North Texas Daily

Resale bots have targeted Black-owned businesses

Resale bots have targeted Black-owned businesses

Resale bots have targeted Black-owned businesses
August 08
10:30 2020

Online shopping continues to grow especially now with everyone in quarantine. When it comes to online shopping people are starting to find it more difficult to shop than on Black Friday. The only difference is you are competing with robots rather than actual people. People set up bots on a popular website to buy items and later resell them for a much higher price.

When fans excitedly log on to try and scoop and item on their favorite website, the item sells out faster and faster. This causes outrage and frustration and has people question what is truly going on in the retail world. Although the brand does not have much control over the robot problem, they can set up a wall for them not to interfere.

Can you remember the last time you were on a website and it asked you “are you a robot?” I never really sat and thought about why they would ask such a ridiculous question. As time passed, I realized that they were protecting their website from greedy people. They use a CAPTCHA which allows them to stop bots right in their tracks.

One of the best examples of reselling of retail items is concert tickets. They often sell for more than their retail price, and some people use bots to buy them. A lot of major websites have bots that people have set up to buy the newly released item in a large bulk just for them to resale them later for a higher price.

Retailers, brands and designers often speak out about the issue. The bots started on sneaker websites and slowly made their way onto others. It is frustrating to find out that people would buy your item and take from those who really want it to only resale them or for them not to be sold at all.

Since the start of the Black Lives Matter movement, many Black-owned businesses have been getting a lot more attention than before. Telfar a popular Black-owned purse brand finds itself closing its website due to bot interfering with its last restock. The purses run from $150 to $257 depending on the size of the bag. When people resale them they are priced at $300-$700 or even higher.

The brand later found out on Twitter that a well-known group that goes by the name of Hypernova Group was responsible for the instantly sold out purse. Someone who is associated with the group tweeted receipts that showed that they had purchased over 60 percent of the restocked. How is this helping a business if people are not really getting the product for the original price?

It’s already hard enough for Black women and men to find businesses that support them, and when they finally find one they can wear and showcase, it is ruined by greedy scammers. Making it difficult for them to access affordable Black luxury items. Just because you are buying up a business’s stock does not mean you support Black businesses.

This concept is where a lot of people get confused and think because they are sold out, they are helping the brand. How are they helping the brand when the customers they market for can’t even afford them in the first place? I do not agree with the idea of people using bots to resell.

Resellers are stealing from those who have the option to purchase luxury items at a reasonable price. They are stealing from Black businesses and it does not help at all. When you buy all the products and customers don’t buy the resell then you are just sitting with bags that others could be carrying.

We know that it is hard to get Black names out from the underground, so therefore when we have the opportunity, it should not be ruined by people trying to make a quick buck. Reselling is prevalent in the sneakerhead community, and it’s a shame that they’ve started to target Black businesses. Are they just fascinated with this business because they see a trend on social media and find the need to attack them?

When will people stop seeing Black people and businesses as a trend? This is something that they had to work hard for and build up. They did not have a lot of the resources other businesses have access to. When they step out it is a huge success for all of us.

The next time you are on a website and it asks you the simple question “are you a Robot?” just know that it is for your own good and it allows you the access to shop freely without everything being sold out so quickly. We live in a world with people who are greedy and will do anything to get money. If buying up items and reselling them for a higher price will make them rich, they will do so.

Featured Illustration: Miranda Thomas

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Daija Bostic

Daija Bostic

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