Reading, Writing & Online Bots: Stymie Teens’ Reseller Gigs Schools Reopened


It turns out that reopening schools is disrupting the cash flow of industrious teens who spent the pandemic picking up in-demand goods via robots and reselling them for a big profit.

“Yes, I’m back to school. Yes, it’s very boring, ”said an American high school student named Dillon, who regularly buys video game consoles and graphics cards with automated robots.

“I’m in math and drawing class with my computer open, and I’m told to turn it off for a while. [product] sometimes fall, ”he told PCMag in an interview.

Dillon may be young, but he’s one of the legion of online scalpers who have spent the pandemic at home buying and reselling the tech world’s most wanted products. “I would say around $ 10,000 to $ 12,500 on average per month,” he told PCMag. “Some months it would be exponentially higher, others lower.”

Several PS5s that Dillon bought using his bots.

Using automated bots he bought and installed on his computer and information from other online retailers, Dillon scooped up products like the PlayStation 5 before other consumers and sold them for prizes. swollen.

But lately the resale of Dillon has encountered a problem. After months of being out of high school due to the pandemic, he is now back in the classroom, where computer use can be strictly controlled.

“When everything was closed [during the pandemic], I could do whatever I wanted because I was doing my home schooling, ”he said. But with the return of classroom teaching, Dillon says his profits have now fallen by about 25%.

Dillon is not alone. The pandemic has inspired people of all ages trapped at home to try to resell products online, according to a dealer called Atlas. “The government sends you money. You don’t leave your house. You own a computer. Things have definitely exploded one hundred percent during COVID,” Atlas said, noting that he is now making more money by reselling that as a mechanical engineer.

However, teenage kicking appears to be on the decline. Resellers often chat online through so-called “cook groups,” where they share tips and information about bots and when retailers will restock products. Atlas is the founder of such a group of cooks called Drop, and he’s noticed a decrease in user activity since schools started reopening in August and September.

“The school has had a huge impact on the space,” he said. “Many small groups have died out, or [they’re] too busy with their studies.

You can see this in the discussion forums for Drip and other cook groups. “Dead cat. Guess everyone at school now. Summer is over, ”wrote one user earlier this month.

“Fall times are always in my AP classes,” wrote another.

Drip group messages

Publications in cook’s groups on adolescent retailers returning to school.

“This summer there would be new cook groups every day,” Atlas added. “It’s now going the other way. Small groups cannot afford to keep the [botting] software in their servers or their members no longer pay due to school.

However, teen scalpers are only part of the entire resale ecosystem; many other resellers are students or adults. For example, another group of cooks called House of the wagons told PCMag that its membership is mostly 20 to 40-year-olds, so it hasn’t seen a major drop in activity. In fact, membership in the group is on the rise, a representative of the group said.

Others, like EasyRentals, a site that lets you rent automated bots, predict that teens will dive back into online scalping once the holiday shopping season begins.

“It has slowed down a bit over the past month due to the lack of [new product] going out and going to school might be a small factor, ”said Astrit Llabjani, founder of EasyRentals. “But now that we are getting closer to the holidays, it will start again. Most students have laptops on which they remotely access their home computers or cloud servers where they run these bots.

EasyRentals says it currently has over 10,000 users, up from 2,500 users in September 2019, when the site first started. “Every now and then I talk to parents who let their kids use their credit cards to rent robots,” Llabjani added, citing support tickets he has received in a handful of cases. (He also pointed out that he doesn’t like the word “scalping” and prefers the terminology “dealer” or “sneakerhead,” a reference to people who use robots to buy limited edition sneakers.)

Please sir, can I have a PS5?

A bot successfully buying products

An unknown scalper showing his bot successfully buying PS5 models. (Twitter @SuccessStellar)

Indeed, teenage dealer Dillon told PCMag that he continues to buy products, including the PS5 and Xbox Series X in school, thanks to his robots. The automated software is sold online for hundreds of dollars by various developers. Once set up, bots can constantly check retailers, such as Walmart, for product restockings, and then purchase them as they become available.

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Dillon said he would ideally like to monitor his bots at school to make sure they are functioning properly. “I once had an incident where [the bot] checked the wrong product, ”he said. Another time, the retailer changed the inventory management unit (SKU) of a product, which prevented their bot from placing an order.

Dillon, who began scalping after eighth year and before the pandemic, did not provide his full name. But he showed PCMag a screenshot of his internet account for his school’s network and a redacted version of his student ID card to prove he’s still in high school. He plans to use the profits from his resale to pay for his studies.

In addition to kicking for electronics, Dillon also buys and resells sneakers, sports cards and even swimming pools, which were in demand during the pandemic. It will also try to exploit pricing errors on retail websites, where products can be purchased for $ 0. For example, a pricing error allowed him to acquire many offices without spending a dime. He then resold them for a profit of $ 14,000.

A bunch of free desktops that Dillon acquired following a pricing error.

A bunch of free desktops that Dillon acquired following a pricing error.

But don’t expect Dillon to feel morally in conflict with his side job. He dismissed ethical concerns that his kicking was taking products away from consumers and driving up prices.

Critics “are babies and overreact,” Dillon said. “It’s just supply and demand.”

“Why not get angry at the skyrocketing prices for wood and gas? Timber prices have skyrocketed due to a shortage of timber. Same idea when the prices of consoles and GPUs have skyrocketed in times of shortage. Supply and demand, ”he added.

Others point out that even if all teens stopped bots for products, adult resellers would simply fill the void. In addition, “as more and more people start to realize that homework is more important, the developers (developers) of these robots are getting smarter and smarter, so the competition only gets harder even with a lot less people running, ”another scalper teenager told PCMag on Twitter.

It is difficult to say how many dealers are involved in product kicking. But a site called Bot Mart has over 178,000 registered members in its Discord chat room.

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