Exploring How Nike Combats 'Sneakerbots'

There’s a lot to the sneaker game. It’s one thing to cop your favorite releases for personal

Footwear
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There’s a lot to the sneaker game. It’s one thing to cop your favorite releases for personal collections – it’s a whole other beast in the resale market. This audience knows this well, and at the upper level of Nike’s distribution department, the conversation is likely a hot topic as well. What complicates the situation are bots that scour releases and snatch them up before actual humans can, allowing those in control of said bots to hoard a supply before the general market has an option to buy. Fusion writer Felix Salmon explores this phenomenon in-depth with “Robot Wars,” which details Nike’s current solution – limiting some releases to purely physical stock – as well as the ways in which it simultaneously empowers the ‘grey’ market of eBay and other sites. An essential read for those involved in the sneaker community, check a key quote below and head here to read the full article.

“When Nike releases a sneaker online, they have a very good idea how many people are going to go online trying to buy the shoes. So here’s the easy thing for Nike to do: if they want to just get these editions into the hands of the super-fan sneakerheads, without forcing thousands of people to pay a massive premium to sneaker-scalpers, then they should just increase the edition size so that most of those people will manage to snag a pair. At that point, demand will start falling dramatically (since the sneakerheads who wanted a pair will already have got one), and the opportunity to flip the shoes at a profit will naturally disappear.

Instead of that, however, Nike is not increasing the number of shoes that it sells, preferring to make ominous statements about how it doesn’t “authorize the use of automation or scripting methods intended to offer any shopper an unfair advantage”, and threatening to “refuse or cancel” any order which it finds out was placed by a bot.

Which is a bit silly, because Nike knows better than anybody that use of bots is a sign of fandom. Show me a fan who managed to get his hands on one of these sneakers at launch, directly from the website, and I’ll show you a fan who used a bot.”

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