It’s the younger brother of software. It goes after the easy stuff and loves cheap tricks. It’s primary strategy is brute force that refuses to stop until it stops working. This is botting and it has a few forms.
Social Media Bots
Today botting has few forms. It’s primary form is that of social media account creation. The goal being to brute force an account’s growth by throwing TONS of fake followers and engagement by creating fake “tier” accounts, or by doing cheap tricks like Follow-Unfollow –also known as FU.
Game bots are another big area. A lot of effort goes into getting the slightest edge in multiplayer games. This is usually something as small as executing a keyboard action through an assigned key, but more advanced game bots called aim bots are able to accurately hit an opposing player in the most lethal of places, resulting in effortless kills. The goal is often “farming”, where one can run a bot to automate actions that earn points in the game. Many games today have their own mini economies where points buy upgrades. This area will continue to grow as Twitch streaming, e-sports, and multiplayer gaming continue to grow.
Bots are a plague on the internet, constantly on the search for new websites to break into, often using known password combinations obtained from a database harvested from the dark web. They are mostly going after the easy stuff such as logging into a WordPress site’s admin panel or server’s whm/cpanel dashboard. The goal is usually to inject links or redirect the site elsewhere.
One of the fastest growing areas is scalper bots. These are usually used to buy-up limited edition merchandise such as sneakers for resale at higher prices. We all got to witness scalper bots in action with the shortage of Nvidia graphics cards which has created a supply shortage of graphics cards for years now. More categories are being added to scalper bots, and we can expect everything collectible will probably be at their mercy soon enough.
Bots are excellent at collecting information, and the good ones can do so passively. They have been popular for a long time and are for many things: checking prices, harvesting emails, research and lead generation. Lead generation is a huge area that has hit sites like LinkedIn especially hard which is a gold mine rich with potential customers contact information.
Who’s The Target Audience?
Interestingly, the target audience for bot building tools is usually marketers and IT professionals. It’s been this way since the beginning. However, some botting tools are now mostly targeting large corporations. They did so by moving their tools online and revising their style. WinAutomation was an excellent software for building bots, but now it’s become Power Bi and Power Automate –a Microsoft owned cloud based tool rich in corporate speak.
Meanwhile, free tools like AutoIt and AutoHotKey largely target IT crowd, but have slowly become the go-to toolsets of the bots mentioned above –game bots especially.
Bots We Need More of
The above is pretty much the world of botting. It’s pretty straightforward and has been this way for a long time. You rarely will see a bot built for anything else,
so the rest of this post we are going to reveal new and largely unexplored ways bots can also be used.
Software Helper Bots
Think of your favorite software or application and what it’s missing. Is that missing feature something that can be done with a bot? Perhaps it’s a feature you have to pay more to get. Why buy if you can do it with a helper bot? Helper bots could be used to make a software application more useful. This could be potentially a great little niche for botting as you can sell small bots for popular software and have little to no competition.
There are people out there who cannot use the web and computers like most can. Bots could be an excellent aid in helping that person accomplish the simple tasks we find easy but takes them much longer to accomplish. Did you know you can create custom voice commands for a Windows computer to launch a program you want? What if that was a bot that helped someone visit their favorite website and scroll slowly through it so they can see what’s new? This is a largely unexplored area with great potential.
One would think more bots would be used to help people get work done faster, but that’s not the case. Macros are often used to open and close applications, and do a sequence of keyboard actions. Applications like Ifttt are also used to aid a persons work. But bots can do this too, and go much further while also being cheaper to use in the long run. IT and business professionals usually build these work aids, but there’s a HUGE number of workers who haven’t. Think online freelancers, government workers, teachers… the potential is huge. Botting just hasn’t evolved to be accessible to those types of workers.
Most chat bots exist online and are designed to increase sales or customer satisfaction. The definition of a chat bot has changed over the years. In the chat room era they had weak dialogue and asked you to visit links. Those chat bots still exist today but because chat applications like Discord we are seeing the definition of a chat bot change. Since Discord’s inception and release of bots, chat bots have become a HUGE playground that will likely continue to grow. A software bot could definitely be connected to a chatbot on discord, and run whenever it receives a command. It’s not really a chat bot but it’s a chat bot because it receives commands and replies with a message. So there you go.
The Future of Botting is Small and SaaS
You may think tools like IFTTT will replace software bots entirely, but IFTTT cannot integrate every API on the planet to their platform. They can’t add every option on the planet either, and if they do they risk becoming too complicated. There will always be room for a bot builder to create some new and helpful tool that gets data people want from an API and helps them DO something with it. These will be small bots in overlooked niches.
Aside from being small, the future of botting also exists online. Bot building tools may remain software just as programming tools continue to be, but compiling and distributing DIY bots is becoming more difficult everyday. The workaround is to host the software yourself and make it available as a web application. This is known as SaaS (software as a service), and you can see it happening every day as more and more companies convert their software into web applications.