Beyond preventing you from buying Air Jordans, Bots sneakers tie the world up
We’ve all heard of ultra-premium sneakers like the Yeezy from Adidas and the Air Jordans from Nike that sell out in minutes. But what you probably haven’t thought about is the havoc Sneaker bots are wreaking not only on sneaker businesses, but the entire ecommerce industry.
Basketball robots (aka Scalper robots) are infamous for purchasing extremely limited items using automation for speed and volume. These bots clean up digital inventory and speed up the online payment process to the millisecond of a sneaker or other in-demand product. Automation allows collectors, dealers and DIY enthusiasts to accumulate inventory of limited edition products faster and in larger quantities than is humanly possible.
Sneakers have become an asset class similar to stocks and cryptocurrency, and are traded on a variety of reseller platforms for investors to make lucrative profits. A spotlight from Piper Sandler on StockX estimates that the sneaker resale market is worth around $ 10 billion in 2021 in the United States alone.
However, sneaker bots are also used to grab other in-demand goods and services, such as gaming systems, concert tickets, consumer electronics, luxury clothing, hotel rooms, and even. vaccines. Last year, bots made up at least 20% of traffic to ecommerce sites, but that percentage jumps to 99% in some cases when it comes to new sneakers. Sneaker bots have also been known to rack up inventory in online shopping carts without checking. This is usually done so that retailers appear to be sold out for an item, forcing consumers to go to a reseller to find what they are looking for and pay 2-5 times the retail price.
The Sneaker Bot war on e-commerce
Sneaker bots can negatively affect the customer experience in a number of ways, which in turn takes a toll on a business’s bottom line:
- Damaged Brand Reputation: When bots grab all of your inventory (or even just make it look like hoarding inventory), it hurts your customer experience.
- Loss of income: Due to inventory abuse, you cannot create new clients (and possibly evangelists) or serve clients with whom you already have a relationship, which impacts their loyalty to your site and your ability to establish consumer preferences.
- Increased infrastructure costs: If you’re handling automated traffic to your site, you’re paying bandwidth and infrastructure costs (and the human resources to support them) that aren’t needed thanks to automated bots. In some cases, the cost of dealing with malicious bot traffic may exceed the profit margin of the item sold.
While sneaker kicking may seem unfair, it is absolutely legal. At the same time, it creates frustrated customers and retailers. As a result, bots often violate the terms of service of ecommerce providers. To combat sneaker bots, retailers resort to lotteries and waiting rooms, where shoppers must pick up a number to make a purchase or registration. But even waiting rooms and ticket numbers can be exploited on a large scale. What appear to be multiple legitimate customers signing up at the same time are actually more sophisticated bots, more often than not.
Who are the Sneaker Bot players?
There are generally three types of sneaker bot players:
- Collectors who just want to beat the competition and earn their coveted pair of kicks for themselves at all costs.
- Resellers who want to grab as many quantities as possible and increase resale prices for a quick profit with built-in demand. They can resell on auction sites or through their own online store.
- Do-it-yourselfers who are drawn to the potential of making money through the use of cheap bots and plugins. They join online communities and Cook groups for advice and buy bots as a service to grab inventory.
Three types of basketball bots
All-in-one bots (AIO):
To target more than one site, operators deploy all-in-one bots, which automate the entire purchase. For example, AIO bots can search for new inventory, add it to cart, and check out, all in under 0.2 seconds. Real buyers just can’t compete.
Not only can they make automated purchases, but they can also track updates to shopping cart procedures to bypass bot detection and mitigation solutions. These robots work around the clock, shopping all over the world to score kicks and other in-demand merchandise. There are many AIO robots to choose from, such as Prism AIO, Torpedo AIO, area specific AIO robots such as EU-focused Burst AIO and many more.
Specially designed to automatically analyze and retrieve information, monitoring robots search for new versions, prices and stock availability. Once identified, bots send an alert with relevant information to their operators, as well as other bots such as AIO bots. A subset of this type of bot is known as the Footprinting bot, which searches for an online inventory that may not yet be public, noting stock that a human has never been able to find before. its exit.
Some sneaker bots are optimized for a single brand, the most popular being Nike, Supreme, and Adidas Bots. Like AIO robots, these specialized robots continually update their approach to bypass detection. There are also bots designed to work with specific ecommerce platforms like Demandware or Shopify, which host dozens of sneaker websites, as well as Footsites bots that target four popular sneaker websites (Footlocker, EastBay , ChampsSports and Footaction).
Beat the bots at their own game
To combat sneaker bots, ecommerce businesses need a modern anti-bot solution that prevents bots from even entering business infrastructure in the first place and makes their operation financially unsustainable. But how?
For starters, trust an architectural approach that is built on zero trust and assumes all claims are culpable until proven guilty. This rule-less method can stop bots without having to inspect device and network behavior or attributes, including ones never seen before.
Second, removing the economic incentive at the heart of the sneaker bot model does wonders to stop them coldly. This can be accomplished through an asymmetric cryptographic proof-of-work challenge that depletes the computational resources of automated attacks, wiping out their ROI and making prosecution too costly.
Finally, since bots are constantly updated, another way to fight back is to make it difficult for bot operators to retool and reverse engineer defenses or even create new bots that can bypass detection. This can be done through resilient obfuscation instead of open source tools, such as using techniques that change dynamically, frustrating bot operators.
The bottom line is that when it comes to automated tech like sneaker bots, the best way to fight them is automated tech too, and these three approaches combined help beat bots at their own game.