Nike CEO says company has been working on anti-bot technology

Gelo Gonzales

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Nike CEO says company has been working on anti-bot technology

NIKE. Bots have also been used to procure other items online that are in limited quantities such as PS5 an Xbox Series X consoles

Gelo Gonzales/Rappler

John Donahoe speaks at internal meeting after a Bloomberg report detailed the sneaker reselling business of a son of one Nike executive

Nike CEO John Donahoe in an internal meeting said the company had been “working on anti-bot technology for the last several years,” according to a report by lifestyle website Complex.

“That is part of the solution, but we need to double down our efforts,” said the executive, referring to problems being created by the sneaker reselling business and the company’s limited edition shoe releases.

Regular customers nowadays compete with resellers snagging pairs to sell for a profit, exacerbated by automated bots that can get pairs faster when limited edition shoes are put up for sale on a shopping website or by internal employee connections at physical retail outlets.

The internal meeting was reportedly held on Monday, March 8, US time, weeks after a story by Bloomberg reported that the son of Ann Hebert had used her credit card to fund his sneaker reselling business.

The 19-year-old Joe Hebert told Bloomberg there had been an instance where he gathered more than 15 people to swarm a website along with bots that supposedly bypassed a system designed to limit purchases to one pair per customer. Hebert said that he was able to purchase $132,000 worth of Yeezy sneakers, which he resold for a total profit of $20,000.

In 2019, the global sneaker resale market was estimated at $6 billion, according to Cowen Equity Research.

The report raised questions about the use of connections in the reselling industry. The teen denied receiving insider information from his mother, who resigned from Nike after the Bloomberg report.

Heidi O’Neill, Nike’s president of consumer and marketplace, also spoke in the meeting, saying that Ann Hebert had “demonstrated poor judgment.” While Hebert disclosed her son’s business in 2018, Nike said she hadn’t been able to update the company about the business’ growth or whether it had been following Nike policies on reselling, and family and employee relationships.

Donahoe also said that it plans to update its policies surrounding the matter. – Rappler.com

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Gelo Gonzales

Gelo Gonzales is Rappler’s technology editor. He covers consumer electronics, social media, emerging tech, and video games.