Resellers Using Bots to Buy High-Demand Game Console


Manage episode 284555173 series 2530089
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Resellers have been using so-called scalper bots to buy the PlayStation 5 (PS5), causing the console to quickly go out of stock. Scalper bots are software programs designed to monitor the stock of high-demand products on online retail sites. They send notifications to resellers when certain in-demand products become available, which allows resellers to buy the hot items faster than others. Some resellers also use advanced bots that can automatically purchase products as soon as they become available. Resellers then put the high-demand products up for sale on other sites at a much higher price. Following the launch of the PS5 last November, the use of scalper bots has ramped up. Resellers saw an opportunity to overprice the console because buyers were willing to pay any amount to get their hands on it. The retail price of the digital edition PS5 is $400, while the console edition costs $500. However, resellers have been selling PS5 units on platforms like eBay and Amazon Marketplace for more than $1,000. Bot security company Netacea estimates that a ring of resellers made between $1 million and $1.5 million in just two weeks following the release of the PS5. To address the issue, some retailers are blocking bots when high-demand products became available. During its Black Friday sale, Walmart blocked 20 million bot attempts to buy the restocked PS5 consoles. According to Target, it is continuously monitoring bot attempts and blocking the bots from purchasing similar high-demand products. Walmart information security executive Jerry Geisler said that retailers are currently investigating how resellers are using bots. He added that retailers’ detection tools evolve as bots change and become more advanced.

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