Size? Is a UK based chain part of the JD Sports group (inc Footpatrol) with numerous locations around the UK with a mix of in-store releases and online releases. Today we are going to be focusing on the Previews app which was launched in 2017. I feel like it is a good exercise to not only look at what raffles are doing well but also those that are just so far off the mark.
The app in theory is quite a nice idea, it allows you to have all your payment details, shipping and size for the shoe release pre-selected. You have the ability to add a shoe to your bookmark so you can be sure you wont miss the launch with a notification and then you come back for the launch and you wait for the countdown timer and checkout.
But.. and I say but with a huge inhale of air, this would be if it worked. Due to the nature of JD, Size and Footpatrol all being under one company they all use the same backend system known as ‘Mesh’.
— SneakerCopter (@SneakerCopter) May 23, 2018
The Previews app is considered one of the easiest systems to currently bot where this comes into play is that Footpatrol can be accessed through their website (the frontend) which is where you or I would try to purchase a pair from but then the bots would access the Footpatrol backend (The Mesh network) and Footpatrol can try to filter out the people who accessed via the backend to see who were a legitimate user on the frontend.
As you can only access through an app it’s difficult for them to distinguish between a real user on the app and a person using a bot. These bot’s use multiple techniques one is the use of Proxies which the bot will send thousands of tasks through and the proxy will mask who is making these requests and from where this means its very easy for the bots to just flood the server and hoover up all the pairs.
The basis for most of this review is focused on the ability to bot the app, as explained above it is incredibly easy for bots to cheat the system. If you are a normal user just accessing the app on one phone you are going up against a lot of bots. Not to say it’s impossible, I still see lots of people getting lucky on releases but the bots always eat up the majority of pairs.
The countdown timer will hit zero, the checkout button will appear and almost instantly all the stock will be sold out. The best option is to wait for 15-30 mins after the release for the anti-bot system to claw back a few pairs and put them back on the app this is where I tend to see more legitimate users copping pairs.
It seems to be pretty obvious that in the case of the Size Previews app they do not seem bothered enough to implement features to stop the mass use of bots. They have an anti-bot system and the fact it isn’t very effective says a lot. Size also has no public opinions on re-selling.
Overall I have to give Size the lowest rating possible. I give them marks for having a great concept and a well-designed app. The idea of having all your data preloaded and just having to tap checkout is a very cool idea which saves you maniacally typing you credit card details and address for each release. But this is all thrown out the window for the fact it’s almost impossible to beat the bots in this current version of the app. This leads me to say I would not bother even downloading the app unless there is a Size exclusive release, but after that just delete it.