making fool of us.

  18. Well you said right these people are just fooling the viewers cause i had a bid of Rs.46.06 in the 7 September’s episode for nokia N91 but then also they gave the name of a women from delhi of the same bid amount as mine as the winner.So i advice you all the peoples who are reading my comments that you should never bid in this competition cause its not competition but its simply like you are playing games in a casino.It’s simply thae wastage of maoney,brain and time which is the most precious thing in our life.So dont waste your time and monry in bidding or seeing this kind of games which are simply like gambling.

  19. Well said…. I never tried these types of game shows. One should understand that Nothing in this world can be easily gettable. So work hard and spent penny on what is right and where your money is safe.

  20. What you have said all about BID2WIn is absolutely true. Thankz Dhiraj for tracing things out and explaining us and giving us a chance to speak in a forum like this.

  21. I had never tried this stupid thing because i know there is some game behind this because one thing is that if to get n-91 or any other product just @ some low amt. of bidding than no one can go to buy n-91 or other product frm. market
    Thank u Dhiraj for giving us chance to speak against that.

  22. buddy thanks a lot for this eye opener…i was really waiting for this show to join other operators to take active participation…as i have a hutch connection…fortunately i read this article n didin’t waste my hard earned money on this stupid show…which is jst making fool out of people like us…who r gizmo freaks,who would love to get a hand on them for a few rs.less and would literally do any thing for it… thanks to Dheeraj boss again…

  23. Thanks for the great info Dhiraj… before I read your message… I have already sent 15 bids… costing me 150/- without any result…

  24. Did you know that this program shows *simultaneously* on 2 different channels! ! ! Both Zee and Sony show it at the same time.

    They really want to get the end victim in this, don’t they?

  25. dear, i agree with you,
    agar logo main jara bhi akkal hogi to clear samajh sakte hai ki airtell apne customer ko bevkoof bana rahi hai, kyoki woh kabhi nahi bata’ te ki aap kis position per ho aur tip sms karo 6644per to bhi tip nahi milti, woh apne hi actors/staff ko winner show karte hai kisne dekha hai? ki winner aam aadmi hai! 30,000 ki chis 3 crore me bech rahe hai. kbc ke baad ab bid 2 win ki baari hai.

  26. I agree too. But the best way to play safe and bid is bid just 3times a product and sms after as the system informs you of your bid status.
    well one things for sure, if you can win a product by spending 3 x 10 = Rs 30 for say 10 days Rs 300, it’s worth every penny of it.

  27. I agree with u dhiraj…viewers should not participate in such game shows…instead of this they can buy the products in the traditional manner…like the majority number of people…

  28. I agree to what you described! It’s yet another gameshow that mints money via SMS and nothing else. No matter even you send thousands of SMS or Unique Bids(that’s what they claim to be lowest and unique) you won’t win the product. My sympathies with those people who waste thousands of rupees by sending SMS’s to these guys. I seriously wish that media should cover the same and these guys should be penalised with heavy charges for fooling around people and playing with their sentiments.
    Thanks a lot Dhiraj for covering this topic in your blog!.

  29. Ouch!

    My sympathies. My rant on Bid2Win is especially for you people.

    Please, please, realize that the only way you can win in this (if at all) is if you send *literally* thousands of SMS messages, or if you are prescient.

  30. Its a gimmick that both the broadcasters & telecom operators, play with viewer and make him pay. This is typical case of pay per view.

    These dont run for long, as sooner or later, people would realise, but it would be enough time for broadcasters, producers & telecom operators to become rich. Its all about being opportunistic, after all, India is supposed to be a young nation with around 52% around the age group of 18 to 35

  31. this game cannot be trusted,i played and had around six unique bid but by the time the result was announced a person with a higher bid then any of mine won(keep in mind the person with the LOWEST and unique bid wins),they didnt inform me if and when my bids were beaten…so my advise is dont waste your money on this you wont win coz there’s something fishy going on.

  32. Its a gimmick that both the broadcasters & telecom operators, play with viewer and make him pay. This is typical case of pay per view.

    These dont run for long, as sooner or later, people would realise, but it would be enough time for broadcasters, producers & telecom operators to become rich. Its all about being opportunistic, after all, India is supposed to be a young nation with around 52% around the age group of 18 to 35

  33. abey sab bhaad mein jao. kuch nahin hone wala is sab se. these are all stunts of airtel and mncs to make fool of people

  34. its abslutly right……….. I m also agree with you…. bt the people
    cant try to understand….

  35. In my opinion, its a revenue model that they have and they would not survive if they don’t make money.
    Also, they would not pressurise anybody for sending sms or bidding. Its optional.

    They cannot deisgn a system thats biased or is unfavourable to some.

  36. Sahi Mah yah logh baxakuf bana raha hai mah ekh hafta sa try kar raha ho
    internet mah register karna ka lakin bid2win mah register hi nahi hota hai
    wahai agar mobile sa karo to ekh bar mah hojata hai chor hai sala sabh

  37. well i did and interesting experiment
    i sent all numbers , bids starting from 00.00 to 11.99 . that is 1200 numbers ..
    but lost . that means i sent all the numbers between 00.00 to 11.99 and any one who wins had to be above that . But the winner was 5.13 .. how come ? ?

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