Supreme had scheduled the restocking of Nike Air Force 1 X Supreme on 5th May 2020 at 11 AM. Hypebeasts and enthusiasts were excited about this relaunch because most of them could not get an opportunity to buy their own pair previously as they went out of stock within a few minutes dropping. Interestingly after a few minutes of launch, many buyers posted tweets similar to the following:
“These sneaker bots do my head in man, on the supreme website. Drop day. 11 am. Supreme x Nike AF1’s in my basket, by the time I had typed my card details in they, we’re sold out” and “Supreme X Nike Air Forces sold out within minutes”
So, how did these bots suck the entire stock of sneakers out within few seconds? Let’s find out.
What are sneaker bots?
In the earlier days In-store sales used to be the de facto way of selling new sneakers. These retail store events have become less popular because of chaotic crowds and logistic difficulties. This leads to the use of E-commerce hence majority of new sneakers are currently being sold online and if it’s online, it will be hacked.
Sneaker bots, programs that automate the process of buying a new product the instant it becomes available online, have been the scourge of the sneaker world for years. Non-bot-using customers hate them because it is practically impossible to check out faster than a bot can, so they often cause disappointment. Whenever hyped sneakers sell out in minutes, sneaker forums are filled with people lamenting that they “took the L,” meaning “loss,” on a new sneaker release because of bots.
These bots automate the checkout process by saving the user’s size preference, delivery address, credit card details, and other data necessary for checkout. These sneaker bots generally cost around $10 for a browser extension and around $500 for standalone software. Experts suggest users go for standalone software as they ensure the security of your personal data unlike the extensions.
Sneaker bots are designed to copy human behavior by solving CAPTCHAs and submitting all the information. The bots continually monitor e Commerce sites for stock and when it becomes available, add the stock to their cart and head to the checkout.
Bot operators run these bots on specialist “Sneaker” servers and devices, using proxies to mask their identities.
So why put such vast quantities of effort into acquiring special sneakers (or trainers depending on which side of the pond you land)?
It all comes down to cold, hard cash, with Cowden & Co estimating in a recent report, that the sneaker resale market is worth an impressive $2 billion, a figure that is projected to triple by 2025.
Some bots are run through proxies, which enables the bot to hit retail websites from multiple remote IP addresses in order to purchase multiple pairs of shoes without getting banned by the retailer. Some bots claim to use servers located close to retailers’ datacenters to minimize latency and shave off milliseconds from the purchasing process.
The rise of sneaker bots
Sneaker bots have turned out to be a curse for the average sneaker buyer. These bots clear the complete stock in just a few seconds.
Kabbara, co-created AIOBot five years ago. Now, it is a full-fledged company with 35 employees operating mainly in Lebanon and Sydney, with a smaller contingent of remote specialists. Kabbara sees sneaker bots as a way to help give people a chance at obtaining the shoes they want.
“Copping hyped sneakers was near impossible, and to get anything worthwhile at resale prices is also out of the question,” said Alex Kabbara, vice president and co-creator of AIOBot.com, a sneaker bot with hundreds of positive testimonials online in various sneaker forums and on social media. “You’d be looking at paying a $300 to $1,500 markup, generally. Everyone who was big had a source, someone who’d back-door stock at the local Foot Locker or Nike, so it was unfair. My partner was a very impressive developer, so we thought; why not even the playing field? Give the average sneaker head a chance?”
General public reaction:
The average sneaker buyer finds it very frustrating every time he/she is not able to get their hands on the pair of sneakers for which they waited so long. Generally, the users of these bots are people who seek profit by reselling these kicks to make a profit.
Brands and retailers hate them because they perceive the bot-user to not be valuable long-term customers but instead vultures who seek to buy up large quantities of limited product to resell at a markup. Nike even went as far as to cancel two online drops back in 2015 due to the concern that there were too many bots attempting to purchase the sneakers.
Sneaker bots are rampant, often buying most of this precious stock in seconds, leaving real customers frustrated and the retailer’s reputation in tatters.
And we haven’t even touched on the considerable stress and strain sneaker bots put on a website’s infrastructure. The sheer volume of bots can bring a site to its knees, to the detriment of day-to-day customers and revenue.
There have been previous legal actions against bots in general, such as the Bots Act of 2016, which made it illegal to use bots to buy tickets online, and the proposed Stopping Grinch Bots Act in 2018 that was meant to curb the use of bots to buy coveted gifts around the Black Friday season. But no specific laws have been proposed to curb the onslaught of sneaker bots.
Why choose sneaker bots?
This is by far the most important feature you should look for in a bot. Technology is evolving at the speed of light, so you need a sneaker bot that can keep up with all the changes and enable you to get sneakers seamlessly.
Some companies offer this feature for free, while others charge for it.
When it comes to copping sneakers, speed is one of the primary factors. That is precisely why great and fast customer support is crucial. If anything goes wrong, the support team should be there for you and help you solve the problem quickly and effectively.
MULTIPLE ACCOUNT SUPPORT
If you want to cop more than one pair of sneakers, you will need to create more accounts on a website. Therefore, you will need a bot that supports multiple accounts.
COMPATIBILITY WITH MULTIPLE WEBSITES
To be able to get as many different sneaker brands as possible, you should cop them on multiple websites. If your bot supports more websites, you stand a much better chance of getting more sneakers.
Multithread technology is an extremely important feature for the reason that it allows simpler navigation through sneaker websites as well as easy and quick multitasking.
Last but not least, it is crucial that your bot offers proxy support and we will explain why later in the article. However, you should know that only premium sneaker bots offer this feature, so keep that in mind when choosing your sneaker bot.
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