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Bots Are Not Your Customer: Competitive Price Scraping During Holiday Sales

Savvy consumers aren’t the only ones excited for Memorial Day sales. Malicious actors are gearing up their scraper bots too.

Scraper bots are used to crawl websites and steal data and content such as pricing information, product descriptions and photos. This information can then be used by marketplace competitors to undercut prices, steal sales and boost their SEO, not to mention that they can also drain resources and depreciate the user experience for legitimate traffic if not shut down sites entirely through DoS (denial of service) attacks.

This practice isn’t exactly lurking in the shadows either. Google “scraper bot” and you’ll quickly find a number of sites offering these services: scraping, web crawlers, data gathering, etc., each of them boasting that they are the best and people are taking advantage. These “bad bots” can make up over half of the traffic hitting e-commerce sites and they don’t take time off for the holidays.

An article published on Digital Commerce 360 noted that there was a spike in bot traffic just before midnight on Cyber Monday of 2016, indicating that they were preparing to target sites on the biggest online retail day of the year.

If these trends aren’t troublesome enough, the bots are evolving. Some are sophisticated enough to execute a practice called “hoarding”. Hoarding, in the bot sense not the house full of dead cats and pizza boxes sense, is a method of attack where automated bots identify hot sale items and add them to online carts. This makes the inventory appear to be depleted so actual humans cannot purchase the sale items and skews reporting statistics for the retailer.

While there is no shortage of bots, there is also no shortage of companies claiming that they can solve all of your bot problems. So how do retailers cut through the noise? Pick the company that is evolving faster than the rest. Oracle Dyn Bot Manager uses all of the traditional bot mitigation and management techniques plus advanced methods such as the Human Interaction Challenge, Device Fingerprinting and Bot Traffic Shaping.


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Whois: Rebecca Carter

Rebecca Carter is a Product Marketing Manager at Oracle Dyn Global Business Unit, a pioneer in managed DNS and a leader in cloud-based infrastructure that connects users with digital content and experiences across a global internet.

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