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Nike Cracks Down on Unethical Sneaker Resale Practices

The revised guidelines aim at preventing bots from purchasing footwear en masse on the brand’s SNKRS app and retail site.

The vicious process of obtaining sneakers might (thankfully) be coming to an end.

Nike announced new protocols this month that aim to combat automated platforms from denying actual humans the ability to purchase footwear. The Wall Street Journal first reported the revised guidelines on Tuesday.

The Swoosh said in its full amended conditions that it can cancel unusual orders “placed with automated ordering software or technology.” They also mention an additional cost for restocking, denying refunds, or suspending user accounts that the company suspects could be purchasing sneakers, clothing, and other merch with an objection to reselling them past their market value. Finally, products that surpass purchase limits determined by Nike could also be canceled.

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The act of buying, reselling, and collecting sneakers has increased substantially in recent years. Though longtime sneakerheads have understood the impact of footwear in culture, entertainment, and sports for decades, there’s an ugly side to the industry as well.

As of late, bots have emerged with the sole purpose of acquiring shoes in bulk to resell at a higher rate on a third-party site. If one covets a pair of kicks in a discontinued colorway, then paying a premium is perhaps one’s only option. Per the Journal, Nike’s earnings in the year ending May 31 came in at $46.7 billion.

Patrick Sullivan, chief technology officer at Akamai Technologies, Inc., predicted to the Wall Street Journal that in the future, brands could find methods to determine buyers using automatic programs by comparing similar shipping addresses for numerous orders. For an added layer of security, he forecasts retailers will also implement proof of identification on certain orders.

Bots aren’t only targeting the sneaker industry. Ticketmaster recently introduced Smart Queue, a three-step policy for the ethical transactions of concert tickets, sporting events, and more.

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