Over the past few months, the tech world has fallen victim to a problem that sneaker collectors have been dealing with for years - automated scalpers. There are services available that, for a fee, will scour the internet looking for the product of your choice and will purchase them for you. Some people may use this to acquire the product for themselves, most use it to turn around and sell a high demand product for a massive gain.
We have seen this process play out with video cards, gaming consoles, and more this year. It has accounted for some of the inventory issues with these products, as they are purchased by these bots and then relisted on eBay and Amazon. But, the process has drawn ire from tech companies and consumers alike. As such, things have been put in place to try to fight the problem.
Consumers have been creating fake listings on eBay looking to confuse these bots. They list photos of the products right at or slightly below the MSRP of the product and tell people not to big on the listing. The theory is that bots will encounter the listing at a price that could have a good return on investment and bids or uses But It Now. For those that Tom's Hardware has interviewed, they have said they return the money if the user asks. Otherwise, the person gets a photo of the product, we assume.
A more realistic option that requires a little more guts is bidding on the scalper's listings with massive prices. This drives the price way up, but of course, the bid isn't legit. So, in the end, the scalper's time has been wasted and the product is still in their possession. It does require the guts to make and abandon the bids, which is of course not for everyone.
Scott is a developer who has worked on projects of varying sizes, including all of the PLuGHiTz Corporation properties. He is also known in the gaming world for his time supporting the DDR community, through DDRLover and hosting tournaments throughout the Tampa Bar Area. Currently, when he is not working on software projects or hosting F5 Live: Refreshing Technology, Scott can often be found returning to his high school days working with the Foundation for Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST), mentoring teams and judging engineering notebooks at competitions. He has also helped found a student software learning group, the ASCII Warriors.
Avram's been in love with PCs since he played original Castle Wolfenstein on an Apple II+. Before joining Tom's Hardware, for 10 years, he served as Online Editorial Director for sister sites Tom's Guide and Laptop Mag, where he programmed the CMS and many of the benchmarks. When he's not editing, writing or stumbling around trade show halls, you'll find him building Arduino robots with his son and watching every single superhero show on the CW.