…bots" are software used to automate the online checkout process,...
…Although the infrastructure for buying sneakers has scaled, the supply has not. So sneakerheads use bots to fight for a better place in line, online. These bots automate the checkout process, saving the user's shoe preference, size, and credit card payment information. This way, users can speed through the checkout process the instant a sneaker is released.
People are willing to pay for bots—which range from $10 browser extensions to $500 standalone software programs—because the resale value is often much higher on secondary markets, such as StockX, the "stock market" for sneakers.
…An Internet bot, also known as a web robot, robot or simply bot, is a software application that runs automated tasks (scripts) over the Internet. Typically, bots perform tasks that are both simple and structurally repetitive, at a much higher rate than would be possible for a human alone. The largest use of bots is in web spidering (web crawler), in which an automated script fetches, analyzes and files information from web servers at many times the speed of a human. More than half of all web traffic is made up of bots.
…"Sneaker bots have a really big community. They're probably one of the more popular bot communities out there," said Ali Mesdaq, director of digital risk engineering at cybersecurity company Proofpoint. "There's storefronts; there's markets online; there's so many places."