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AMD Store's Anti-Bot Measures Are No Match For GPU Scalpers

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(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Graphics card-snatching bots continue to plague nearly all e-tailers as they become more sophisticated, and one frustrated shopper has managed to track down a bot that seems to have found a way around AMD.com's protections, thus preventing them from purchasing a graphics card. 

As we've seen elsewhere, online shoppers have been fighting a losing battle against scalper bots in Europe. Redditor DifficultEstimate7 shared their story of how they and some friends have been trying to secure an AMD GPU from the weekly drop for over four months. Despite awaiting graphics card drops poised with mouse, keyboard, and credit card details at hand, they have been defeated by bots such as the Vuurvlieg AMD Companion script, time and again.

DifficultEstimate7 and friends are understandably frustrated by the AMD store's stock vanishing in front of their eyes. Unfortunately, even if they have managed to get through to the checkout screen, they have found that stock has evaporated before they can make a payment. AMD has implemented anti-bot protection for its store, but it is obviously being bypassed.

(Image credit: DifficultEstimate7 on Reddit)

The Redditor believes he has found the source of the issue. The picture you see above was discovered by DifficultEstimate7 in a Discord channel where the AMD EU stock situation was being discussed. It purports to show that a script dubbed the 'Vuurvlieg AMD Companion' managed to secure 214 graphics cards.

AMD dropped a total of 350 graphics cards at the last drop, according to the source. That means this bot snatched up about 64% of the GPUs released, and there's no telling what other scripts or bots were fired off at the same time.

You might ask yourself why the redditor didn't purpose a script/bot to do the necessary work for them? Yes, they had already thought of this, but the apparently very successful 'Vuurvlieg AMD Companion' is donationware and isn't accepting new users. Perhaps the script's author got a very nice donation, and it would be too expensive for ordinary customers to be worthwhile. In some ways, this raises parallels to the Best Buy $199 'GPU paywall,' as it really isn't worth the investment for a single ordinary customer.

Being in the market for a GPU isn't a situation that many PC gamers, enthusiasts, or DIYers will have relished for many months. Rather than enjoying the pleasure of choice, the current situation has folks looking at what (if anything) they can get, what multiple of MSRP will they have to pay, or what will tide them over until GPU availability and pricing becomes more reasonable. Scalper bots continue to exacerbate the issue as they become more sophisticated, so web stores like AMD.com will have to respond in kind if we expect to see some normalcy anytime soon.  

Mark Tyson
Mark Tyson

Mark Tyson is a Freelance News Writer at Tom's Hardware US. He enjoys covering the full breadth of PC tech; from business and semiconductor design to products approaching the edge of reason.

  • bigdragon
    AMD needs to sell their GPUs via Steam or Epic. Sell the GPUs on gamer storefronts where account age, number of games, hours spent gaming, and more can be used to distinguish real gamers from the scalpers and miners. Limit the purchases to a single GPU of any make/model per every 6 months. Nobody can beat the bots based on behavior alone. Leverage all those account metrics and gamer-focused storefronts to get the gaming hardware to the people who will actually use it for gaming.
    Reply
  • warhorus
    I know it's not a panacea, but I really feel like it would take a ton of wind out of the scalpers' sails if AMD, Nvidia, et al., would institute back-ordering on top of all the other restrictions. This wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't a free for all every time there was a drop. If they had backordering, even if only enabled during drop windows, then everyone who couldn't get a card during the drop would get a card before the next drop the scalpers would gobble up.
    Reply
  • Kridian
    Track 'em down. Kill 'em all.
    Reply
  • gdmaclew
    Just stop buying from the scalpers. 100% guaranteed to stop this practice right in its tracks.
    Reply
  • VforV
    gdmaclew said:
    Just stop buying from the scalpers. 100% guaranteed to stop this practice right in its tracks.
    I think besides scalpers that bought dozens or more GPUs at a time, a lot of them were miners that bought for their (mini) farms. So in that case there would be no need for them to sell (not soon anyway).
    Reply
  • Ogotai
    " Just stop buying from the scalpers. 100% guaranteed to stop this practice right in its tracks. "

    i see this or similar posted and mentioned a lot, too bad, its easier said then done
    Reply
  • InvalidError
    gdmaclew said:
    Just stop buying from the scalpers. 100% guaranteed to stop this practice right in its tracks.
    As long as crypto miners think they can still turn a profit even at scalper prices, they will continue to buy. Confidence in doing so is faltering and that is why street prices are trending down.
    Reply
  • samopa
    Why they don't use CAPTCHA and its variant ? This technology already exist for a long time, and easy enough to implements using any language.
    Reply
  • InvalidError
    samopa said:
    Why they don't use CAPTCHA and its variant ? This technology already exist for a long time, and easy enough to implements using any language.
    There are CAPTCHA bypass services out there. The only people CAPTCHA will stop is people who cannot afford to pay someone else to solve them in bulk using either humans or AI models, possibly both to use humans to train AIs.
    Reply