back to article Gadget Show competition spews text spam

Gadget Show viewers were bombarded with text messages costing £1.50 each this week as the Five show's competition system went berserk. One Reg reader received 39 replies after entering the competiton, at a total cost of £58.50. A Five spokeswoman said prize draw entrants affected by the snafu would get their money back and …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. dervheid

    Caution! Bandwagon Alert!

    I can just hear the cries of "Sack the fucking lot of em" beginning.....Now.

  2. Bill Cumming

    Lucky me...?

    The first time in ages i've not entered that dam comp and it goes crazy! :D

    They can make it up to us by sending pics of Suzi in that leather catsuit they had her in a few weeks ago :D

    Mine's the coat with the overdue Mobile bill in the pocket....

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Serves the greedy right....

    ....... sheer greed wanting all those gadgets! Hope they don't get their money back.

    Paris - coz she used the same gadgets as Suzy did to sing in tune!

  4. mittfh


    I'm a regular viewer of The Gadget Show, but have never entered their competitions...

    The question they ask is usually very difficult to get wrong [1], so I reckon the average viewer has a chance of one in a few thousand (and that's being optimistic!) of winning the truckload of gadgets...

    No prizes for guessing how they can afford to give away such a large prize fund each week - yup, the money donated by people hoping to beat the odds. Do they publish statistics on the average number of entrants?

    And given the duplication of prizes (e.g. all gadgets in a comparative review), how many end up on ebay within a week or two of being delivered?

    [1] Remember the days when viewer competitions were competitions, rather than expensive prize draws?

  5. tony72
    Paris Hilton


    I'm confused/thick/clueless. You bombard me with texts, it costs you, not me, no? Explain please.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Gadget show isn't what it used to be

    What have we had recently - reviews of food mixers and folding bicycles?? Wtf?? Also Jason Bradbury is going from mildly amusing to outright annoying as every series he gets louder and (in his mind) wackier. Unfortunately he's not nearly as amusing as he seems to think he is. As for those daft challenges *yawn*. Ok , they had some interesting sections on robotics recently but thats about it as far as cutting edge techno goes this season.

  7. Colin MacLean
    Thumb Down

    One prog best recorded

    Usually record this show. Works great with my PVR's 2-minute forward skip button as Five's ad breaks last 4 minutes and the phone-in comp segment 2 minutes.

    Given the crap challenges (testing product X still works after being run over by a tank), I can view the whole show in around 10 minutes.

    The one redeeming feature is the older chap with the bushy eyebrows who sometimes presents a useful product test.

    Although the "older chap" is probably really younger than the baldy.

  8. Elmer Phud


    The odds of winning on the Gadget Show comp are far better than winning the lottery on a single ticket. Lazy, good-for-nothing people who idly sit in front of their tellys(tellies, telly's) can just whip out the mobe and enter. So far, I've still never won anything but feel slightly smug in that my chances of losing were also a lot less than if I'd bought a lottery ticket (and you don't get any Suzi Perry with the Lotto). Like one or two others I'd not entered the comp this week but as I'm a PAYG skinflint it wouldn't have hurt too much anyway.

  9. James
    Thumb Up


    These revenue generating schemes are *not* competitions they are raffles. One day someone will force them to be called what they really are. If the lottery is a tax on the stupid then these TV raffles are a tax on the retarded. Those who got multiple txts are getting their just deserts. I'm just peed off at having to hear them plug the stupid things every 15 mins- makes for very tedious viewing.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RE: Eh?

    Thats the great thing about premium text messages, companies can send you as many messages as they like and charge whatever they want without your permission. I have had spam text messages in the past and been charged £1.50 each for the privilege. Dont expect your mobile provider to help either all they can do is give you the number the messages were sent from you have to then go round in circles in various call centers to track down the company that sent the messages. if you are lucky you might get a cheque back in a month or two

  11. George


    Please tell as an enlightened reader of El Reg you know how the oversubscribed competition line scams work?

    Basically raffle loads of tat (apparently worth £000,000s but really acquired at cost or gratis), then ask a stupidly easy question so millions enter at around £1.50 a pop, you make money, operator makes money everyone happy. Then icing on the cake...send advertising back to users also charging them for the priveledge. If people get uppity offer to give some nominal money from each call (be careful not to say texts) to a charity.

    It's rare these days that you find a win-win situation but this is one of those times.

    Ofcom and the others should really be looking at this a bit more and shock horror, together.

    Aaaah ha, the jolly roger sails the airwaves these days.

  12. Mike Crawshaw

    @ tony72 "Eh?"

    It's called reverse-billing. Used in a lot of things delivered by text, such as ringtones, wallpapers, fonts, games, pretend-girlfriends etc. You opt-in, usually by sending a "yes please" text of some sort, and that is your agreement to pay for texts you receive back.

    (Notoriously unstable, and oft-abused by unscrupulous merchants such as TV stations.)

  13. Mike


    It's called "reverse billing" and is currently the most prolific mobile payment scheme, made infamous by Crazy Frog / Jamster. There have been attempts to replace it with a wap-based system called payforit, but it's overly complex and hence nowhere near as popular. Besides, all the mobile grot is deeply ingrained in the SMS method and we all know what really drives technology these days.

    There are *supposed* to be all sorts of audit trails around your original payment request and the subsequent reverse-billed messages, and the telcos are quick to slap yellow and red cards on repeat offenders. However, unitl recently, this didn't stop fly-by-night outfits spamming out thousands of reverse-billed messages and reaping the rewards. Ofcom introduced a 30-day payment delay to try and prevent this situation.

    Cliff notes:

    A (reputable) company can send you messages that you'll be billed for, but not unless they can prove you asked them to.

  14. Jason "Foxdie" Gaunt

    Premium rate texts

    @tony72 The way premium text services work is you send a text message to them at your normal cost (most of the time), and then any text message they send back to you costs a premium, sort of like a reverse charge premium rate phone call.

  15. Jason "Foxdie" Gaunt
    Thumb Up

    Jon Bentley

    Have personally met Jon Bentley (the silver haired presenter) walking up Adams Lane in Clent, he was listening to an 80's walkman with those stereotypical headphones on, he stopped to chat briefly, very nice guy.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Get rid of Dallas

    Personally I think they should get rid of Dallas, I find him completely unfunny and he has a face that scares children

    But I love the banter between Jason and Suzi

  17. Anonymous Coward

    Wake me up when the gadget show

    gets some actual gadgets and a presenter who actually knows how to use them (Please sack the bald guy he's just annoying and seems to know about as much abouts gadgets as Suzi).

    An example of this is the broadband fair use campaign - what major website/mag hasn't covered this a year ago.

    If it wasn't for Suzi I certainly would never watch it.

    Tux icon - Why do they never cover Linux gadgets???

  18. Anonymous Coward

    Gadget Show = horrible.

    I love my tech, but I totally hate the Gadget show, every thing about it sucks badly (not just the text spam).

    They review things in an arbitery manner "this one broke, but it's got a pink case, to 5G rating", this one did what it said, but only comes it black, 2G".

    I hate how that bald dickhead is constantly wanking off about his iPhone and trying his luck what that bird from MotoGP reporting.

    I hate how they have the pointless campaigns like broadband speeds and now broadband fair use.

  19. Jim


    I find the endless raffles on TV boring, and I am irritated by the way they are called "competitions" to get around the licensing laws. I would rather pay more license fee and have no raffles. But I guess they are fun for people who enter them, so where's the harm.

    I like all presenters espcially the "bald guy". I am not really interested in gadgets but he is amusing. Not sure about Dallas, he os ok but seems out of place.

  20. Scott
    Thumb Down

    Love gadgets...

    ...hate the show.

    I've watch two fairly recently and despite the snazzy stuff and surprisingly abundant prizes I can't stand to watch due to the presenters.

    I can't afford anything they show either! One I watch a little while back had a telly for £3000ish. Don't I get exactly the same programmes on my existing telly? No point in HD either if your eyesight isn't up to much, like mine.

  21. John

    T-shirt far too young for his age

    All my t-shirts are younger than me... is this a problem

    I'll get my afghan

  22. Andy ORourke

    Easy way to get your money back

    Simply send a text with the words please give me my money back to (insert premium rate text number here)

  23. Steve
    Thumb Up

    Serves em right

    Who goes to Channel 5 for tech news anyway when we have El Reg?

    Ok El Reg don't do video reviews, ...yet? Until they do I'll stick with Revision3.

  24. Anonymous Coward

    Ahhh Suzie..

    They could bill me as much as they like if they show Suze in (or out of) that catsuit again.

    I love the Gadget Show purely because it's so laughable (although to be fair, it's improved a lot) and craptacular. Sure, any geek worth their salt isn't going to use it as serious gadget-porn, but it's a good laugh, and there are occasional explosions.

    The best part of the programme is me and the wife calling shots on who Suze would prefer, then making up with a bout of sapphic wrestling. Jobs a good 'un, and eventually we may get to see Dallas getting injured out in the field or something.

    Vive la Gadget Show!

    Geekette, who drools at the competition haul, but is wise enough not to enter these things.

  25. Dave The Cardboard Box

    Channel 5?

    Is there such a thing? The airwaves can only hold so much information before they fall to earth and flop about like a Glaswegian man on incapacity benefit.

  26. Barry

    Not 'tech' enough for my liking

    I like TGS, but, it also winds me right up.

    The moment I hear, "so we tested it to destruction", I turn over. I've never yet had something broken because I *accidentally* tied it to the back of quad-bike, and drove around the volcanic beaches of Iceland. So, I'm not sure why testing products like that is relevant.

    ditto blowing up gadgets that claim to be 'rugged'.

    Also, their test criteria is sadly lacking.

    eg. last Monday's net-enabled stereos. No mention made of why they dumped certain brands for "not looking cool enough" (my Radiostation was one - which is amazing, btw, although I have the iPod enabled version). Jason made reference to how important the sound quality was, and then tested different tunes, with no reference to whether they were DAB/streamed/etc, or what the bitrate was. Needless to say, my list of gripes goes on. Yet, I still watch.

    Don't get me started on when they test 'mountain bikes' (or anything remotely cycle-related). As a keen MTB'er I find those episodes the hardest of all to watch.

    And, for the love of all things good and great, stop giving away all your fecking prizes in one big hit. Ok, so it means that some lucky fecker is a *real* lucky fecker. But, why not just make it one per person? Like some kind of lucky-dip?

    Mind you, that Suzi Perry... She's a year older than me, and yet I still would.

  27. Anonymous Coward

    .....Suzi Perry.....get your feckin' eyes tested!!

    I'd rather pork-sword a switched-on blender .

    And... Oi! El Rego! Why isn't there a puke-bag icon?

    Actually, I think puke-bag is more apposite regarding Suzi's so-called attraction.

    It's pointless suggesting those that do fancy her get their eyes tested as they've succumbed to the crows from Fr Ted! .

  28. Noel Coward

    Too loud.

    Whilst watching TV I generally have to turn the volume down when the ads come on as they are twice as loud as the show I am watching.

    Why is it that this is the other way around with the gadget show?

  29. PaddyR

    @Ahhh Suzie..

    can you expand on the sapphic wrestling please.

    i'm watching the repeat, should i enter the competition.

    I'm glad its NOT the one with her in a catsuit, I just had my dinner.

  30. Anonymous Coward

    A Case of the Cobbler’s Shoes?

    Isn’t it interesting that the shows supposed to be about technology (The Gadget Show, Click etc) always seem to have the poorest picture quality and lowest technical standards. Watching a review of HD TVs on The Gadget Show a few weeks back was comical when you can flick from their output to C4 or BBC HD. I guess their in house telecoms support is on a similar level.

    Then again, it does have Suzi Perry. Glasses icon, because someone at channel five needs them.

  31. Badg3r
    Paris Hilton

    Tech reviews

    I use Gizmodo or Engadget for the stuff I can't find here, if it's video reviews you want try shinyshiny ladies reviewing tech.

  32. Matt Devney
    Thumb Down

    back to the point, almost

    I once sent off for a FREE U2 ringtone via a service message received on my phone. The message was from orange and said "text STOP to 88888 (or some such) at any time to prevent reverse billing"

    So I thought, fine, I'll get the ringtone and immediately text stop to prevent them charging me. I sent the message. I got the ringtone (not bad actually, but would never need to do this nowadays). Then, I started to write the 'STOP' message. Whilst doing this (four letters plus hitting 'send'), I received another TEN advert messages costing me £1.50, before I finally sent my termination message.

    Needless to say, Orange got a very annoyed customer on their helpline after this and they refunded the cost of the texts, but only because "This service was offered by Orange". This meant that if it was a 3rd party I wouldn't have got my money back.

    Just a warning...

  33. Anonymous Coward


    The robotics articles in the Gadget Show are not even up to date, I've seen more interesting and newer robotics on the internet.

    Take their robot man suit for example, or their walking robots - there are much more advanced and more interesting robots on GooTube than those shown on the Gadget Show.

  34. mittfh

    Just wondering...

    What's the G rating of the G1? :)

    "This one sends you lots of reverse billed text messages from us, and if you try to unsubscribe it locks up your phone. 5 Gs as it makes us lots of money!"

    Sorry, couldn't resist... mines the one with an ordinary phone in the pocket, not subscribed to any service...ever!

This topic is closed for new posts.

Other stories you might like