Scalper bots are getting ready to snatch your Black Friday discounts

If you don’t find these exceptionally rare sneakers on an upcoming Black Friday deal, you might simply be an unlucky hunter. However, the so-called scalper bots are increasngly to blame.

Scalper bots are programmed to grab the most desirable merchandise on offer during the big sale events such as the Black Friday weekends. The goods are then resold for a much higher price.

According to Netacea, a bot management company, and its Threat Research Team, scalper bots continue to adapt to a changing market. For example, graphics cards, once a constant feature, no longer enter the charts, but other long-time favorites such as Yeezy sneakers and PlayStation 5s still do.

“Overall, scalpers centered their strategy on making bulk purchases of popular, affordable, limited-edition items with high profit margins, rather than items with a lofty price tag. We are seeing scalpers play to their strengths, namely their ability to scale, with bot users leaning into this,” the company said.

Looking ahead to Black Friday, Netacea’s team predicts a rise in the use of the so-called “freebie” bots, a newer category of scalper bot that has recently been gaining popularity.

Often sold using a bot-as-a-service model, these bots monitor and automatically purchase items with discounts above a set threshold.

“With many retailers offering significant promotional discounts around Black Friday weekend, we expect to see increased activity from freebie bots. High value consumer electronics are also likely to be targeted, especially those accepted by cash-out services – bulk buyers who purchase items from scalpers,” Netacea said and mentioned the PlayStations 5s and the iPhones 14 as prime examples.

Netacea investigated the top five items targeted by scalper bots between July and September 2022.

1. Adidas Yeezy Slide Bone tops the list of the most heavily targeted items. It follows the success of Adidas Yeezy Slide Onyx, the earlier edition in the Kanye West footwear line, that took the number one spot in the second quarter. The original price of the product is $60, but resellers ask $107-140 a pair.

Netacea's Top 5 scalped Items in Q3 2022

2. Nike Dunk Low Panda is affectionately known as the Panda, and, at $110, is much pricier than the Adidas Yeezy pairs. Despite that, “the Panda Dunk is still affordable enough for scalpers to purchase multiple pairs, which allows them to maximize their profits,” Netacea said. The aftermarket range for the Panda is $172-212.

3. Panini Donruss Optic Football Trading Cards have been watching the scalper bot scene from the sidelines in previous quarters, but are now making their first entry into the Netacea’s index. The company is observing the general slump of the market for Non-Fungible Tokens, but demand for physical trading cards is skyrocketing, and the bots have followed the demand – scalpers can resell the cards for more than double of their original price of $50.

4. PlayStation 5, originally priced at $500, remains the fastest-ever selling console since its release and is still called the poster child for scalping – even though it moved down one position in Netacea’s third-quarter index. The console’s resale value largely remained consistent. “Resellers were able to bring in over $100 in profit per console, and scalper bots will continue to target the PlayStation 5 until this changes”, Netacea said

5. Jordan 1 Retro Low OG UNC pays homage to Michael Jordan’s alma mater, the University of North Carolina. Even though expectations for this release were mixed, the Jordans still garnered a lot of attention from scalper bots. Originally priced at $130, the sneakers were resold at $176 on average.

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