The ethical and legal questions surrounding sneaker bots have been the debate of the decade. It’s a tale as old as time. Although sneaker bots facilitate copping the latest hot sneaker releases, one must wonder, are they ethical? We have already settled the long debate on whether sneaker botting is legal or not, and for the time being, it IS legal. However, not everything legal is ethical. Relax, I’m not gonna go full Socrates on you, we’re just gonna go through some sneaker botting ethics!
What Is a Sneaker Bot?
First, Let’s get a recap on what sneaker bots actually do. A sneaker bot, or a shoe bot, is a software program that automates the process of buying limited-edition sneakers. These bots are primarily used by resellers and sneakerheads who wish to buy sought-after sneakers either for personal use or to resell them at a higher price.
You can see where this might become a problem. Most sneaker websites only let users buy a single pair of limited-edition sneakers. Which, some might consider inherently unfair. What sneaker bots do is allow users to cop more than one sneaker in a single click! Again, this might also seem unfair to some, since it gives an unfair advantage to resellers and can ultimately lead to inflated prices.
Retailers, however, said a big fat “No you can’t” to bot users, and implemented measures to detect and deter bots. Can you blame them?
So, you see, there is no clear answer surrounding sneaker botting ethics, because it’s a subjective matter. So, in order to give you all the information you need to decide whether you want to use sneaker bots or not, we’ll go through all the claims that support them and the claims that don’t. Buckle up, you’re in for an ethical ride!
Let’s Get Into Some Sneaker Botting Ethics!
To say that sneaker bots are not ethical from the get-go is an assumption. Why? Because in ethics, there’s always a fine line between what is considered good, and what is considered bad. In the end, some ethical questions are objective, while others are subjective. For example, to completely STEAL a pair of Dunks is objectively bad. However, to use a bot to cop more than one pair of Dunks is subjectively bad and good.
Let’s see some of the arguments against and in favor of sneaker bots.
Arguments Against Botting: The Ethics Police
Heads up, the ethics police is here. Arguments against the use of sneaker botting usually come from retailers and users who feel at a disadvantage. Let’s have a look at what they are.
The most known argument against sneaker bots is the unfair advantage they give resellers. This advantage creates an uneven playing field between users, where genuine sneakerheads who aim to buy sneakers for personal use face difficulties due to bots quickly securing the majority of available stock. This is because bots can complete checkouts within seconds, they are bots after all! This makes it impossible for regular -manual- users to compete with bots’ speed and efficiency.
An obvious sneaker botting ethics problem would be that sneaker bots violate many websites’ policies. Most sneaker websites ban the use of bots in their terms of service. So, by using these bots, users are violating the terms and conditions that maintain fairness and prevent automated purchases.
Market Manipulation and Reputation Damage
Generally speaking, botters bot sneaker sites to get ahold of as many pairs as possible. And as with all industries, there’s power in numbers. So sneakerheads with the highest number of pairs can easily manipulate or influence the aftermarket value of any pair. Think about it, if I score 100 pairs of Panda Dunks and wasn’t able to sell them fast enough, I’d probably go below average market price. Which eventually will hurt other resellers. Or maybe list most pairs at a very inflated price, leading other sellers to increase their prices as well. Quite unethical!
There’s also the reputation damage that Nike suffers from regularly. Where Buyers avoid purchasing from a site that’s easily bottable, to actually stand a chance at getting a pair or more. In the long run, this will result in a drop in traffic and sales on such websites!
Arguments In Favor of Botting: The Bot Preachers
Just like how there are many arguments against sneaker bots, there are many arguments that support their usage. Here is where it is evident that sneaker botting ethics are rather subjective. Let’s check them out.
Efficiency and Convenience
Let’s face it, it’s far more efficient to cop limited-edition sneakers using a bot than by doing it manually. Bots automate the purchasing process, which saves time and effort for sneakerheads that genuinely want to buy sneakers for personal use! Using sneaker bots raises the chances of securing limited-edition releases in a competitive race.
More often than not, sneaker websites restrict limited-edition drops geographically. This takes away the opportunity for international sneakerheads to get their hands on their favorite pairs of sneakers! Which is kind of unfair. Sneaker botting gives global access to these limited-edition releases by using proxies! This promotes inclusivity and broadens the reach of sneaker culture worldwide.
Economic Contribution and Price Transparency
In some cases, using sneaker bots is considered a form of entrepreneurship. Resellers who acquire limited sneakers through bots may generate income and contribute to the economy. This is generally seen as a good ethical approach to sneaker botting. In addition, sneaker bots can stabilize prices by revealing certain sneakers’ true demand and value.
So, what’s the verdict on sneaker botting ethics? Are they good practice, or inherently bad? As seen above, sneaker botting is a matter of subjective opinion that can be influenced by many factors such as fairness, market dynamics, and personal values. Always consider the larger impact that sneaker botting has on the community when evaluating the ethical implications of bot usage. Other than that, they can be subjectively ethical!