When I was three, all I wanted for Christmas was Biff the Bear. My parents searched everywhere. At the eleventh hour, they saw a little girl take the store’s last one out of the box. Trying not to seem like a creepy stalker, my dad followed her around until she set it down and stepped away. The frazzled cashier was not up to hunting down the price. “Five bucks?” Dad pretended that was fair, and handed over the money.
I expect by now you’ve got your gifts in hand (or are nervously updating delivery trackers). Each year it gets harder to lay your hands on the hottest gifts. Automation, of course, is to blame. You may have to resort to following a kid around Walmart, hoping he puts down that PlayStation 5.
- Can’t get a PlayStation 5? Meet the Grinch bots snapping up the holidays’ hottest gift [Washington Post] “Shopping bots aren’t new, but their use is growing fast. Deployed by people who buy and resell tickets, high-end sneakers and designer fashion, they’re now expanding into other categories where demand outstrips supply — including grocery delivery slots at the height of the pandemic.”
- Bot is the New Black (Friday): How Retailers Can Fight Back [Infosecurity Magazine] “In effect, every hot product release is a form of DDoS attack.”
- How the Grinch Bots Stole Your Sneakers [Undark] “What about Captchas, those I’m-not-a-robot puzzles visitors to a website are forced to complete before accessing certain pages? It turns out that bots have been able to read wavy words and identify streetlights in photographs for a while now.”
- Fight back against ‘Grinch bots’ with a bot of your own [Fox 35 Orlando] “But there is a way to fight back, deploy a bot of your own… Shopping bots are legal for now. Back in 2016, the Federal Bots Act criminalized ticket scalping bots, but retail shopping bots are not included in that legislation.”
From the Ohio Web Library:
- Bridge, Mark. “Bots Steal Christmas by Driving up Toy Prices.” Times, The (United Kingdom), Dec. 2017, p. 25.
- Pogue, David. “Time to Kill Off Captchas.” Scientific American, vol. 306, no. 3, Mar. 2012, p. 23.
- Peterson, Scott. “Creating Bots with the Microsoft Bot Framework, Part 1.” Lynda.com. Released 5/19/2017.