New York Comic Con took place over the past weekend. Some people (who won a lottery) were able to buy Pop! figures from Funko’s booth at the con, while others waited online to purchase from Funko’s “Pop Up Shop” website. One of the most anticipated items, limited to a production run of 500 pieces, is a Funko Pop! figure that bears the likeness, and name, of Guardians of the Galaxy Director James Gunn.
Online shoppers of Funko’s Pop Up Shop had no idea what days or times exclusive NYCC items would be released. Instead, they camped out on their computers, tablets, and smartphones, refreshing the page until a new exclusive item was released. Some items, such as Pop Animation: Speedy Gonzales, sold out in less than a couple of minutes while other items like Pop Television: Trollhunters – Stone Aaarrrgghh!!! didn’t sell out as Funko may have hoped for.
Sunday morning at almost (but not quite) 11:30 am Pacific time, Funko put the James Gunn Pops up for sale. From what we have heard, there were only about 100 that went up for online purchase, while the remaining 400(ish) went to Funko’s booth at NYCC. Needless to say, most who attempted to buy online (including myself) were greeted with an out of stock message before checkout could be completed. They were gone in seconds!
Naturally, people were shocked, upset and vented online about it. But Twitter user @ernnytheman had a different take on things. Apparently, @ernnytheman was able to place orders for 50 of the James Gunn figures and decided to brag about it on social media:
Funko only limits the NYCC collectibles to 1 per person, but somehow this individual had not only found a way around that but also managed to snag 50 (of the possible 100) that were for sale in one fell swoop. How did they pull it off you ask? SNEAKERBOTS. Basically, it’s an app (called a bot) that will hit a retailer’s website looking for a certain item. It will do this repeatedly until the item it’s looking for is available and then “add to cart” (or ATC) and check out. This is all programmed into the bot beforehand, so the transaction takes place in less than a second once the item becomes available for purchase.
Some people would argue that adding a captcha (which is supposed to prevent bots) would help.
As of last night, it appears Funko did finally put a captcha in place, but @ernnytheman brags he can get around this.
The James Gunn Funko Pops were shortly up on eBay after they sold out and currently range in price from $250.00 – $1,000.00
Hopefully, Funko is doing the right thing here and will be able to track the orders back to the ones who clearly violated their terms and purchased multiples, causing this issue. If they do manage to do this and cancel the orders, it will be anyone’s guess as to whether they offer them up again later for purchase.
[EDIT] – LOTS of people reading this article, which is what I hoped for. My point was to try and raise awareness here. Didn’t even think to mention that I’m still looking for a James Gunn Funko Pop for my collection. If you, or anyone else you know, acquired one and is open to sell or trade, leave a comment below to let me know.