Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Welcome !

Welcome to our blog dedicated to
show that MADBID is a scam !

This blog protocolls the latest news and updates to our struggle to bring one of the largest scam websites on the UK internet down.

We are database professionals in London who do data analysis and data mining as daily job.

A time ago we have set up a monitoring solution to monitor all publicly available activity on MadBid.

We protocolled all bids, usernames bidding, auction parameters and site failures in a Microsoft SQL Server database, around every 0.5 seconds, over a couple of days. The data is enough to give a precise picture on what happens on MadBid.

We also protocolled the timing of the auctions, which is key in understanding how MadBid scams and why we must WARN against it in the strongest terms.


After professional analyzing the data we found, here are the results of our findings.

1. General overview

MadBid.com is a penny auction website. Users, after registering, can start bidding on auctions of various articles like actual cell phones, cars etc.

Bidding costs roughly between 30p and 80p PER BID, but the user only has to pay if he loses the auction (of course this is the fact for the vast majority of all unsuccessful bidders).

Here is how the site explains this (website info taken from madbid.com on 06/03/2012:

Regular Auction: Every auction has a countdown timer, usually between 10 seconds and 1 minute. When the timer reaches zero, the highest bidder wins. If someone bids, the timer restarts. Bid increases are made by 1 penny at a time. You can bid by SMS (text message) from your UK mobile or through your MadBid Online Account. On winning you pay the closing auction price plus shipping & handling.

Please note: this says the highest bidder wins, not necessarily the last bidder or the current bidder !

This term "highest bidder" is crucial to understand the scam.

Now, when an auction is over, the winner has to pay the auctions price, which is substantially less than the items price. Example:

Camera, retail price 600 pound
MadBid price: 14.08 pound.
Price per bid: 0.80 pound.
winners bids: 10 a 0.80 pound = 8.00 pound
winner has to pay 14.08 minus 8.00 pound he already has paid in bids : his price to pay 6.08 pound.

Now, MadBid got 1408 bids paid with 0.80 each, so around 1100 pound.

And, most important, they can claim the the item was auctioned away with 14.08 pound. This is the most important point in understanding the MadBid scam.


2. Claims about "bots"

Of course, many people believe that MadBid uses bots, computer programs that would bid automatically on behalf of MadBid to keep an auction alive and to increase their already massive revenues from auctions.

We have found many things in the data that could be explained by "bots", but the findings are not conclusive. It is hard to prove it and this blog is about proving the scam. So, currently we do not have 100% hard evidence about the usage of bots by MadBid itself.

Of course a lot of people use automated bidding, which is also a build in feature of MadBid, but this is functional similar to manually klicking a lot of times on "Bid" when the auction is almost over.

We will post here if we can prove it. Please feel free to contact us on madbidisscam@gmail.com if you have information for us.


3.  How the scam works

Now here are the results of our analysis.

We carefully monitored a lot of MadBid auctions from cheap stuff to expensive things.

At the beginning of the auctions, this works as stated. You can bid and you are the current bidder. Shortly before the time is up and you would win, somebody else bids. All is fine.

If no other people bid, you win the auction as stated. On simple & cheap things everybody can win auctions since people do not bid on a silicon watch for 2 pound if they already have one.

Now, when it comes to auctions of more value, like cameras or cars, the game changes.

Of course, a lot of people bid for expensive stuff, especially when the price goes up, because the higher the auction price comes the more likely it seems to be the auction closes, so they think the higher is the chance to win.

Now, we have made a protocol of all auctions of substantial value people are bidding intense just before the auction closes. The timer will not reach zero.

MadBid states that an auction closes when somebody has bidded and no other bidder is bidding until the time is up. But the higher the price comes, the more intense is bidding activity !

This statement is clearly wrong in all bigger auctions. The auctions close NOT when no other people bid, because in reality auctions close during intense bidding.

We have hints that closing time is just randomly selected by the MadBid system, meaning that a bidder can NOT stop the clock ticking to zero by bidding when the time is up ! In fact we have hard data evidence that despite people bidding on the last seconds of an auction the auction clock ticks down to zero, deliberately selecting a winner.

There is no way you win a larger value auction by bidding, the winner is deliberately selected by the MadBid system.

The system will stop accepting bids and select a "winner".

There is a very very small chance that you are the deliberately selected "winner".

The primary hints that this is about to happen are:
  • the auction time slots go down from 30 sec to for example 5 sec
  • many different people are bidding almost to the same time shortly before the auction closes

We have hard evidence on many many auctions that bids are ignored by the system from a specific point in time, a few seconds before the winner is selected by MadBid and the auction closes.

Now, this could explain the phrase "the highest bidder" wins. If the MadBid system chooses to stop an auction, maybe the MadBid system selects the "highest bidder" in their list of recent bidders.

We have found no evidence how this list could be sorted hence who could be expected to be the "highest bidder".

Here are reasons for MadBid to stop an auction deliberately even if many people still bid.

a) The revenue is enough to pay the item auctioned and to have a big profit.

b) The main MadBid marketing tagline is the claim that stuff is auctioned away by around 85% under retail price. If they would let the auctions run they would not achieve this since people would continuously bid. It is thinkable that the auction price would even be near to the retail price if always new people start bidding - they have not paid much in bids so far and would get the item still under retail price.

c) The auctions would run a longer time. It is more interesting for people to participate in short auctions.



4.  Conclusion

If you find it funny to throw away your money on internet scams, use this one. MadBid is set up by very skilled people who not only understood how "normal minded" people are to be fooled, but they also do it on professional scale in many countries, running large advertisement campains. This scam is a money machine of epic size.

But do ***never*** expect to be able to auction an item like a car or iPhone or camera. There is no way for you to influence the outcome of the auction, you will not win and your money is lost.




5.  Comments and Emails received


Good evening,
Are you still looking for madbid victims, as I have been promised reimbursement, but yet to no avail  And have lost £743.


Hi I joined mad bid after reading a review from an online newspaper ,the journalist highly recommended it ,I shall check back in my history and track her down.

mad bid has cost me £94.52,still got some credits left. Not a happy bunny


Really enjoyed reading your article. I don't suppose you feel like running the same kind of testing on Bidideal too?
I'm absolutely convinced that the system closes off bidding when it's reached a certain point and selects winners!  How do we prove it?

Hiya
I don't know what came over me as I don't normally fall for this type of thing but thought I'd have a try.
I stayed up until 1 am trying to jump in on a couple of items I fancied
One seemed to go dead so I bid & it came up "checking" & I thought Hey I might have won here but the "checking" stayed up on screen for 10 seconds. 15 seconds 20 seconds & I thought.... My God... I've won here... 45 seconds passed & you've guessed it. Someone else bid
I logged in at 8.30 am this morning & the same old names kept popping up making me think that these are just "fantasy" bids.
Oh well I thought, I try for a restaurant voucher & won it for 1p & thought... That's OK but then when I came to claim it a whopping £6.99 P&P was added so all in all this has cost £7 plus my original £12.99. so that's £17.99 from 2 meals for say... 40 quid so halve that to 20 quid plus the £17.99 so have saved a massive £2.00
Have you also noticed that the owner are Indian or Pakistanis & the winner of the Mini for £11 is a Pakistani or Indian
Just wondered if he might be a relation?
This is not me being racist but just an observation
Cheers

Hello,
i joined mad bid .com yesterday 8/9/2013 under the name of (Removed by blog owner)  (user name ) i am not very clever on the internet, so when i was looking to but a phone i was told of a person in the street about mad bid and it sounded good, i joined and was told to buy credits to use, so i bought £50 threw my pay pal account there was an Samsung galaxy 3 for sale and the bid was very small when i joined in around £14 so i clicked to bid and as it went to £20 it said i did not have enough credits to use? i did think well hang on i bought £50 so not being so clever i put another £100 in case the price went up allot and i never had enough credits, when it got to £45 it said 1s again you do not have enough credits, so i dropped out of it. then when i looked at what they call my wallet it was on 00.00 and i thought were is my £150 i haven't bought anything only these so called “credits” what never got used because i did not win. i have been onto them today to customer services, and they said i do not have any money as i bid on the phone but when i kept saying but i did not win it so were is my money please he just kept saying you purchased credits with it and used them, when i said what on it was back to credits. i am so depressed over all this iv cried all day to think  i have been fooled like this i have been on to pay pal they did say they will look into it for me but i think i am on a loser here i have put all over my face book page to warn people about but hope it is not to late to get my £148 98 back. i am a 64 yr old and feel such a fool over all this.

Hello,

I was scammed by Madbid and lost £99.99 that I had paid thinking it was an auction site (after reading their publicity).
Can you advise on any action I can take, put me in touch with any action or legal group?
Thanks,

Like all ordinary human beings I failed to read all the small print and without my knowledge signed up to ‘rapid recharge’ whatever that was. Anyway I ordered and bought euro 118 of credits my account details confirmed this on their on line service. Alas my debit card was charged euro 370 when I wrote to them to say it was an error, they referred me to the small print, this thing called ‘rapid recharge’ meant I was charged euro 250 more than I expected.

Alas I am not a lawyer and have no idea how you can stock con artists like these.


Hi again

A follow up,  the same type of TV came on again.  I had lots of credits to waste so I though I would 
see what happens.   The bidding went on all day and I put the occasional bid in,  some one called
collinCS was bidding continuously all day. He must have had a mega amount of credits.
Any how towards the end there where five making bids including me,  colinCS made a bid,  then I made a bid 
then you guessed it my bid did not go through and colinCS bid went to checking for about a tenth of a second
and the bidding closed.  Now you cant tell me those other four people all gave up the ghost all at the same time.
They were still ready to bid.  So basically madbid just decided to close the auction.
Yes it is a scam.
foot note,  earlier in the bidding there was a name ( wetbag ) that was bidding ,  then later towards the end 
of the bidding I placed a bid and for a split second his name appeared behind my name as though he was also
placing a bid.  Yet his supposed bid did not appear in the moving list below,   strange that.


Hi,
Yes I know exactly what you mean.  I was bidding on a large 55" TV,  I waited and waited and
it eventually got down to two guys bidding.  Back and forth it went,  then with about 2 seconds
left I placed my bid.  But still the other guy won,  then a little red sign came up in the left top of
my laptop saying " due to heavy load the server was unable to put my bid through.
Funny that because earlier when there were far more bidder's I had placed a few bid's here and there
in the last second and had no problem in the bids going through.
I emailed them and complained and they emailed back with a reference number and said they
would check and get back to me,  have not heard anything since.
Makes you wonder  ?

Regards

Hi I,m sure glad i.read your blog.

Won't even.go there
.as the.saying goes if it sounds to good to be true it proberly is
Sent from my Sony Xperia™ smartphone

Hi Easy to get solid proof the site is fraudulent.

See attached image.

Home page of mad bid shows a min won at £6.83 by Sandy_06.

Type in sandy_06 into google and you can see her account although on a different site called allpennyauctions.com so not sure how they get the details for sandy_06. Any how this shows Sandy_06 has made 1 bid only at Madbid for an iPad mini and lost and it cost her -$0.52 and there were 14,022 bids for this item !! (14,000 *75p is a very very expensive ipad !! At over £10k !! If this is true.

Any how its not a mini at over £12k !!!

Sandy I am sure will be delighted to hear that she won a min ! I tried to find her on line but many sandy_06 on dating sites etc .. But not too many – maybe as you are technical you can find her and let her know she has won a mini !! She must be in the USA as bids in $.

Best of luck.

Dear sir/madam

I signed up to Madrid without realising the terms and conditions. After I signed up, I placed a few bids. Realising this could go on and on and seeing my credits fall on bidding, not knowing my credits would fall with each bid, I decided to stop. After only 1 hour of joining Madrid I rang Madrid to cancel my account and issue me a refund. Madrid refused to do this. I contacted my bank and asked to cancel the transaction. My bank said this was not possible.
What can I do?

Regards

I did not appreciate, initially that every bid I made reduced my capital – which was a small amount due to my suspicions. 

With thousands of people bidding on each item and each bid costing at least 10p then MadBid are covering the entire costs and more of every item they appear to award at silly low prices. 

It’s basically a no skill lottery like the states Lotto except with no charity element.  Because it’s not licenced as a no-skill charity lottery (or raffle) it breaches UK Sales Promotion Law.

It’s a terrible scam, and responsible journalists on the broadsheets are being sucked into giving it airtime as if they had discovered a something-for-nothing loophole

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is too good to be true.

Regards

I paid £27 pounds and I started bidding i dont know that they charged me everytime I bid and when my £27 pound run out they automatic charge me of my  £39.90 i was very upset because
I have no more money on my account so I have to pay for the overdraft I think this a scam




I didn't really know what it was or that I was even getting charged my stupidity but I bought 50 pounds in credits at I had a code for 100% free. Then I saw I'd actually been charged an extra 120 pounds as the auto top up was on but I didn't put it on. I'm a single mother and told them this they did not care and said oh well !! I'm so upset I've lost 120 + 50 what can I do. Thankyou. ().
Sent from my iPhone

On the 24/03/2014 I was scammed out of £39.99 and £39.99 again on my first visit ever..
This was my first experience with those Crooks after I bought 150 credits for £7.99.
Unknown to me they credit my account with 400 credits and again with 400 credits without my knowledge by stealing my money from my account without my permission in one hour while I was so-called bidding!
I phoned them the next day they said I should of read their terms and conditions.
So I am £80.00 out of pocket.


I have read your web pages with great interest. I am in dispute with them as after depositing £49.99 i was given the standard units and  as a bonus extra units which I unsuccessful used  some of them but could not cope with the site as I have a visual impairment and within 9 hours I contacted them and asked for my money back and my account to be closed telling them why I could not participate in their auctions. They are saying as I used some of the units it is a no for my money to be returned. I am arguing that the units I used were some of the extra ones given to me as an inducement to join and would not count as the normal number of units  given for the sum of money paid. I also stated that as the account is closed - they have my money-without an account I cannot use my money. I cannot participate in their fast moving site and have no needs or desire to pay the alternative prices they also quote. The only other option is to query with my credit card company but see that should not be the way foreword. If this story helps your site please feel free to use it.



Hi,
Is anything being done about these thieves? I have been scammed out of £27.99 not a lot, but totally unfair.
I asked for refund within hours of buying the bids, but because I used a few by accident they wouldnt refund me. So I opened case with Paypal. Paypal decided in their favour and .... Because I raised a case with Paypal my account has been suspended and my bids are forfeited.
Ridiculous! I have send another email to paypal, hopefully they will be fair and give me back my money.
Otherwise, Ombudsman?

We were taken in by madbid.com,Nothing was explained about how Rapid Recharge worked until we got a text saying that our credits were getting low so after our 3rd recharge they were giving us a free recharge !!! They did,nt tell us they had already taken money for ahigher amount for the next recharge.I was,nt explained that you could disable the automatic recharge .At this point we checked our account ,only to discover we had been charged £27.50 for the original starting credits,we then were made to believe we had won 100 credits for 1pence,but were charged 50p only to find out that the Rapid Recharge which we didn,t know about had cost us £39.99 when I checked with my bank.They said to contact madbid.com and try to resolve this ,but after reading all the complaints online this morning we realise that this is pointless as it is all a BIG SCAM and we are out of pocket for their pleasure

i agree with everything you say i have currently mailed them to remove me from madbid....im afraid i am not here to help as i would not know how but only to give some support and observations.....they have taken 50 quid from me and i am not happy .....i believe they are using bots if i bid at 1 second it may say checking but a bid at one second that went to zero should have won and it went to zero.....i did this all night long until three in the morning and the auction closed to open again at 8 am how am i possibly now going to be up.....i also noticed that i ran out of credits on an item and lost it because i did not chose the auto paypal (thankfully) and low and behold next time i log in they have more credits there for me 400 i think so i said i would use those before i closed my account i used about 50 and the it stopped could not bid anymore ...didnt take the bait ...

is there no way to report this to a regulator within the office of government?
surely something can be done....a lot of ordinary people losing money.

If u find a lawyer willing to take them to court I would definitely like the money I lost back. �� Luckily I didn’t have much to lose but I certainly don’t like being scammed. I realized quickly that things weren’t adding up. I was only on a short time and the same person I have seen win a couple times on the same auction I believe and I hit bid in last sec.  (which worked many other times) but not this time… it closed both times. Thanks for the time u took to investigate and get out to public. ��
Cheers,



Just to inform, this is an advertise of madbid on polish website:
and on the bottom of the page there is a FAKE facebook comments.
I use ghostery which blocks all the social plugins, also when you try to click on any names there it doesn't work. It is all fake. It is so much scam.
Regards









Welcome !

Welcome to our blog dedicated to
show that MADBID is a scam !

This blog protocolls the latest news and updates to our struggle to bring one of the largest scam websites on the UK internet down.

We are database professionals in London who do data analysis and data mining as daily job.

A time ago we have set up a monitoring solution to monitor all publicly available activity on MadBid.

We protocolled all bids, usernames bidding, auction parameters and site failures in a Microsoft SQL Server database, around every 0.5 seconds, over a couple of days. The data is enough to give a precise picture on what happens on MadBid.

We also protocolled the timing of the auctions, which is key in understanding how MadBid scams and why we must WARN against it in the strongest terms.


After professional analyzing the data we found, here are the results of our findings.

1. General overview

MadBid.com is a penny auction website. Users, after registering, can start bidding on auctions of various articles like actual cell phones, cars etc.

Bidding costs roughly between 30p and 80p PER BID, but the user only has to pay if he loses the auction (of course this is the fact for the vast majority of all unsuccessful bidders).

Here is how the site explains this (website info taken from madbid.com on 06/03/2012:

Regular Auction: Every auction has a countdown timer, usually between 10 seconds and 1 minute. When the timer reaches zero, the highest bidder wins. If someone bids, the timer restarts. Bid increases are made by 1 penny at a time. You can bid by SMS (text message) from your UK mobile or through your MadBid Online Account. On winning you pay the closing auction price plus shipping & handling.

Please note: this says the highest bidder wins, not necessarily the last bidder or the current bidder !

This term "highest bidder" is crucial to understand the scam.

Now, when an auction is over, the winner has to pay the auctions price, which is substantially less than the items price. Example:

Camera, retail price 600 pound
MadBid price: 14.08 pound.
Price per bid: 0.80 pound.
winners bids: 10 a 0.80 pound = 8.00 pound
winner has to pay 14.08 minus 8.00 pound he already has paid in bids : his price to pay 6.08 pound.

Now, MadBid got 1408 bids paid with 0.80 each, so around 1100 pound.

And, most important, they can claim the the item was auctioned away with 14.08 pound. This is the most important point in understanding the MadBid scam.


2. Claims about "bots"

Of course, many people believe that MadBid uses bots, computer programs that would bid automatically on behalf of MadBid to keep an auction alive and to increase their already massive revenues from auctions.

We have found many things in the data that could be explained by "bots", but the findings are not conclusive. It is hard to prove it and this blog is about proving the scam. So, currently we do not have 100% hard evidence about the usage of bots by MadBid itself.

Of course a lot of people use automated bidding, which is also a build in feature of MadBid, but this is functional similar to manually klicking a lot of times on "Bid" when the auction is almost over.

We will post here if we can prove it. Please feel free to contact us on madbidisscam@gmail.com if you have information for us.


3.  How the scam works

Now here are the results of our analysis.

We carefully monitored a lot of MadBid auctions from cheap stuff to expensive things.

At the beginning of the auctions, this works as stated. You can bid and you are the current bidder. Shortly before the time is up and you would win, somebody else bids. All is fine.

If no other people bid, you win the auction as stated. On simple & cheap things everybody can win auctions since people do not bid on a silicon watch for 2 pound if they already have one.

Now, when it comes to auctions of more value, like cameras or cars, the game changes.

Of course, a lot of people bid for expensive stuff, especially when the price goes up, because the higher the auction price comes the more likely it seems to be the auction closes, so they think the higher is the chance to win.

Now, we have made a protocol of all auctions of substantial value people are bidding intense just before the auction closes. The timer will not reach zero.

MadBid states that an auction closes when somebody has bidded and no other bidder is bidding until the time is up. But the higher the price comes, the more intense is bidding activity !

This statement is clearly wrong in all bigger auctions. The auctions close NOT when no other people bid, because in reality auctions close during intense bidding.

We have hints that closing time is just randomly selected by the MadBid system, meaning that a bidder can NOT stop the clock ticking to zero by bidding when the time is up ! In fact we have hard data evidence that despite people bidding on the last seconds of an auction the auction clock ticks down to zero, deliberately selecting a winner.

There is no way you win a larger value auction by bidding, the winner is deliberately selected by the MadBid system.

The system will stop accepting bids and select a "winner".

There is a very very small chance that you are the deliberately selected "winner".

The primary hints that this is about to happen are:
  • the auction time slots go down from 30 sec to for example 5 sec
  • many different people are bidding almost to the same time shortly before the auction closes

We have hard evidence on many many auctions that bids are ignored by the system from a specific point in time, a few seconds before the winner is selected by MadBid and the auction closes.

Now, this could explain the phrase "the highest bidder" wins. If the MadBid system chooses to stop an auction, maybe the MadBid system selects the "highest bidder" in their list of recent bidders.

We have found no evidence how this list could be sorted hence who could be expected to be the "highest bidder".

Here are reasons for MadBid to stop an auction deliberately even if many people still bid.

a) The revenue is enough to pay the item auctioned and to have a big profit.

b) The main MadBid marketing tagline is the claim that stuff is auctioned away by around 85% under retail price. If they would let the auctions run they would not achieve this since people would continuously bid. It is thinkable that the auction price would even be near to the retail price if always new people start bidding - they have not paid much in bids so far and would get the item still under retail price.

c) The auctions would run a longer time. It is more interesting for people to participate in short auctions.



3.  Conclusion

If you find it funny to throw away your money on internet scams, use this one. MadBid is set up by very skilled people who not only understood how "normal minded" people are to be fooled, but they also do it on professional scale in many countries, running large advertisement campains. This scam is a money machine of epic size.

But do ***never*** expect to be able to auction an item like a car or iPhone or camera. There is now way for you to influence the outcome of the auction, you will not win and your money is lost.






Disclaimer
*** of course we have had no connection to madbid whatsoever, and given the fact that some former Goldman Sachs guy is running their finances, we have no wishes to change that, so MadBid paid internet trolls, keep away ! ***