How to Set Up a Playstation, XBox , Nvidia, AMD Alert System
Don’t get the wrong idea from the featured image, I’m not advocating to consign your child to refresh duty.
If you’re anything like me then you’ve been locked up to varying degrees all year while anticipating all of the new tech that 2020 has to offer. Whether you’re interested in a Playstation 5, an XBox Series X, or next gen PC hardware, it doesn’t matter…you’re probably just as dejected and lost in the war against scalpers and bots as I am.
Well, fortunately I’ve found a solution to the problem that does not cost money, requires no technical skills, and will save me from the daily (hourly?) grind of refreshing a slew of product pages.
In this article, I’ll guide you through the system I’m using to give myself a fighting chance in the dog-eat-dog world of buying 2020 tech. We’re going to be using three tools: Twitter, Zapier, and your cellphone for a free and easy alert system.
Before we dive into setup, I want to explain the cause of the problem those who may not be as tech oriented and read up on what’s actually happening behind the scenes with the lack of supply. See, given the scarcity and demand of this year’s new tech, there’s a huge market for turning a profit via scalping on eBay or any other trading site.
To give themselves a competitive advantage, scalpers have turned to technology by employing bots (automated programs) to continually refresh product pages and even go as far as purchasing the item automagically.
So you’re literally competing against a computer whose sole purpose is to scan for availability and purchase when found in the blink of an eye (it’s actually faster than that).
We’re going to join them (sort of) by leaning on people who for whatever reason — benevolence, curiosity, or their own desire to skim off the top with affiliate links — have created similar alert bots that publish to the world.
Setting Up Twitter
For those of us who have been living under a rock, Twitter is one of the largest social media platforms in the world. It is used for a variety of functions, but in this context we’re going to use it as our source of stock alerts.
Industrious engineers have set up their own bots to scan the interwebs for availability. However, instead of keeping the secret to themselves, they’ve chosen to broadcast this information to the masses in hopes of getting tech in the hands of the consumers who want it.
One such bot/Twitter account is @BotRTX who is a digital employ of StockDrops.net Now, all we need to do is follow the Twitter account because we’ll be using this in the next step. Depending on what you’re looking for and the country that you live in, you may find different bots are more suitable. Just search Twitter for things like “PS5 stock” or “Ryzen bot” and look through their tweet history to see if it matches with your criteria. Follow them, then log off … Twitter is a scary and depressing place.
Setting Up Zapier
If you aren’t familiar with Zapier, it’s a phenomenally easy-to-use software service in the business of setting up automated integrations. I previously included Zapier as a tool in my 6 Must Have Accounts When Starting a Blog article and it shines through again here.
What we’re going to be doing is creating a “zap” (their lingo for an app or integration) that will monitor a Twitter user and perform an action upon a new post.
After creating your account, begin by creating a new zap and choose Twitter as the starting app. You’ll want to go through their superb configuration wizard, but gist is to follow a specific user. Here’s the highlights:
- Choose an app & event: Twitter
- Trigger Event: User Tweet
- Connect your Twitter account
- Type in the name of the recently followed bot account
- Test & Confirm
Once we have our trigger setup, the next step is to choose your delivery mechanism of choice. You could integrate with your Gmail account or even use “Email by Zapier” if you don’t want to authenticate with your actual email account. For the fastest notifications, I’d recommend SMS by Zapier to send text messages as the subsequent action when our Twitter bot posts. You’ll have to enter in a validation code on your phone and keep in mind if your plan is limited on text messages then this may not be fully free for you, but for my given lifestyle it’s the best mechanism for receiving notifications.
Setting Up Your Cellphone
Honestly, you can stop already if this is enough. We’ve created a system where somebody else’s bot is going to cause a text message to be sent to you when it finds availability. But if you want to go the extra mile — and I recommend it, literal minutes or even seconds count here — then follow these steps to optimally setup your cellphone.
- Download the companion apps for major retailers. You don’t want those annoying “view this page on our app instead” messages bogging down your sprint to the finish line. Just accept it (temporarily) and download the Amazon, Newegg, Walmart, Target, etc. apps so that best case scenario any links you click will be auto-directed to their respective app, but worst case scenario you get to skip the pop-ups.
- Preload checkout information. I’m not here to debate the hazards of storing financial information on your phone. We’re here to win, and preloading checkout information will save you a tremendous amount of time from initial notification to order confirmation screen. Remember to store both payment and shipping information in each app. Additionally, do so in the appropriate web browser(s). Keep in mind, even if you always use Chrome on that iPhone of yours, hyperlinks from your Messages app are probably going to be opened in Safari so plan accordingly.
- Setup a special notification. One of the nice things about SMS by Zapier is that you can set the number that contacts you. Use this to your advantage and set a special ringtone/alert sound so you can distinguish between a telemarketer, your aunt, and the bot that you need to drop everything for.
I have to admit that thus far I haven’t been successful, although it’s only been 2 days and stock is scarce. But for the first time I feel like I have a shot, an actual chance at getting what I want without signing away my every waking minute hoping for divine intervention when I hit that refresh button in Chrome.
Best of luck to you out there and leave me a note with your (hopefully successful) experiences!