News Bots Strike Again: How Sneaker-Buying Bots Stole (Almost) All the RTX 3090s

ThatMouse

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It's the new wild west for ecommerce as security has gone to pot. The sellers are getting scammed by other scammers. As an individual seller you are not protected like you are with a credit card. Your account shows the buyer has payed, but they can still back out or say they didn't receive it. It's not just graphics cards, but other high ticket items. It's a real mess.

Mod Edit for Language
 
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ThunderJoe

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Well, it completely sucks that people are so greedy, but it's how the system is set up right now - scammers gonna scam, scalpers gonna scalp. The only way to make it not pay is to NOT buy the scalpers ill-gotten hardware. If they get stuck sitting on a bunch of cards they bought on credit hoping to scalp people, well, maybe it won't happen as much - so - don't buy off eBay or other secondary markets and only pay retail or less.

I'm actually MORE angry at nVidia for not waiting until they had a sufficient supply of cards - this limited-release stuff is utter crap, but again, seems to be par for the course. This may just be the Universe's way of making us wait and see what AMD has to offer next month. I've always been an nVidia guy, but if they keep up this limited supply garbage, I might just jump ship (and for the record, I'm a content creator first and a gamer second - I'm much more interested in the boost in my workflow speed).
 

bigdragon

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There needs to be a way to verify that GPUs are going to the people who will actually use them. It needs to become standard practice -- at launch time -- to screen buyers. Same should apply to game consoles and other hot tech products. Relax the restrictions and scrutiny months after launch when the supply is far less likely to be manipulated.

My jerk scalper coworker no longer talks about what he's buying and selling. HR must have done something.
 

Blacksad999

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Just write some Malware which targets the bot programs specifically, imo.

I'm sure if someone joined one of these groups and downloaded their bot, they could easily see the code and engineer a way to destroy them from within.
 

Thomas Wells

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Just write some Malware which targets the bot programs specifically, imo.

I'm sure if someone joined one of these groups and downloaded their bot, they could easily see the code and engineer a way to destroy them from within.
That would require them to join the group, they would see how much they are making from the dumbasses who buy from the scalpers and just bot for themselves. There are no more robin hoods, just hoods.
 
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Olle P

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I followed the sales at one of the major Swedish etailers. They started out with 15 - 20 cards or so in stock, spread over about half a dozen models.
Took about 30 seconds for them all to get noted as out of stock, and the site didn't seem to have any problems.

... By the time that they are abundant in stock will be about the same time that I can afford one. ;)
Yes, there will be plenty of them in stock when they get obsolete... ;)
 
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I can't believe the company is bragging about helping their "customers" buy product. It is straight scalping. Should be illegal. But as with many crimes the law is behind the criminals in making new laws to police scammers. This is definition price gouging. The problem is PC Gamers as a community have no voice. We don't have lobbyists to influence law makers to protect us from these criminals. Face the truth, whether there is an anti scalping law for computer hardware or not, these are crimes. The people facilitating and committing these acts are criminals. It is clear price gouging, scalping and market manipulation.

What really surprises me is that Nvidia and AIB don't have a bigger problem with this and take it much more seriously. It can't be that hard to take better steps to stop this. One obvious step they should have taken is changing the check out process for the launch. So the bot makers don't know what they have to over come before hand. Steve from GamersNexus said the same thing in a recent video about 3000 series release. Obviously it doesn't matter what you do, if they know about it they can beat it.

I have 30 years as a PC Gamer, I'm a Nvidia fan because I truly they make the best cards and drivers, I've had AMD/ATI. I speak from experience not ignorance. Right now I have a 49" 1440p 120Hz ultra wide monitor so I really want a 3080 but this all upsets me enough that now I'll hold out until I see what AMD has for us.
 

DarkEngine

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Lets ask 2 simple questions. Did bots buy up most of the cards? Why did "they" do it?
Yes . Individuals using bounceAlerts .
To sell the units for massive price increase on sites like ebay. From my count right now there are around 120 units on ebay right now(what I saw). From what we have seen with the 3080 and 3090 bots purchase the majority of them. So where are they? Newegg and Best buy Vancouver Canada had near zero. There were a few hundred in the USA and UK. The ones that I know of in Canada were physically purchased. (when I say ones I mean one). I seriously question the volume on this launch for both units. How can Nvidia be surprised by the demand when they published data on the cards showing a quantum leap in this generation. If bots got them all ( I think they got the majority) Where the Heck are they? Any professional marketers here to speculate on this? Why is it that only Social media stars and a few lucky ones got the card? Nvidia said they cancelled hundreds of multiple orders...Where are those. Do you know anyone that got one of them? What was the actual number of Units for each model avaible and to which Countries did they go? People say..... be patient, life and air are more important. This is true but we are not talking about air (maybe we are) We are talking about a Company that launched a product that then intent to sell to people like you and me. They give some guy a 30k dollar 8k tv to show us how great 8k gaming is. Lets create as much hype as possible. Its the carrot stick thing. I asked more than 2 questions............
 
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It's clear to me that NVIDIA is okay with scalpers based on their lack of measures to prevent the same problem from happening again after the RTX 3080 launch. It's not that hard to come up with countermeasures and people have already shared good ideas. I won't be buying any of the new cards until their price goes back to MSRP and if that takes too long to happen, then I'll just skip these cards. I also never buy from ebay or anywhere that scalpers can resell. 2020 is already a bad year, but there will be people who want to make it worse to feed their greed. The best thing I can do is to not feed their greed.
 

clsmithj

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That's because NVIDIA is not a retailer, they produce but they really are not fit to sell products, that's why when they were selling products they had the task outsourced to a crummy merchant known as Digital River. The same merchant AMD currently still uses for their online store.

The best thing NVIDIA did at the time was close down there store and move their FE card distribution to BestBuy to sale. Problem is, it's the online retail stores themselves that are vulnerable. NewEgg, Amazon, BestBuy.com, Digital River (AMD, MSI, Zotac stores) are all vulnerable with anti-bot protection that are antiquated now, their current bot protection only blocks the small bots that were probably made by legit real users who just wanted to snag a GPU first. There's basic open sourced bots that can be coded in python that can automate refresh/clicks and task sequences that anyone can code on their own, which are easily detected by online store anti-bot protection. Then there are the more advanced bots used by these Sneaker/Shoe bot users do what normal bots do at an insanely faster pace and are undetectable as they have coded in them their retails store API that they hacked, and they are able to bypass the anti-bot protection of online retails, by-pass any ordering restrictions or filters and gain access to an e-retailer's store registrar, input the amount of available quantity (in this case GPUs when they drop) and they can submit the payment process. Thus when there are known GPU drops, those online shops sell out in under a minute, and as consumers walk away empty handed, Shoe bots leave with 15, 20, 30+ GPUs and in worse case clearing all the stock that was remaining. Then they flip their purchases back to consumers at double or triple the price. These advanced bots used by Shoe bots is also private, 3rd party produced, and it of course is not open sourced. You have to pay Shoe bot users money to get invited to access the software for limited use or a paid subscription.

As of late, nothing is being done to address this. For last couple months of this year, the tech sites aren't even talking about what's truly causing GPUs to sell out instantly, which are these shoe bots. I seen to much pointing blame at cryptocurrency miners and not the actual problem which are the shoe bots.

Retailers and NVIDIA/AMD if they truly wanted to put a stop to this they would improve their online stores, perhaps adopt EVGA's verification queue system for buying cards, or distribute these graphic cards to approved brick and mortar retail stores and require limit 1 per customer.
 
What do they care they’re selling everything they make and turning it over very quickly. And that’s my point greed

If you ever thought that companies cared about you, you have a lot to learn
 

spongiemaster

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As of late, nothing is being done to address this. For last couple months of this year, the tech sites aren't even talking about what's truly causing GPUs to sell out instantly, which are these shoe bots. I seen to much pointing blame at cryptocurrency miners and not the actual problem which are the shoe bots.
Miners absolutely should be shouldering the majority of the blame. They aren't buying from retailers, they're buying bulk for the manufacturers and distributors so the cards never get to retail in the first place which is what's creating the shortages that scalpers are taking advantage of. Did you see the article recently about Hut 8 placing a $30 million order with Nvidia for mining cards? Nvidia claims that mining GPU's are GPU's that wouldn't pass Q/A for gaming cards, but when you see an order like that, there is no way Nvidia producing that many subpar GPU's. If all the GPU's going to miners had made it into retail, scalping would have been unprofitable within a couple months of launch of the 3000 series.
 

clsmithj

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Miners absolutely should be shouldering the majority of the blame. They aren't buying from retailers, they're buying bulk for the manufacturers and distributors so the cards never get to retail in the first place which is what's creating the shortages that scalpers are taking advantage of. Did you see the article recently about Hut 8 placing a $30 million order with Nvidia for mining cards? Nvidia claims that mining GPU's are GPU's that wouldn't pass Q/A for gaming cards, but when you see an order like that, there is no way Nvidia producing that many subpar GPU's. If all the GPU's going to miners had made it into retail, scalping would have been unprofitable within a couple months of launch of the 3000 series.
I think that's only happening in foreign countries where their very little oversight of merchandise being transported.
I doubt that's happening the US, our issue is shoe bot scalpers who indeed hitting the online shops at every drop since their advanced bot apps are actively scraping the online stores till when a GPU gets listed before they automatically buy out the stock.

We need to focus on the main thing that's being exploited here in America and that's a broken online shopping system that's getting exploited by scalpers.

Moving products to in-store only with limits per customer could address a large part of this problem.
 

clsmithj

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What do they care they’re selling everything they make and turning it over very quickly. And that’s my point greed

If you ever thought that companies cared about you, you have a lot to learn
Well NVIDIA and AMD were making some effort early on to try and address the initial perceived high demand. I don't think they are fully aware of just how big of a scope the scalping scene is.

It's now reached a point that the problem is essentially selling GPUs online without any queue validation system in place leaves supply opened to bot scalpers to buy up all the stock. Sure that looks like a fast turn over of supply but it's not because the products is still not reaching consumer hand, it's going to another seller looking to make double/triple the profit.
 
Yes we all understand that but the fact is the turnover is very rapid in fact because they are selling every single thing that they make and that is the only thing they care about they don’t care that it goes into a consumers hand. I don’t know what you don’t understand about that. When they can sell every single unit they make at the price they’re asking they’re going to do it and they don’t care who it’s sold to

The price of video cards has kept me out of PC gaming for a couple decades now and I probably won’t ever return because of junk like this
 

spongiemaster

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I think that's only happening in foreign countries where their very little oversight of merchandise being transported.
I doubt that's happening the US, our issue is shoe bot scalpers who indeed hitting the online shops at every drop since their advanced bot apps are actively scraping the online stores till when a GPU gets listed before they automatically buy out the stock.

We need to focus on the main thing that's being exploited here in America and that's a broken online shopping system that's getting exploited by scalpers.

Moving products to in-store only with limits per customer could address a large part of this problem.
I don't understand your first point. If Asus sells pallets of GPU's to mining companies, it doesn't just affect one market, it's reducing the supply for everyone. When Nvidia signs the contract to sell $30 million in GPU's to a company, that's a whole lot of GPU's that aren't going to AIB's to be sold on the global market. Where the sale takes place is completely irrelevant.

The problem isn't only scalping. Again, mining is a much much bigger problem. The reason why people are paying such jacked up prices on auction sites is because they expect to make the money back using the card to mine when they aren't gaming. If there was no profit to be made mining, no one is paying $1500+ for a 3080.

How many national electronics companies are there in the US that sell video cards? Best Buy, that's it. With Fry's (who was regional, not national) going bankrupt, the only other sort of major retailer in the US is Microcenter, which again is regional, most of the country don't have one near them. So unless you want Best Buy to be the only video card retailer for most of the country, your in-store only proposal doesn't work.
 
My son used an app called Hotstock to find a Series X at Christmas time. That app can be used to locate computer hardware as well so you should be able to find a video card with that
In the UK buying a Series X or PS5 has been a lot easier, they don’t go out of stock in seconds. I managed to get a Series X fairly easily and my mate picked up a PS5 within a few weeks of trying. However the same mate has been after a new gpu for several months now. He has a few alert tools for stock but by the time he gets the alert and goes to the site the stock has gone. He has managed to see them in stock a few times but buy the time he tries to check out the stock has gone. It seems the time these gpu’s stay in stock is measured in seconds, the consoles were in stock for much longer.
 

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