How a Bot Bought Dozens of RTX 3080 Units Before Consumers Could Grab Them
Based on a tweeted image, the bot was able to help one reseller score 42 units of the RTX 3080 from Nvidia’s website before it went out of stock. PC gamers everywhere tried and failed to buy Nvidia’s RTX 3080 graphics card today as units quickly sold out. But not everyone came up empty.
A group of resellers scored the RTX 3080 ahead of average consumers, thanks to an automated bot, which was capable of ordering dozens of units from Nvidia’s website instantly. The resellers have been taking to social media to praise the bot’s creator, Bounce Alerts, a group devoted to helping its members score early access to retail products, such as sneakers, so they can be resold at higher prices.
PCMag spoke to an admin of Bounce Alerts, who confirmed the group offered an automated bot to help members purchase the RTX 3080 units on launch day. For $75 a month, members get access to bots and other information to help them quickly buy retail items from companies and resell them.
“Our job at Bounce Alerts was to ensure our consumers were able to purchase the product for their needs,” the admin said.
A separate member of Bounce Alerts told PCMag the bot works as “an automated script to run basically from the product page to payment information and then to checkout.”
The script would “monitor when the product would go back into stock, and once it got alerted it was back into stock it would check out,” the member said. However, the bot did encounter a challenge: When the RTX 3080 went on sale Thursday morning, Nvidia’s website briefly went down.
“So whenever the site died, I would have to restart the script and hope for it just to get through on the next one,” the member said, later adding, “We had several members who managed to get one card, all the way to 30 cards or more.”
The member went on to estimate more than 100 people downloaded and used the bot to make orders on Nvidia’s website, nearly all of which will be resold on the secondary market. On eBay, you can already find hundreds of listings for the $699 RTX 3080 card for $1,200 to $2,000 and more.
In response, Nvidia says it’s going to manually review RTX 3080 orders made from the company’s website to try and filter out the scalpers and bots. Nvidia also told PCMag it does limit each RTX 3080 order per one customer. But BounceAlerts says it’s come up with ways to circumvent the protections.
The news may anger PC gamers who failed to buy the card at normal prices. The Nvidia forums are already flooded with angry customers, who say they never had the chance to place an order on the company’s website. “I waited up for 35 hrs waiting on this card just for bots to take over the site, that's not fair at all,” claimed one user.
But the admin for Bounce Alerts said consumers should blame the limited supplies on COVID-19 disrupting manufacturing in Asia.
“When given [the] chance, I’m sure most people would purchase more than 10+ units if they have the capital and look to make upwards of $25,000+ in one single day from [the] secondary market,” the admin said, later adding: “We hope they’re able to get on the next release!”
So don’t be surprised if a bot ends up buying the RTX 3080 before you when the stock replenishes. There’s a whole underground reseller scene devoted to snatching up the products at a moment’s notice. And according to Bounce Alerts, many people are itching to join their group.
“Like Nvidia, we’re also a high demand product and we sell out,” the admin for Bounce Alert added. “We have hundreds to thousands of users waiting for us to open the doors to invite more individuals to our group.”
Nvidia declined to comment on the activities of Bounce Alerts. But without a fix, many consumers might not be able to purchase the RTX 3080 this holiday season. In the meantime, Newegg says it’s preparing to release more units after running out of stock on launch day.