原文：Automated purchasing bots, also known as "sneaker bots," "click bots," "Instacart bots" and other names, are ruining the online shopping and gig economy experience for both consumers and workers. These bots can cause considerable damage to a mobile business' reputation and bottom line.
As their namesake indicates, these bots were originally developed to automate the purchase of sneakers, enabling collectors and hoarders (who will resell them at a 10x or more markup) to buy mass quantities of the latest releases and squeeze out ordinary customers. As a result, for example, when Nike releases a new shoe, it can be almost impossible for individuals to beat the bots and purchase a pair for themselves online.
But these automated transaction bots are now used for far more than just sneakers. Airlines, e-commerce and events sites, and even rideshare companies all suffer from bots that scrape information and hoard products, damaging the targeted company's brand and making it difficult for consumers to buy goods and services.
These bots are easy to get. Both the Apple App Store and Google Play provide them for downloading, along with many other websites. For example, Instacart bots are third-party apps that run alongside the legitimate Instacart app and claim the best orders immediately as they are posted on the app, making it practically impossible for human shoppers to get access to most lucrative orders.
The problem is growing. According to Imperva, bad bots made up nearly a quarter of overall website traffic in 2019. Although laptops can certainly run bots, apps are where the action is. Pew Research Center reports that 74 percent of households own a computer and 84 percent have a smartphone. But when it comes to usage, mobile dominates. More than half of worldwide Internet traffic last year came from mobile devices, and U.S. consumers spent about 40 percent more time using their smartphones than they did their desktops and laptops.