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Sneaker bot

Sneaker bot

Sneaker bot definition

A sneaker bot is software designed to automatically and quickly buy limited-edition sneakers or other apparel from online stores. It is meant to be used on launch days and snatch the highly sought-after items before human consumers can manually complete the buying process. Sneaker bots are often used by resellers who then auction the items off for a higher price due to their high demand.

While originally intended for sneakers, similar bots have been created for buying concert tickets, gaming consoles, and other limited-release products.

See also: internet bot

How sneaker bots work

Sneaker bots automate the checkout process. They constantly reload the online store, and once a product drops or becomes available, the bot swiftly adds items to the cart and completes the purchase by automatically filling in user data like payment and shipping details. Sneaker bots can buy items in 0.2 seconds, making it impossible for humans to keep up.

History of sneaker bots

As sneaker culture grew in prominence and limited-edition releases became more sought-after, the demand exceeded supply. To capitalize on potential resale profits, tech-savvy individuals developed these bots in the mid-2010s to gain a purchasing edge.

Stopping sneaker bots

There are some measures that retailers can implement to fight sneaker bots:

  • Use CAPTCHAs during the checkout.
  • Monitor for rapid and repetitive purchase patterns and block those users.
  • Implement one-time purchase limits.
  • Use virtual waiting rooms or queues.
  • Release products at random times to catch bots off-guard.
  • Organize raffles or in-store releases.
  • Place decoy items for absurd prices to discourage users from using bots.

Further reading

Ultimate digital security

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