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Blog | 26th Feb 2021 / 16:39

Part Three – Types of Scalper Bots

In parts one and two of our blog series we discussed what scalper bots are, what they do and the impact they have had on the latest PS5 launch. We also discussed who uses scalpers bots and why.

In the final part of our series, we look into the different types of scalper bots and how they differ.

Increase in scalper bots

There are many different types of bots and they are constantly getting better at mimicking humans. In this type of bot attack, scalpers use automated scalping bots to buy sought-after products.

As we’ve seen from the latest PS5 launch, where there are low-supply, high-demand items, scalper bots usually follow. Some bot groups are even large and well-funded enough to try and artificially create supply shortages by buying up large amounts of stock.

The variety of bots and why they are a problem

Bots pose significant challenges, especially to eCommerce sites. These bots can hurt brands that want to guarantee fair pricing and a good online experience for their customers.

We now know that scalper bots snap up the best inventory, then sell the item at inflated prices on third-party sites. However, there are different types of scalper bots that retailers should be aware of.

At Netacea, we break down scalper bots into categories based on what they do. We find the following are some of the most commonly seen categories:

Monitor bots

These bots continuously check sites for new releases and re-stocks. Once the stock has been found, the bots alert the user or group of users who then buy the stock (often using other types of bots).

Sneaker bots

A piece of software designed to monitor stock releases and automatically complete the checkout process on a sneaker site as soon as stock becomes available.

Add to cart services

Sneaker bots that are managed. The process is therefore not entirely automated from beginning to end but instead, the customer pays for their slot and the provider handles all elements of their purchase.

Spinner bots

The next generation of sneaker bot and often custom-built by their creators. Like a sneaker bot, a spinner bot automates all processes until the sneakers are in the cart. However, at this stage, the spinner bot holds the merchandise and begins to advertise the stock on a secondary site.

Account creators

These have recently been adopted by sneaker bot operators to tackle the rise in sites selling limited availability merchandise via raffle/lottery systems. These bots can create hundreds or even thousands of accounts per day by automating the sign-up process, and utilising proxies to carry out registrations from different IPs and geographic locations, all in the aim of rigging the odds in favour of the bot operator.


Matthew Gracey-McMinn, Head of Threat Research at Netacea, said:

“Some scalper bots are essentially “bots of bots”, containing several or all of the above functions allowing the bot user to automate the monitoring, purchasing, and resale of goods from a single tool.”

To find out more about the different types of scalper bots, watch our recent webinar, The Rise of Scalper Bots.

Stopping scalper bots

Sign up for a personalised demo and find out how Netacea stops sophisticated scalper bots from depleting your goods or services, while prioritising genuine users.

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.

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