Buying a PS5 or RTX 3080 on launch day is becoming mission impossible. Maybe part of the problem is due to the lack of inventory and the few units available, but there is another palpable reality: that of bots that buy these products much faster than a user can do it.
The problem has been around for some time, but it has become apparent again with the release of NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 graphics cards. Many users have complained about not being able to buy cards that according to various analyzes have been monopolized by bots. Shortly after, platforms such as eBay began to fill with offers of new and available RTX 3080 cards … triple (or more) its official selling price.
Reselling is not just a problem for events, but also for products
Access to these products can be a huge problem: the expectation they generate makes many legitimate users want to buy them to enjoy them, but there are others who know it and take the opportunity to make their particular August.
It is a problem that exists since a long time ago with ticket reselling and the famous case of BIC pens, but which we are also seeing more and more frequently in technological products.
Many are those who have complained about the low availability of the PS5 that went on sale yesterday, but it may be that at least in this case the stores had a very limited number of consoles to offer. Things change with the RTX 3080, NVIDIA’s coveted graphics cards that apparently very few users have managed to buy on time.
There have been users who have actually tried to analyze the purchase process and have detected how the code on those web pages I never gave the option to buy it: from the notification to warn that it was available or from the purchase button, the page code would go directly to displaying the message “Out of Stock”.
Those bots that hoard these products have in fact become unique and controversial shopping platforms. Bounce Alerts, a community of users dedicated among other things to achieve priority access to products from their initial launch.
– Lush (@ Lush89714082) September 17, 2020
Members of this group pay $ 75 per month for access to the bot system that manages to buy products with limited availability. That these users then resell them is up to everyone, and as seen in the pic.twitter.com/SamdNzqEc7
– GridironSlots (@BucTillIDie) September 17, 2020
There may be users in that group who want these cards for themselves and not for resale, but the practice has generated a logical debate on social networks. According to that group’s posts on Twitter, they managed to access 42 units of the RTX 3080s from the official NVIDIA website before inventory ran out.
As explained in PCMag, those responsible for Bounce Alerts assure that their job is “to guarantee our consumers that they can buy the product they need”, but other members of the community affirm that this system is nothing more than a bot that works “as an automated script to run from the product page to the payment information and then to checkout“.
That same member explained that more than 100 people in the community downloaded the bot to buy cards from the NVIDIA website, “and practically all of them will end up being resold in secondary market “.
That forecast has come true, and now it’s easy to do a search on eBay and see how RTX 3080 cards are plentiful there, but not at the $ 699 (719 euros) price they are officially sold at. but at prices that double or triple (or that border on the absurd, like this model that goes for 19,000 euros in resale bids) that price.
Those wanting RTX 3080 GPUs, here’s some info:
This morning we experienced more traffic than the morning of Black Friday
Limited inventory sold out in 5 mins
We’ll release more as we get more
Bot protection was in place, orders were human
Turn on Auto Notify & check back
– Newegg (@Newegg) September 17, 2020
Stores like Newegg had to confirm that inventory was limited and sold out in five minutes, but They ensure that there were protection systems against bots and all purchases were made by individuals.
Wish y’all would’ve made a system so real consumers could have actually ordered a card. Stayed up all night just to get crashed servers and everything sold out within 2 minutes without me even seeing the item as available. Literally went right from “Not Available” to “Sold Out”.
– Jordan L (@MrJordyboy) September 17, 2020
Meanwhile, NVIDIA has indicated in their forums that they regret what happened and that “the NVIDIA store was flooded with traffic and errors were found.” They claim to have solved the problem and reviewed purchases to stop bots and speculators. Plus, the company noted, they are already shipping more RTX 3080s to stores.
The truth is that some services that try to follow the inventory of various products in stores in the US seem to make it clear that at least in the case of the RTX 3080 things are very difficult right now for those who want to buy it, at least in that country.
NowinStock shows all the models of various manufacturers in various stores without availability, and only at the end eBay appears with available models (logical). Other services such as Stockx show the available chart but at prices that again triple (or more) the official prices.
The only option (other than paying more) for many seems obvious: wait for availability to be much higher and prices to return to normal. In the meantime bots seem unstoppable despite comments from NVIDIA or stores claiming to have tools to fight them.