Please enable cookies to continue. Datsun 510 sale goes awry; Postponed indefinitely (UPDATED 6/10)

6/9/2020 — Oy vey! Frustration peaked today on as another Hot Wheels ’71 Datsun 510 went on sale.  For Red Line Club members, the sale day pain is oh too frequent as errors have plagued the sale day experience dating back to the first year of the RLC in 2002. Any time a piece with a highly-anticipated resale value hits the storefront, problems always follow. The same held true today as many collectors predicted the site crash. This time, however, the problem didn’t persist on

In an attempt to curtail the problems of the past into a reliable shopping experience, the Hot Wheels Flash Sale experience was handed over to Shopify as it was perceived the eCommerce platform could handle the volume, and prevent bots from ruining the collector experience. Instead, the inverse of that happened, with bot users ruining the day for the average collector.

Several seconds after the sale started at 9AM PST, the bots got ahold of the Shopify link and the chaos ensued. The bulk of users were greeted with a “Please enable cookies to continue.” error message that persisted the length of the 45-minute sale. This was the bots doing as they wreak havoc on humans trying to get through. Supreme, Funko, and Yeezy customers know all too much about the problems bots present, and Hot Wheels collectors got a full dose of it today.

Fortunately, the team at Mattel does care, despite the perception that they don’t. Don’t take their silence as compliance. The sale was ultimately postponed as the eCommerce and support teams will ultimately try and figure out a way to combat the usage of bots. To the average collector like myself, that is great news as I was one of many that struck out today. It was a painful experience to attempt to buy a product — that I really had no chance of getting — for 45 agonizing minutes. It was only after someone posted a direct-to-cart/workaround link that I was even able to see that the vehicle was “sold out”.

Don’t run to eBay just yet! You’ll only be supporting the bot users with confirmed orders. The indefinite postponement of the sale means that collectors will have another shot. Will collectors truly have a shot going forward? The ball is really in Mattel & Shopify’s court now. Shopify has a reputation for doing nothing to prevent the usage of bots so the resellers that utilize these are licking their chops. Hopefully, we will see Mattel implement some sort of “verified collector subscription program” in the near future as it seems many collectors are fed up with the pain RLC cars are bringing. There are so many cool RLC releases coming up, that you hate to see their beauty marred by the stain of a horrible sales day experience or by paying hundreds of dollars to a professional reseller.

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UPDATE 6/9/2020 at 7:13PM PST — My apologies, I originally listed the postponement of the sale to Thurs., 6/11 at 1PM PST. I believe I was mistaken as that is the day/time when the article published. Sorry for the confusion. The postponement date/time has been removed from the title and from within the article above. Thanks to those who pointed that out.

UPDATE 6/10/2020 at 3:44PM PST — An update from the Reddit user that exposed the flaw by supplying an alternate link, saving the day for dozens of people before the plug on the sale was ultimately pulled. It contrasts details I’ve heard from other sources, but this does come from a guy who is trying to help, and a software engineer to boot. A very logical explanation to me, and if it’s true, bodes well for future sales using the Shopify platform.

Hey guys. I am /u/nfizzle99, the user who posted the alternate link to reddit. Reading all of your posts here, I decided to provide some much needed clarification on how Shopify works, and what went wrong during yesterday’s release, and the idea that this was an unethical bypass, circumventing the terms of the sale, utilized by bots.

First, let me state that I am a software engineer, and I am very familiar with web development, Shopify, and commercial Shopify bots. I know what I’m talking about, and I understand exactly what went wrong yesterday.

1. What went wrong

For the most part, Mattel’s use of Shopify was actually a pretty smooth transition. Shopify is a sound way to handle big releases. The site didn’t crash and checkout was smooth. The issue was not with Shopify. The issue was that Mattel’s “Buy it now” button made a request that relied on the user’s cookies before it sent the user to checkout. Obviously, testing of this button wasn’t extensive enough, and the request to be made before sending the user to checkout was flawed, hence the cookie error. The rest of the checkout flow was flawless, but I know many of you complaining never reached that stage, so you are understandably upset that Mattel switched from a flawed system to another seemingly equally flawed system. But I can assure you that once they fix that small issue, it’ll feel like a much better system.

2. What the “bypass” was doing

The “bypass” link that I posted sent the user directly to the cart. Yes, it skipped the cookie error Mattel had, but beyond that, it did nothing and gave no advantage. It was not “hacked”. It was simply a URL easily built from the tools that Mattel provided to every single user, mixed with a bit of knowledge about Shopify’s systems as a whole. In fact, this URL is essentially what the “Buy it now” button would have sent users to, if it worked.

3. What about bots?

It’s true, bots exist for Shopify. Shopify has pretty extensive bot protection, but the better commercial bots can circumvent that protection. However, in the context of HotWheels — especially HotWheels’ RLC Membership restrictions — bots currently don’t work, and they wouldn’t make much of a difference even if they did.

Bots don’t work right now because Mattel is making use of Shopify’s “MultiPass” system — which allows Shopify to restrict purchase of items unless the user was redirected via the HotWheels website. This system is very robust, and there is effectively no way to bypass it because Mattel possesses a secret token that is used to encrypt information. It’s a huge improvement over Mattel’s old website, which could easily be bypassed. However, no commercial bots have implemented MultiPass, because the majority of customers of commercial bots are sneaker resellers, and no sneaker resellers use MultiPass. Point being, commercial bots haven’t implemented it, and have no plans to implement it, because the time it takes compared to the number of customers it benefits simply isn’t worth it for them.

Thus, you might have a few savvy developers who program their own bots for HotWheels. Maybe 5 people total, with 5 accounts each. That’s 25 cars compared to 12,000+ that are release. It’s nothing.

But, even if there were dozens or even hundreds of people running bots, each with 5 accounts, bots really wouldn’t make much of a difference. Yesterday, even with cookie errors, it probably would have taken 10-15 minutes for the car to sell out. Bots still have to wait in Shopify’s queue system, which takes anywhere from 15 seconds to 2 minutes to get through, and the person running the bot still has to complete the Captcha manually. Say a human takes another 30-60 seconds to fill out their information, complete the Captcha, and submit their order. That’s anywhere from 45 seconds to 3 minutes to check out, whereas a bot is anywhere from 20 seconds to a bit over 2 minutes to check out. The difference isn’t large enough for it to really prevent people from being able to check out, since the car will take at least 10 minutes to sell out simply due to how many cars are available.

4. “But this isn’t fair! People who used the bypass should have their order cancelled!”

You’d be surprised how often there are little things that tech-savvy people can use to speed up their order process without the use of any automated checkout software. Ultimately, when you collect limited-edition items that are released through the internet, there are advantages everywhere. Faster internet means you get to checkout faster. Faster typing skills means you submit your information faster. Utilizing autofill means you fill out your information faster. Removing a special link that effectively skips one step is not going to solve these inequalities.

I understand the frustration of not getting the car you want — especially a very cool one like the one that released yesterday and is going for an unaffordable amount on eBay. I understand wanting to find someone or something to blame for it. But the direction Mattel is moving in is actually going to improve the checkout process a lot. Once they fix that cookie issue, releases will be fairly straightforward and smooth; 5 minute checkouts instead of 2 hour waiting rooms. I’m sorry that you guys feel like I’ve made it unfair by posting to reddit but not to here. I just wanted to help some collectors out over there, and I’ve never used these forums before or I would have posted it here as well. I just as well could have kept the link to myself and helped no one out.

Categories: News

57 replies »

  1. Thanks for the article! Unfortunately, the bot users with confirmed orders will be allowed to keep their orders.

      • Hello

        I don’t use a bot, I waited for 8 hours behind my computer screen, I want my car.

      • Seems like Hot wheels already sending shipping orders out. SO I don’t think they will do anything to the sold ones. A handful of member already received shipping confirmations.

  2. All sales should be cancelled! I know some real folks managed to get them, but so did a bunch of scalpers!

    • This; and how they handle this is how I decide if I start in the hobby or get out. It’s pretty ridiculous it’s come to this.

  3. Brad, while I believe you on the new sale day/time, I didn’t see the “Official” announcement, and the calendar hasn’t been changed yet.

    • I based it off the note at the bottom of the HWC article. It says Sale is Thursday at 1pm PST (your time zone may be different).

  4. Some non bot users got 1. Had to be super fast, 5 bars on phone and lucky, along with clearing entire phone history since beginning of your phone purchase.

    • I don’t know about “5 bars on a phone.” I was on a desktop machine with a fair amount of wired bandwidth. I got the Buy It Now button seconds after the sale went live. Clicked it, waited about 30 seconds, and got the cookie message.

      • My brother has tried on desktop before and could never get in, always had luck with phones, I cleared entire history back to the end of time on my phone so as if I had just bought phone idk I also used google chrome app whereas my brother used through safari and he didn’t get through

  5. Thank you for the clarity. If what you say is true about Shopify, wouldn’t making sure the bots were of the utmost concern prior to contracting with the company. However, yes it’s beyond frustrating that our world is so high tech and we can’t get passed this silly Diecast ordering problem. Once it’s taken care of I’m sure the average collector (as myself) will have a much more enjoyable experience. The amount of people who are thoroughly chapped is an understatement. Much Aloha to all who play by the rules of the Collectors website and to those who don’t and those who use bots should be terminated from RLC (no questions asked).

    • I am curious, out of all the multiple account holders and all the collector wives that don’t exist in reality…
      has anyone with multiple accounts completely struck out, I mean 2-5 accounts but walked away with zero on sales day?

      • I have an account as well as my son and we both struck out. Mine was right at the final confirm when it crashed

    • What a mess. Why go with Shopify if there is a known problem with Bots?

      At this point I think they just need to make enough cars for all members. That’s the only way to stop bots, resellers, etc. in at least some capacity. I know some say it will bring the value or interest down but I completely disagree. A lot of people don’t care about the value and how limited the car is. They just want to have the car for their collection.

      • Absolutely correct, do a pre sale and do away with all this garbage, make as many as we wany and end the madness of scalpers and the bots most use.

  6. Either subscription service or make one available to every member and sell any leftovers will be the only way to stop or slow down bot resellers. This is a hobby for the love of it not to profit off of. Mattel needs to go all out war on those guys to defend their loyal longtime customers

  7. Thank you for letting us know what happened today and what’s been going on all this time. It would have been nice if Mattel or someone at HWC had posted something in the forums or comments in the past. Buy not being open about the problems it has made a lot of people feel like they don’t care. Hopefully they can figure out a way to put a stop to the issues.

  8. In 2016 the Online Ticket Sales(BOTS) Act of 2016 was passed.Then the BOTS switched to sneakers. The BOT’ers are now in the RLC. That law needs to be upgraded so no BOTS at all call be used. I look at BOTS the same as insider trading. BOT user have an unfair advantage. It was done for event tickets so it can be done for other items. MATTEL might have to bring in a BOT EXPERT to say this RLC MEMBER used BOTS. Then their membership should be cancelled without a warning. Put in all sales that MATTEL will check every order for BOTS. BOT users beware. If nothing is done ASAP the RLC will have major problems every sale. Let’s face it we have new kind of members now. After 16 straight years as an RLC MEMBER I am starting to really worry about BOT’ers ruining our club. Cancel all orders and re-start sale like has been done. BOT USERS BEWARE. MATTEL IS WATCHING.

  9. As far as these BOT, scalper people are concerned.. will it be an effort on Mattels part to try & weed out these people & their interference..
    if it’s a problem??!!

    • Bots have been present in every sale this year. The support team has been canceling orders in previous sales due to workarounds such as these, and it’s likely they will continue to do so for this and all future sales.

      • So you are saying they will cancel the orders made using the workaround provided by the Reddit user ,in your update?
        Since you say they care.

    • I’m just the average collected . frustrated when sales happen not to get thru or so many errors . I was one of the lucky ones . after 25 or so minutes of enable errors . I logged off closed chrome went to settings unchecked and checked box for cookies restarted my phone logged back in went to sale straight thru to conformation . must of snuck thru loophole .

  10. I got mine directly through the website, without a workaround link. Took 30 seconds. I’m hoping they don’t cancel my order since I got lucky and did it the intended way. Also hoping they are able to combat bots more, always very frustrating… It seems as though when the new system DOES work it’s incredibly fast and easy, if my experience is an example of what’s intended.

  11. While I don’t use bot. I want to buy multiple RLC memberships, while, Mattel canceled all my 3 memberships orders.
    Is it my fault while they can’t fight with the real bot’s users?

  12. Thanks for the information and insight Brad, amazing what technology can do. I hope Mattel can find a way to stop it, I understand BOTS are here to stay just like all the sites your mentioned Funko, supreme etc.,.in my eyes the difference is those sites are open to anyone. They aren’t paying for memberships like we are. Maybe it’s time to rethink it all completely. Maybe a lottery system handled internally? Same numbers produced, same number of members and luck of the draw. Thanks again!

  13. All sales need to be cancelled. Before new sell date, Mattel needs to take a look at ebay posts. The listing go up to $350. Theres your bots and the user IDs! Cancelling all orders means all those selling on ebay will have nothing to ship to someone that ordered.

  14. Mattel know how many members they have, let them offer one to each member ( let’s says over a period of a week, if not claimed then goes on general sale at the end of a month ) if your a member you should be entitled to one as your paying for the membership , Mattel would be getting more money , members would get there car , and the bots wouldn’t to be able to sell for silly prices on other sites . Just my thought. Have a nice Day

  15. “handed over to Shopify as it was perceived the eCommerce platform could handle the volume, and prevent bots from ruining the collector experience…Shopify has a reputation for doing nothing to prevent the usage of bots”

    These statements seem pretty contradictory. The RLC’s main concern was bots yet they gave it to a company who has a reputation of not dealing with bots?

  16. When I went on line to purchase the 510 yesterday when I was checking out I had to click on a box indicating I was not a robot before I could continue. Everything I did was l legit. Why should you say that some people that got through were doing something wrong and be punished. Been a long time Rlc member. Just my thought

  17. Thanks for a little color on this,Brad. I too tried in vain on every platform and device available. I really hope Mattel takes their time to find a worthy and effective solution. This last go round had me wishing for the familiar gears of death back.

  18. What about people who used the direct-to-cart/workaround link that was posted in the subreddit? I was successful with that link but am not a bot. I agree that all sales being cancelled and doing a fresh start would be a good idea. I, at the very least, would like to see some sort of order confirmation from Mattel with an order number so I know whether or not I need to try again in the next sale.

  19. Why don’t the redline club sell enough for every member and send them a email saying you have 24 hours to order only one car and if you don’t buy one in 24 hours that car goes into a pot then it is first come first serve ! The whole reason to become a member to get redline club cars , this is frustrating to think you only have sometime 15 minutes to get one and no sold out , one time I had the 55 gasser with army colors from last year paid enter my credit card then waiting and waiting to get confirmation the after 15 minutes it said sold out I was mad and even complained and nothing

  20. You said that the orders that was confirmed were bot users or people who used the bypass,i didn’t use any of those and I got a confirmed order I did nothing wrong but you make it sound like all people used some sort of an advantage I am offended by that statement and about the eBay statement some people collect but maybe not that casting so they sale it to help pay for the castings they do collect not all of us is rich every body that collects die cast has sold a car for a profit to reinvest into the collection maybe you need to think about the whole picture before you post a closed minded article.

    • The only close minded thing on here is your response, nowhere in the article does it state reselling is wrong. “Professional scalper” is hardly referring to the actual collectors here. He is simply stating the sale will be happening again at which point collectors can have a shot at getting one of these at cost instead of paying secondary prices. Brad does a very good job keeping his opinion to a minimum and sharing facts. Maybe you should get your diecast information from a different site and take your close minded comments about OTD elsewhere.

  21. Here’s a solution that will probably never materialize, but it’s an idea

    If the RLC has 15k memberships, then each membership should be allowed the opportunity/guaranteed a purchase of a RLC car made to that quantity. (Just not the larger quantity of the Selections cars) If a member chooses, for whatever reason, not to purchase the RLC car that is being offered it, then it can become available to the HWC or for other HWC/RLC online sales at a later date. This will help mitigate some of the scalping and price gouging that is going on with the RLC.
    The quality and castings of the cars they are offering up for sale now are far much better than some of the pieces in the past. The true collector will buy the castings they like

  22. Let’s just be thankful that they are trying to improve the situation. The system is a joke, but it does appear that they are trying which is positive. Hopefully they’ll have a better system in place soon that allows the true collectors to be a part of this process.

  23. Dang now they throwing you under the bus, the guy who posted the link on that other forum, now they saying there was no bots. 🤦‍♂️

    • I don’t believe bots were the issue had something to do with the buy now button which then showed cookies. Based on all the forums in rlc is probably the case. Mine was honored today got shipping confirmation and did legit way didn’t use the link, customer service rep told me they can tell whom didn’t get one fairly. Hopefully the sale for the Datsun works in second try for others to get 1.

  24. I feel that if someone did not use the RLC waiting room going thru the RLC site from start to finish their orders should be cancelled. Those cars are for current RLC members and not everyone. All other workarounds are not acceptable. Plus being only 15,000 I can wait a few xtra days while my order is manually checked to see if I am a current RLC member. If it is found non current members orders went thru their orders should be cancelled. MATTEL can put a notice saying this that Friday when we get the email and in the notice in the waiting room note. If they find BOTS re offer the cars to members that missed out and let members who got 1 know they can not get another 1. If the cost is too high add it to sales day sales. I am sure the car will be less than what we would pay on the Internet. Post :

  25. Todays sale went very smoothly today. A little too smooth kind of sus. Any who I’m glad that I got one. Hopefully all RLC releases are smooth like todays re release of the Datsun 510.

  26. Here I am, one day after the 2nd selling attempt of this casting and I’m still in shock at how, fast, easy, smooth the sale went. I have been giving serious thought to quiting HWC/RLC because of the amount of stress it was causing me & because of the time used hiding at work and because it felt like HWs collecting from HWC is no longer about collecting & being a fun hobby. It became, let’s see if I can get lucky today and see if I can manage to grab one of these cars away from the fast buck making scalpers because I’d really like to see it in my collection without having to overPay at eBay. But after yesterday, if it can go that smoothly, fast & stress free, then maybe I’ll stick around a little longer. Even if I don’t manage to score a car I’m interested in on sale day, at least it won’t be a headache anymore. I think the “I’m not a robot” & pic finder puzzle are very good ideas, & hopefully they will continue to work.

  27. Look.. I griped when I couldn’t get one RLC Exclusive since joining back in February… until yesterday.
    I have to admit, it went pretty fast & smooth, BUT now I feel my chances of getting the Custom Mustang might go against me!
    It’s strange to admit that, but i’m going to have to think positive because that blue gem is the one I REALLY, REALLY want to get!!!

    Matter of fact.. If for some reason I can’t get the blue Custom ‘Stang.. i’d be willing to trade my brand new yellow RLC ’71 Datsun 510 for it!!!

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