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How are scalping bots threatening your businesses?

By Sabrina / 16th Oct 2020

Scalper bots, or inventory hoarding bots, are used to disrupt, manipulate, and steal merchandise much faster than any human can. These malicious bots add products to carts, often products that are in high demand or limited supply. This stock is held in a basket and made unavailable to other prospective buyers.

Scalper bots perform this process multiple times, causing significant problems for websites and retailers, by hijacking inventory and reselling the items at a higher price.

 

Scalper bots in action

Online retailers’ stock hot products to attract consumer traffic, in particular during the holiday shopping season. This can attract fraudsters attacking the website with hoarding bots. The retailer is then blocked from selling the product and generating the expected revenue.

As we mentioned in our Black Friday blog, in 2019 Costco experienced issues as customers shopped the Black Friday deals in advance. At the time, customers took to social media to complain that they were unable to complete orders online. Costco informed customers that the website was “experiencing slow response times.” The website issues possibly cost the company millions of dollars in lost sales, and were likely due to hoarding bots.

More recently, scalper bots have been targeting hot products such as NVidia graphics card, Xbox and PlayStation. According to sources, the surge began when resellers were quick to target when the COVID-19 pandemic began.

Alex Kabbara, VP of AIO Bot said: “Yes, the pandemic has had an exponential increase in people coming into online reselling,”

How to stop scalper bots

There are significant downsides for businesses that are affected by these malicious bots.

Scalper bots create an artificial demand but delay revenue meaning that businesses aren’t selling products to their customers. They can hijack inventories until demand is reduced forcing discounts to remaining merchandise in order to sell, putting a decline in profits. The distorted data from these attacks can result in bad data for future marketing and business decisions.

Stopping bots from attacking businesses can be a constant process because as we continue to build better defences, fraudsters develop better, sophisticated bots.

Netacea delivers technology designed to protect websites from bot attacks. Netacea’s revolutionary approach to bot management empowers businesses with control over automated bot traffic, with the ability to detect bots and block malicious traffic in real-time.

Talk to the Netacea team today about your bot management strategy.