Market trading: 15% Steam fee.....20% bots fee.....
I started using community market since this winter sales. And I also started buying and selling trading cards. (Had no interest in cards before)

In my two months of trading, the one thing that is blatantly obvious, is that there are bots buying every card that sells below a specific price they have setl, and then resell it for profit.

So any card you buy from market, you are actually paying extra % to these 24/7 bots over the % that steam makes.

And I am wondering why Steam isn't doing anything about it. I know that they have banned accounts for that in past. But if they just take few measures they can stop alot of these bots or make it harder of them.

For example, most of these bots' profiles are set to private. Steam should make it necessary to make your profiles public if you want to buy or sell in community market. (Which I think should be the case with any sort of trading... but thats another topic)

Secondly, they should have certain amount of games to do certain number of trades. I've seen bots with like 1 game but selling in every community market I go to. The moment an item cheaper then theirs shows up, they snap it and resell.


In other words, almost every card sold has an extra overhead that goes to these bots. I read an article of someone who proudly confessed in detail how he made $300+ per day for months by trading bots. In the end he was banned but alot of damage was already done. And from the looks of it its still happening.

If the account has some value, then banning the account can do some damage to these bot owners. Otherwise it would mean nothing, and they can just create another account and so on.

This is alot of money that could go to Steam's pccket or the developers instead of these thieves.


A few simple steps can do alot of good. This has been going on for long enough.


Besides these annoyances, I love Steam. Hope they keep improving.
Showing 1-15 of 40 comments
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APerfectCircle Jan 20 @ 2:35am 
How can you see who is buying what?
Al Chemist [Open inventory] Jan 20 @ 2:44am 
By seeing who is selling.

An example:

Go to Steam Getaway cards that are selling very cheap right now due as they have suddenly become uncraftable.

Check the history stats. They are selling for .01 , .02 or .03. But you won't be able to buy single card at that price cuz they are selling at .05.

Now check the people who are selling. Just a couple of them doing all the selling. Almost all are private profiles and some didn't even bother to make profile.

So any 'human' who wants to buy, has to pay extra to these bots.

Thats just one example from right now
Wolfpig Jan 20 @ 2:50am 
That is know for a long time.
And probably for the same time they don't really care.

And why should they?
It should be not important for them if Bots buy & sell the stuff, or not, cause they will get money out of it either way.
HLCinSC Jan 20 @ 2:57am 
I don't use ther market much, but I can see how this would be prtoblematic. I don't know if the bots work with Steam client, the web version, and Steam Mobile; but maybe some sort of Vac-like addon would help the client and mobile app, while a similar simpler program add on/extension could be required on the web browser one to access the market. It would scan your computer for bots and if found simply would not just load the market kind of like how some videos need flash to play but instead of flash its aforementioned bot scan program.
Unless a lot of people get outraged/vocal about this I don't see Steam doing a lot very quickly. these bots inflate the number of transactions on their fledgling Marketplace making it look more successsful than it actually is. Plus, Steam gets a cut of the sale where the bot is the purchaser and then again when it turns around and sells them. This is a common downside to the implementation of the internet to Marketplaces, and even the stock markets (In 2010 an error in combination with many of these bots made the market temporarily drop 1000 points in less than a day though it was back up by closing) are riddled with them. See algorithmic trading for more http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Algorithmic_trading
Al Chemist [Open inventory] Jan 20 @ 2:57am 
And why would't they care?

They can make 30% profit instead of 15%. They are loosing half the profits.

How's isn't that a concern?

Gangs kill each other for alot less cut in profits.
Al Chemist [Open inventory] Jan 20 @ 3:03am 
Originally posted by thehaydencampbell:
I don't use ther market much, but I can see how this would be prtoblematic. I don't know if the bots work with Steam client, the web version, and Steam Mobile; but maybe some sort of Vac-like addon would help the client and mobile app, while a similar simpler program add on/extension could be required on the web browser one to access the market. It would scan your computer for bots and if found simply would not just load the market kind of like how some videos need flash to play but instead of flash its aforementioned bot scan program.
Unless a lot of people get outraged/vocal about this I don't see Steam doing a lot very quickly. these bots inflate the number of transactions on their fledgling Marketplace making it look more successsful than it actually is. Plus, Steam gets a cut of the sale where the bot is the purchaser and then again when it turns around and sells them. This is a common downside to the implementation of the internet to Marketplaces, and even the stock markets (In 2010 an error in combination with many of these bots made the market temporarily drop 1000 points in less than a day though it was back up by closing) are riddled with them. See algorithmic trading for more http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Algorithmic_trading


I know that they are taking measures from time to time (like 200 items sold limit etc) but its very slow and less effective.

I think just a few basic common sense steps can improve situation a lot and make them do alot more work to use bots..

GenPattonBR Jan 20 @ 3:12am 
First of all, I totally agree with you, however, I'd like to add a few remarks.

1) Steam benefits from Bots.

If a card is sold to someone who will keep it or use it to craft. that means the card gets to be sold only once, therefore Steam only gets its fee for that card once. If the card is bought by a bought and then re-sold, Steam got the fee for the card twice, and the second one was even higher than the first.

Besides, as long as it isn't a problem for Steam itself (never mind its users, like always), it will be a very low priority activity on Steam's development backlog.

2) Users should buy from someone else

I have a list of profiles who I know are bots (90% are Russians). I NEVER buy cards from these people. If I knew I wouldn't get in trouble, I'd list their names here.

3) Bots often lose money.

Bots lost tons of money with the Summer Getaway price drop recently. Other examples are the CS:GO that had its average selling price drop over 20% this month.

4) It is pretty easy to implement policies and rules to prevent the action of bots

5) users are partially to blame for this

There are several ways to avoid the action from bots. The most obvious is not to buy from them. However, it is impossible to educate the millions of users who use the market everyday and are unaware of the existance of the bots.

another thing is: bots are only there because there are people buying cards for 20+% below the average market price. If these people sold their cards for something like 15% below the mininum price, that alone would make the bot business unprofitable.

Al Chemist [Open inventory] Jan 20 @ 3:38am 
Originally posted by GenPattonBR:
First of all, I totally agree with you, however, I'd like to add a few remarks.

1) Steam benefits from Bots.

If a card is sold to someone who will keep it or use it to craft. that means the card gets to be sold only once, therefore Steam only gets its fee for that card once. If the card is bought by a bought and then re-sold, Steam got the fee for the card twice, and the second one was even higher than the first.

Besides, as long as it isn't a problem for Steam itself (never mind its users, like always), it will be a very low priority activity on Steam's development backlog.

2) Users should buy from someone else

I have a list of profiles who I know are bots (90% are Russians). I NEVER buy cards from these people. If I knew I wouldn't get in trouble, I'd list their names here.

3) Bots often lose money.

Bots lost tons of money with the Summer Getaway price drop recently. Other examples are the CS:GO that had its average selling price drop over 20% this month.

4) It is pretty easy to implement policies and rules to prevent the action of bots

5) users are partially to blame for this

There are several ways to avoid the action from bots. The most obvious is not to buy from them. However, it is impossible to educate the millions of users who use the market everyday and are unaware of the existance of the bots.

another thing is: bots are only there because there are people buying cards for 20+% below the average market price. If these people sold their cards for something like 15% below the mininum price, that alone would make the bot business unprofitable.


Thats one would think in first glance but in reality its different.

1. Those cards will be sold anyway without the bots in between. If the bots are not there, the humans, like me and you will buy and sell. We would do it a lot more frequently if there weren't these bots around.

If the bots are not there, we would use community market a lot more frequently. These bots are making genuine buyers quite the community market altogether.

2. The thing is, everyone gets only half the cards. If you trade cards with others, you have to give up some of yours too. Which you may not want to.

And even if you do, it may take a lot of time before you finally get the cards you need. With market you get it instantly.

3. Its rare of them to loose money. Only if they are stupid.

People buy cards at price they are sold. If a bot buys all cheaper cards and sell them at set price, then thats the price at which they will buy. Cuz that will be the cheapest available on market.

If a lot of seller suddenly sell a card at lower price, the bot will buy them and again with the profit margin sell it while keep the old cards at their value. Once the cheaper once are sold, (at profit), the bot will sell the rest at the old prices.

They just have to make that little profit on every card based on the prices it was bought. And not be too greedy and long term planned. And its all good.

5. But even for the ones who are educated, the problem remains. We trade as well but thats a very slow process and takes alot of effort.

In the end, what should have been a fun thing to do on the side, like it was meant to be, has become unpleasant.

Al Chemist [Open inventory] Jan 20 @ 3:44am 
Originally posted by Kirby4Life:
1) Steam dosnt care cuz they are making a profit either way.

2) Valve dosnt care cuz they are making a profit either way.

3) Gabe dosnt care cuz he is making a profit either way.

Hope this clarified things.


As I said before, they are loosing alot of money from their profits. Just cuz someone makes a profit doesn't mean its ok whoever chips in and takes a cut. And do it right from under their nose.


A lot of people have quit using market once they get tired of the bots. Thats loss of revenue.





GenPattonBR Jan 20 @ 3:56am 
Originally posted by Al Chemist:
As I said before, they are loosing alot of money from their profits. Just cuz someone makes a profit doesn't mean its ok whoever chips in and takes a cut. And do it right from under their nose.

I disagree. Like I wrote before, Bots enable Steam to get comission from the cards twice. Besides, I am sure and willing to bet a limb on this, if bots were hurting Steam's profits, they'd have done something about it a long time ago.

That guy who got banned from Steam, and whose article first appeared on Reddit, only got banned because he got too greedy (US$ 300/day) and he chose to expose himself.

A few others got banned as well just for providing links to scripts.

I've reported at least 10 profiles who are market bots, and they are still active.

So, as long as Steam's profits aren't being hurt, rest assured that bots are here to stay.
Al Chemist [Open inventory] Jan 20 @ 4:07am 
You are ignoring a whole section of transactions from your equation.

You are only considering the transactions that are happening while ignoring the ones that aren't happening cuz of the bots.

If It weren't for the bots, I would be buying and selling atleast 10 times more than I am doing. And so would anyone else.

Thats 5 times more than the bots are supposedly providing for Steam.

People may buy cards regardless to reach level 10... and even 20.

But after that, they need better mechanism to keep having interest in using community market. And bots aren't helping.
Last edited by Al Chemist [Open inventory]; Jan 20 @ 4:07am
Wolfpig Jan 20 @ 4:17am 
Originally posted by Al Chemist:
If It weren't for the bots, I would be buying and selling atleast 10 times more than I am doing. And so would anyone else.

Thats 5 times more than the bots are supposedly providing for Steam.

How do you know that?
And how do you know that people are not using the marketplace cause of the bots?
Even if you would put toghether every Posting in here which says that they stopped that because of XXX, you would still habe less than 1% of the Userbase of Steam and the Marketplace..
Al Chemist [Open inventory] Jan 20 @ 4:23am 
Originally posted by Wolfpig:
Originally posted by Al Chemist:
If It weren't for the bots, I would be buying and selling atleast 10 times more than I am doing. And so would anyone else.

Thats 5 times more than the bots are supposedly providing for Steam.

How do you know that?
And how do you know that people are not using the marketplace cause of the bots?
Even if you would put toghether every Posting in here which says that they stopped that because of XXX, you would still habe less than 1% of the Userbase of Steam and the Marketplace..


How do I know? hmm... I guess I would say common sense?

Anyone who uses the community market long enough will realize the huge presence of bots. Then they will realize their inability to buy anything at good price before its snatched away.

After a while they will get tired and quit.

Its simple logic.
GenPattonBR Jan 20 @ 4:25am 
You're ignoring the scale of the things. You are one user. You'll not buy because of bots, and, while that seems the propert thing to do for you, all the other hundreds of thousands of users who aren't even aware of the bots, will buy the cards anyway. 99.999% of people don't care about who is selling or at what price. They'll buy the cards they need and that's it. However, 99.999% of people might represent 500,000, 1 million or 2 million people. I is A LOT of people using the market all the time. Take a look at ANY of the CS:GO cards selling stats: over 15,000 cards are sold daily. DAILY.

A card that is sold 50% below the average price will be sold instantly. Period. If not by bots, to people who are keeping an eye in the newly listed items. There are, at any given time, tens of thousands of people refreshing the newly listed page just to get cards for cheap. That is how I buy my cards. Sometimes I am able to get great deals if I am fast enough.



Last edited by GenPattonBR; Jan 20 @ 5:20am
Al Chemist [Open inventory] Jan 20 @ 4:32am 
Originally posted by GenPattonBR:
You're ignoring the scale of the things. You are one user. People with a conscience like yours are extremely rare. You'll stand on a principle that you'll not buy because of bots, and, while I applaud that, all the other hundreds of thousands of users who aren't even aware of the bots, will buy the cards anyway. 99.999% of people don't care about who is selling or at what price. They'll buy the cards they need and that's it. However, 99.999% of people might represent 500,000, 1 million or 2 million people. I is A LOT of people using the market all the time. Take a look at ANY of the CS:GO cards selling stats: over 15,000 cards are sold daily. DAILY.

A card that is sold 50% below the average price will be sold instantly. Period. If not by bots, to people who are keeping an eye in the newly listed items. There are, at any given time, tens of thousands of people refreshing the newly listed page just to get cards for cheap. That is how I buy my cards. Sometimes I am able to get great deals if I am fast enough.


I was about to answer you again... but then I checked your profile to see how many transactions or cards you have and bam......its private.

Ofcourse you don't like my suggestions.
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Date Posted: Jan 20 @ 2:25am
Posts: 40