Can lockerz redemption ever be free of bots?

Lockerz have 17 million members (at least 2-3 million active members) who all try to compete at same time to get few prizes that have been put up for grabs at the time of redemptions. To redeem a prized in Lockerz redemptions you have to do following things.

  1. Present at the time when redemption starts
  2. Enter your username, password and reCaptcha at the login page
  3. Select the prize you want.
  4. Enter the your complete address details (at least 10 Fields)
  5. Enter the reCaptcha and click redeem now
  6. Recently they have added math problem which is another Captcha that you need to fill

Now, to perform all these steps an normal user will need at least 25-30seconds provided if he/she has ultra fast typing skill and practiced a lot through simulators available out there.

What is a BOT?
A BOT is a software program that helps you to reduce the number of steps that you need to perform to redeem a prize, by auto filling values in number of fields. Now a days BOTS are more than auto fillers. They alert you when a redemption starts and sometimes even before the redemption actually starts and in some cases even selects the prize for you.

What does it mean?
That means that it is near impossible for a normal user ( :( sad but true)to redeem good prizes because these bots reduce the redeeming time to as low as 7 seconds. The only thing a normal user can redeem is gift cards because people with BOT go for expensive prize.

Now, as the number of people with BOTS increase the chances of getting gift card goes down significantly.

How does a BOT work?
A BOT goes to the lockerz server periodically and checks for certain things such as an image. For example the URL for PTZ Place is http://ptzplace.lockerz.com . If you visit this URL now you will see a different image than you see at the time of  redemption.  A BOT keeps looking for these changes and as soon as it detects a change it sounds an alert and it does same thing to auto fill fields, select prizes. To auto fill a first name it will search for string with First Name on the page and provide appropriate value to the field.

That is why whenever lockerz has changed something on their site such as introducing a new Captcha BOTS have failed.

So, now the big question is

Can Lockerz redemption ever be free of BOTS?
For a BOT to fail Lockerz has to change something significant on their PTZ Place every redemption because now when they change something it is continued for some time and bots are updated to accommodate for this change. However this is easier said than done.
As a software engineer I know that changing something in stable and running application carries a significant risk. It requires lot of planning and testing before you can be sure that what you changed will work as expected (This explains lot of glitches that they experience after they change something). So, theoretically it is possible to change something every redemption but practically it is not possible.

Sadly, BOTS will exist and will win till the time lockerz redemption are done. So, it is better to join hands with BOTS than to oppose them.

Is it not possible for lockerz to identify if it is a normal user of BOT?
Technically BOTS perform all the functions just like a normal user would the only difference is the time taken for these actions 7 seconds VS 30 Seconds. Lockerz have come a long way since they started and introduced a lot of measures to counter and identify bots such as timers at login and shipping page but BOTS have been updated regularly to overcome these measures. BOTS are affected only in the redemption in which these are introduced and practically it is not possible change something every redemption.

Is there no hope for normal user?
Well, significance of BOTS will greatly reduce with this 24/7 auction style redemptions and a normal user can accumulate PTZ and use them in auctions. What role will BOTS play in these auction will only be known after 24/7 goes live (which hopefully be soon). Till that happens BOTS are the only chance you have got to redeem a good prize.

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