“Stopping Grinch Bots” Act Introduced to Ban the Use of Sneaker Bots

“Stopping Grinch Bots” Act Introduced to Ban the Use of Sneaker Bots

It’s no secret that bots have become a big, big problem in sneakers — and in fact, the wider online retail world. Since the introduction of e-commerce, people have found ways to cheat the system. In recent years, the growth of cook groups and bots has exploded, in itself creating a huge market cap on AI-specific programming. It’s rife through the sneaker community, but also through other hard-to-get industries, too, like gaming consoles and collectibles. The nature of limited-edition drops means that the desire for obtaining is heightened, and people will do almost anything to secure a pair come release day. That, in conjunction with recent supply chain issue that’s been plaguing retailers from the COVID pandemic, and you’ve got yourself an absolute mess. But never fear, as the US House and Senate Democrats have stepped in and reintroduced the aptly-titled Stopping Grinch Bots Act which aims to ban and outlaw the use of automated bots that are used to buy goods online.

US Representative Paul Tonko (D-NY) and Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) announced the push for the Stopping Grinch Bots Act on Monday.

“At a time when families should be able to spend time with their loved ones, digital “Grinch bots” are forcing Americans to scour online sites in the hopes of finding an affordable gift or paying exorbitant prices for a single toy,” said Tonko in a press release. “These bots don’t just squeeze consumers, they pose a problem for small businesses, local retailers, and other entrepreneurs trying to ensure they have the best items in stock for their customers. Our Grinch Bots Act works to level the playing field and prevent scalpers from sucking hardworking parents dry this holiday season. I urge my colleagues to join me in passing this legislation immediately to stop these Grinch bots from stealing the holidays.”

Image: Bloomberg

The proposed Act expands on a law passed in 2016 that banned and outlawed bots from buying up tickets for sporting events and concerts and the US Federal Trade Commission would be in charge of enforcement if the Act goes through. The Stopping Grinch Bots Act is supported by a number of consumer organizations, such as Consumer Reports, the Consumer Federation of America, and the National Consumer League.

But just how effective the Act will be remains of concern, as the 2016 passage has seen a slow, but not a complete stop, to botting tickets. Here’s hoping that, at least for the majority, that legal action begins to deter would-be-coppers to even up the chances of release day – even lif it’s ust a little.

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Cover art: Highsnobriety

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