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If you go to the shopDisney Facebook page, you will find hundreds of angry comments from Disney fans who have been unable to secure some of this year’s hottest items. High demand items such as the “Star Wars Day Key”, “Minnie Mouse Main Attraction Tiki Room Ear Headband”, and even the “Nurses Day Disney Mouseketeer Ear Hat Pin 2020” have disappeared off of the shop Disney website within seconds of their launch. Minutes later, the items appear on popular resale websites, such as EBay, with extreme markups. For example, the Ahsoka Tano Minnie Mouse Ear Headband, which sold on shopDisney for $78 can be found for $400 on eBay. Diehard Disney fans, desperate for the merchandise, are shelling out the cash, but others are angry, asking Disney how this keeps happening.
It’s not hard to determine that the problem is automated bots. These are programs where users input their information, and the program automatically inputs it into the checkout form, faster than humanly possible. Some people just use them to get a singular item that they know will sell out, but others use them to purchase multiples of the item. They then turn around and resell it for a markup. The harder it was to get, the higher the price. One such program, International House of Fun, charges users $40/month, and not only allows purchasers access to the bots, it also tells them what items are going to be high demand. This obviously puts Disney fans just wanting a collectible at a disadvantage, but what can be done about it?
Disney is aware that there is a problem, and already limits the number of each item that can be purchased per transaction, but it’s obvious that stricter measures need to be put in place. The short term solution is to report any resellers to both Disney and the website they are selling it on. However, legal options against resellers rarely produce results, and unlike items such as concert tickets, which can be voided if resold, and made unusable, once the products are out there, there is nothing that can be done. One solution though, that shows promise for other websites, is to put CAPTCHAS in place. Those “choose all the fire hydrant” images, are a great deterrent against bots. Computer software doesn’t have the ability to decipher them yet, so they are the number 1 defense against bots.
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Hopefully soon, shopDisney will put some form of security measure in place, as there is some fun new merchandise coming up for the Minnie Mouse the Main Attraction June collection. Until then, have you managed to snag any hard to get merchandise without an outrageous price tag?