How Grinch bots steal your Christmas gifts

The Christmas season is a long-awaited time for some of us to let go of the gas pedal, relax with friends and family, and eat our weight in roasted meats. We devour our body weight in roasted meats with our friends and family.

Relaxation, on the other hand, is the farthest thing from the minds of shopkeepers. The holidays may either make or break the whole retail year. Q4 accounts for 26.8% of total yearly retail sales across all verticals, which isn't much greater than an ordinary quarter.

In certain industries, though, the holiday season is considerably more important. It accounts for 34.9 percent of hobby, toy, and game sales, 34.7 percent of jewelry sales, and 31.1 percent of electronics purchases, to name a few examples. According to the Adobe Digital Economy Index, online spending will reach $910 billion this Christmas season, up 11% from last year.

From November 1st to December 31st, online holiday sales in the United States are predicted to hit a new high of $207 billion, up 10% from 2020. Why are so many individuals starting their holiday shopping earlier this year than they have in the past? Is this some sort of mass psychosis?

According to McKinsey, the trend is being driven by a number of factors. The continuous supply chain problem was a major motivation for individuals who planned to start buying earlier this year.

A potential lack of availability was cited as a worry by 51% of respondents. Slow shipment delays were a source of concern for 45 percent of respondents. Furthermore, 44% began shopping early to avoid "unanticipated obstacles" caused by the virus.

However, it's not all doom and gloom: 29% got an early start on their shopping because they wanted to do "something exciting right now."

The Grinch is on his way to steal holiday happiness, but he won't be coming down the chimney. Grinch bots have arrived to steal online Christmas offers. Fingerlings, an adorable monkey toy that retailed for $14.99 in 2017, were scooped up and resold for much to $1,000, according to NPR. 'Grinch bots,' also known as 'Cyber Grinches,' are to blame. What do they want to achieve? To sabotage Christmas. What do you mean by that? All of the trendiest items on the market are snatched up by Grinch bots before human shoppers can get their hands on them. The increased demand raises the resale price, allowing scalpers—people who acquire big amounts of in-demand items—to profit handsomely from desperate customers on third-party websites such as eBay and Amazon.

What is the Grinch Bot, and what does it do?

In terms of technology, it's essentially a computer software that sends out automatic queries to many websites. On the Internet, these queries are referred to as "bots." Bots move swiftly, taking advantage of computers' efficiency to complete activities at a large scale. The Grinch Bot is a unique kind that meets two requirements:

  • It solely goes after online inventories, aiming to buy things before people can finish their orders.

  • It is only open during the Christmas season.

Attackers now utilize bots to carry out these activities all year. However, during the winter months, we prefer to refer to ourselves as "Grinch Bots."

How do they work?

Grinch bots are computer programs that buy stuff online and keep track of what's hot. They instantly acquire all of the stock in one sweep seconds after it debuts on the market when they locate in-demand products. That may certainly detract from your online purchasing experience.

They are frequently run by third-party agents who benefit from the "sold-out" times by reselling them at considerably higher rates. Because of the festive backdrop, these bots are given the nickname "Grinch bot" throughout Black Friday and throughout the Winter Holidays.

The bots use algorithms to get the greatest deals and buy unique and limited-edition products that are in high demand. By scouring social networking networks and product pages, they may even discover products before they hit the market. During Black Friday, Grinch bots account for nearly half of all web traffic. While many services attempt to track down and ban these bots by identifying their IP addresses and activity patterns, the bots are becoming more sophisticated and frequently outsmart the providers.

Can I defend myself from Grinch bots?

You can't do much since Grinch bots target websites rather than individual individuals. You can, however −

Always browse other online stores or smaller sellers for an item and add it to your wishlist before it goes on sale.

The Stopping Grinch Bots Act

The Stopping Grinch Bots Act, which would expand on the 2016 BOTS Act and extend to e-commerce, prohibiting bots from circumventing digital shops' security measures, was introduced during the last week of November 2021. The measure isn't new; it was submitted in November 2018 and again in February 2019, but both times it died in the US Congress.

The bill's goal is to put an end to these immoral acts. It will enable the Federal Trade Commission to classify such misleading activities as illegal and prosecute them.

It will also be prohibited to work around a security mechanism, such as access control systems, or to circumvent other controls that services use to ensure that purchase rules are followed. The measure also intends to make it illegal to sell materials obtained in this manner.