Prices of the inexpensive toys have skyrocketed across the internet, as third-party sellers take advantage of the limited availability. $15 Fingerlings (pictured above) are among the hottest gifts this year, and have surged in price to upwards of $1,000 each

‘Grinch bots’ snatch up popular toys ahead of holiday

Ticket-buying bots and cyber-scalpers came under fire last year for snatching up tickets to concerts and Broadway shows the minute they went on sale, and reselling them at exorbitant prices.

And now, they’re coming for the hottest toys of the holiday season.

From the $15 Fingerlings that have exploded in popularity to Nintendo’s NES Classic mini console, gift-givers have turned to retail sites in search of highly demanded new products only to find that they’re sold out everywhere.

Prices of the inexpensive toys have skyrocketed across the internet, as third-party sellers take advantage of the limited availability.  Fingerlings (pictured above) are among the hottest gifts this year, and have surged in price to upwards of ,000 each

Prices of the inexpensive toys have skyrocketed across the internet, as third-party sellers take advantage of the limited availability. $15 Fingerlings (pictured above) are among the hottest gifts this year, and have surged in price to upwards of $1,000 each

THIS YEAR’S TOP TOYS

A report from Senator Chuck Schumer’s office found that a number of popular toys have sold out instantly as a result of bots.

And, they’re being resold at much higher prices. This includes:

Fingerlings- Typically sell for $14.99, has been offered on Amazon and eBay for as much as $1,000 each

Super Nintendo NES Classic Edition -Sells for $79.99, available on Amazon and eBay for as much as $13,000

L.O.L. Surprise! Doll – Sells for $9.99, was available on Amazon and eBay for as much as $500.

Barbie Hello Dreamhouse, sells for $300, was available for sale on Amazon and eBay for as much as $1,500

According to a report on ‘Grinch bots’ from the office of Senator Chuck Schumer, who spearheaded the crackdown on cyber-scalpers, prices of the inexpensive toys have skyrocketed across the internet, as third-party sellers take advantage of the limited availability.

The $10 LOL Surprise! Doll, for example, has been sold out in Toys-r-us, Walmart, and Target – but, it could be found on Amazon and eBay for as much as $500.

Others have fared even worse.

WowWee’s Fingerlings – brightly-coloured toy animals that cling to your finger – typically sell for $14.99.

But, after selling out across the internet, the report found they’re now being offered for as much as $1,000 each.

The most dramatic price hike, by far, has been seen with Nintendo’s $80 NES Classic Edition, which was available on Amazon and eBay for up to $13,000.

Sen. Schumer, who has previously been outspoken about malicious bots, has slammed the practice once again, claiming they’re attempting to ‘steal Christmas.’

WowWee's Fingerlings ¿ brightly-coloured toy animals that cling to your finger ¿ typically sell for $14.99. But, after selling out across the internet from retailers such as ToysRus (as seen above), the report found they¿re now being offered for as much as $1,000 each

WowWee’s Fingerlings – brightly-coloured toy animals that cling to your finger – typically sell for $14.99. But, after selling out across the internet from retailers such as ToysRus (as seen above), the report found they’re now being offered for as much as $1,000 each

Barbie Hello Dreamhouse which sells for $300, was available for as much as $1,500. Above, it can be seen offered at nearly $700 on Amazon
The most dramatic price hike, by far, has been seen with Nintendo¿s $80 NES Classic Edition, which was available on Amazon and eBay for up to $13,000

Barbie Hello Dreamhouse, which sells for $300, was available for as much as $1,500. On the left, it can be seen on Amazon for nearly $700 from a third-party seller. Nintendo’s $80 NES Classic Edition, which was available on Amazon and eBay for up to $13,000

‘Grinch bots cannot be allowed to steal Christmas, or dollars, from the wallets of New Yorkers,’ Senator Chuck Schumer said on Sunday.

‘Middle class folks save up – a little here, a little there – working to afford the hottest gifts of the season for their kids but ever-changing technology and its challenges are making that very difficult.

‘It’s time we help restore an even playing field by blocking the bots.

‘When it comes to purchasing products online, major retailers should put forth policies that will help prevent future Grinch bots from stealing the season’s hottest toys.’

Sen. Schumer says these bots leave consumers with ¿no fair way¿ to shop, and is now calling on major retailers to employ stricter measures to prevent them from taking over

Sen. Schumer says these bots leave consumers with ‘no fair way’ to shop, and is now calling on major retailers to employ stricter measures to prevent them from taking over

Bots have been snatching up popular holiday toys, causing the products to sell out across popular retail sites. And, prices have skyrocketed

Bots have been snatching up popular holiday toys, causing the products to sell out across popular retail sites. And, prices have skyrocketed

HOW BOTS WORK – AND WHAT SITES ARE DOING TO STOP THEM

Bots are sophisticated programs used to scour websites to collect large amounts of data and often make massive purchases.

They’ve been used to buy out Broadway shows and major concerts, and are now being directed toward popular holiday toys.

The bots are programmed to guess product IDs and locate product pages, as these often go online before the product goes on sale.

They can also scan Twitter APIs (application programming interfaces) to learn about sales ahead of consumers.

As bots can automate purchases, they are able to instantly make purchase in huge amounts.

Many websites use the CAPTCHA system to spot potential robots.

Sen. Schumer, who has previously been outspoken about malicious bots, has slammed the practice once again, claiming they¿re attempting to ¿steal Christmas.¿ He's dubbed them 'Grinch bots'
The $10 LOL Surprise! Doll, for example, has been sold out in Toys-r-us, Walmart, and Target ¿ but, it could be found on Amazon and eBay for as much as $500

Sen. Schumer, who has previously been outspoken about malicious bots, has slammed the practice once again, claiming they’re attempting to ‘steal Christmas.’ He’s dubbed them ‘Grinch bots’

Such tests have become the standard; they work simply by asking you to type a phrase that a robot would find difficult to read.

This could also include GIFs, pictures, and voice recordings.

Other sites, such as Amazon, avoid the CAPTCHA tests, because it annoys customers.

Amazon recently employed a new technique to block bots

A recent report from Reuters found Amazon had by far the most sophisticated bot detection in place, both for its home page and for two popular items selected by Reuters because they change price frequently – a De’Longhi coffee maker and a Logitech webcam.

This can be used to thwart competitors, as well.

Bots rely on complex programming to guess a product’s ID and locate the product page, which typically launches a few hours before the product goes on sale, according to Consumer Reports.

They can scan Twitter APIs and automate purchases, allowing cyber-scalpers to instantly buy out products while customers manually fill out their shipping and payment details, or choose between sizes.

Sen. Schumer says these bots leave consumers with ‘no fair way’ to shop online, and is now calling on major retailers to employ stricter measures to prevent them from taking over.

Posted on; DailyMail>>

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