Bots vs retailers
Our way of living has changed dramatically since the revolution of the internet and programming world. When you reflect on how things were in comparison to today you will be amazed by how every single aspect of our life has changed. Reading the morning paper to catch up on current events was a thing, as was buying a limited shoe from a store. Back then you still could snag an air Jordan retro from the store, if you knew the way. The sneaker culture was merely a fight club that grew slowly over time.
Then came the internet, ordering online was then next big thing. Why waste plenty of your valuable time going into stores buying clothes and groceries when you can have them delivered to your home in just a couple of clicks. Every big store in the world rushed to create their own site to make it easier for their consumers and to stay one step ahead of the competition.
Adidas and Nike took that step as well creating a shopping site that contains every item they had in stock and every item they will release in the future, from normal socks to the most anticipated shoe of the year. But they overlooked a very important side of their business, supply, and demand. By that time, sneakerheads became a well-known force and the shoe industry was a billion dollar one already. Hundreds of thousands of people logging into Nike at the same time to cop those few pairs of Foamposite, and what would happen? the site isn’t ready to serve all of those users and it will eventually crash and most pairs would go to stores and retailers bringing us back to the dark ages of campouts, waiting in line, and in some cases, violence. All of the known brands and retailers, who had their own websites, realized that they needed to shake things up. So they started hiring world class developers to minimize the chances of their servers crashing on release time. They succeeded of course, but the site crashing wasn’t the core of the problem, it was the fact that copping those kicks was impossible and pure luck! Until one shoe lover decided to make his own luck and create a bot.
At first, there were simple extensions that speeded up the checkout process by auto-filling the info. Slowly, these extensions became well known and wanted by sneakerheads. After a while, bots evolved becoming independent programs, reaching a new level. They can add to cart and auto checkout for you beating the other slow users who are relying on the speed of their clicks. With the birth of Nike and Adidas bots, it was a whole new ball game. Bots became a massive part of the sneaker industry used by plenty resellers and collectors.
Sneaker bots demolishing most of the stock, was not the most strange thing. It was the fact that bot users were the minority of the sneaker community. At this point, Adidas, Nike and all of the retailers decided to take action against bots to level up the playing field.
A bot imitates what you normally do on the browser click by click, so the site needs to be compatible with the bot in order for it to work. If Adidas changed something in the ATC process before the release, for example, the bot won’t work thus evening up the playground. That was at first, but then bot developers got smarter. They started finding out what was changed on the site, and updating the bot accordingly before the drop. That’s why retailers had to step up their game, so they quit the small changes and turned into more efficient solutions such as the Captcha. Almost all retailers have a Captcha to combat bots now, and others are coming up with different solutions, Adidas with their queue page, Supreme giving ghost orders etc…
Are those solutions really working? Bots are still finding their way in, whether it’s past the Captcha or the Adidas splash page. If stopping the bot completely was manageable, someone would have done it by now! All they are doing is slowing them down a bit.
As long as Adidas is still dropping 10K pairs of Yeezy for millions of sneakerheads and supreme dropping a 100 ‘’let’s fuck” tees, bots will continue to exist because as we talked before, they gave something we never had before, hope.The hope of copping the Yeezys.
Sneakers are likely just the tip of the spear when it comes to mainstream bot use. Bots are here to stay! Everyone of us has two choices, either keep staring at the queue page on the next Adidas Yeezy Boost release, or take our chances with a bot!