The world of Disney collectibles is a competitive one. So competitive that many Disney fans are finding that the item that they so desperately want to purchase is sold out the instant it goes live on the shopDisney website. The most recent example of that is the Joe Rohde limited release ear hat. Eager Disney fans waited for the link to go live on shopDisney.com to buy the ear hats only to find the stock virtually instantly marked as “sold out”.
How could it be possible that an item could sell out so quickly? Of course, longtime shoppers have seen this play out before with popular releases. It’s nearly impossible for a human to snag up the supply in an instant – enter the bots.
Perhaps the most well known bot from the Joe Rohde ear hat debacle is one called the IHOF, or International House of Fun. According to their website, they have 24/7 monitors for hard-to-obtain collectibles. They monitor a variety of online stores, but shopDisney appears to be a gold mine for members of their site looking to flip the product for a profit. Of course, sending out a notification when stock is available for a collectible doesn’t seem too extreme of an offense on its own. Perhaps the most concerning service that IHOF provides is something they call an “Auto-Checkout Slot”. Here’s their description of the service:
Don’t worry about having to compete with bots. On hyped releases that are usually botted and hard to checkout, we provide auto-checkout slots on our bots to help you secure the item you want with ease.
It’s this auto-checkout slot that appears to be responsible for the nearly instant “sell out” of the Joe Rohde ear hat. IHOF isn’t shy about it’s intentions, either. On the site, they market their service as one that provides advice and tips to resellers for “hot new items that can give you a pretty profit! Increase your sales with us if you’re looking to learn more about reselling”.
Going back to the recent Joe Rohde ear hat, IHOF tweeted that they had an early link for members to secure the purchase before the general public.
IHOF members were happy to secure the ear hat thanks to the service that put the general public at an almost impossible disadvantage.
Looking through the replies to the original tweet, Twitter users have tagged shopDisney to make them aware of the situation. A cursory glance at eBay reveals many of the flipped Joe Rohde ears sold for more than $300. The IHOF twitter page states that their service is $40 per month and includes the automated checkout.
This isn’t the first time a shopDisney item has sold out in seconds, and it likely won’t be the last time unless shopDisney acts to shut down bots and other automation that puts their fans at a disadvantage to eBay resellers.