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Questions (answered) over the Millionaire Walkway game

who wants to be a millionaire

who wants to be a millionaire
Originally uploaded by ew4n.

[Update: Njar (see comment) has set us straight: The 07 number simply receives the traffic. The user is sent back a message from a shortcode before being billed the £1 — as is right and proper.]

I had this sent in this anonymous analysis of the Who Wants To Be A Millionaire premium text competition which invites users to text their answers to a ‘long number’ — a standard looking mobile number. They’re then whacked for a £1 billing message by return.

Not good. Not good at all. When anyone sees a long number, they automatically think it’s ‘free’ or ‘standard network rate’.

Have a read of this viewpoint:

I had to endure who wants to be a millionaire the other night, and at an advert break they said if you know the answer to this question, send a text to 07797 808900, in very small print it said ‘texts cost a pound, and you could win a grand.’

This woke me up as I’m sure revenue share on the 07 number range was outlawed by Oftel a few years ago, thus how do you charge a pound on the 07 number range? My first thought was that it was on a fixed fee number – not so! It is a fixed fee per call number run by Jersey Telecom, but 30P a call daytime. More info here — just enter the number.

Doing a Google shows that it is a apparently a reverse premium rate SMS scam, send your message and you will then get a reply from a short code that costs you a quid – very naughty.

Check out the Millionaire competition page and their rules and conditions at the bottom of the page.

Looks like the service is/was provided by Yoomedia who apparently, according to seemingly well informed ‘davidt’ on this discussion board forum will make ‘£10m post tax’ from the Walkway game alone.

Thoughts?

[Update: See Njar’s comment response here – all is cleared up.]

By Ewan

Ewan is Founder and Editor of Mobile Industry Review. He writes about a wide variety of industry issues and is usually active on Twitter most days. You can read more about him or reach him with these details.

5 replies on “Questions (answered) over the Millionaire Walkway game”

Too much misinformation in the wrong hands is a bad thing.

> This woke me up as I’m sure revenue share on the 07 number range was outlawed by Oftel a few years ago, thus how do you charge a pound on the 07 number range? My first thought was that it was on a fixed fee number – not so! It is a fixed fee per call number run by Jersey Telecom, but 30P a call daytime. More info here — just enter the number.

If your informer had texted in, they would have received back a message from a shortcode (that would have billed them). This is how the monetisation works.

> Doing a Google shows that it is a apparently a reverse premium rate SMS scam, send your message and you will then get a reply from a short code that costs you a quid – very naughty.

How is this is a ‘SCAM’. The fact that the entire show is based 100% around premium revenues would be a good give away that this may be a premium service, if the extremely clear pricing hadn’t already informed the user. Additionally there’s no doubt that Celador will possess the correct carrier and ICSTIS permissions for this service.

The long number is only used to facilitate a greater inbound volume of SMS than shortcodes could. Yoomedia acquired a company called Whoosh who used Jersey Telecom virtual numbers. Theoretically the long number can receive up to about 1000 SMS/second vs half to a third of that on a cross network shortcode. (ironically you couldn’t when this service started send back billed SMS at anywhere near this rate).

Despite my bleating, nowadays this could and probably should be run on a shortcode. Not least of all because WWTBM’s volumes have dropped right off – apparently it’s now much easier to call the line and get on the show than ever before, and has anyone else noticed the questions have got harder?

Shame on you Ewan for posting such an outrageous load of incendiary tosh!! 😉

If this was a subscription service then there is an industry guideline from the Operators requiring a voiceover to explain in very specific wording the costings, etc of the service (it also has specific specs for size and colour of the displayed information). But that requirement seems to be specifically for subscription and not necessarily for a one-off competition entry. But if the service provider followed the spirit of the various guidelines rather than the strict wording then they would surely see that this should also apply to one-off competition entries too.

If all they are doing is presenting the costing info in a small font at the bottom of the screen then one could argue that this is insufficient and a user would be within their rights to complain that due to poor eyesite they did not see the message (especially when combined with a virtual number that is not always associated in the public’s mind with premium services) – hence the reason for both a display and voiceover when it is a subscription service.

I don’t watch the show so not sure if there is a voiceover or if the font used for the display info is big/clear enough???

steve procter
http://www.itaggsolutions.com

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