Home Mobile I Use Bots As an Instacart Shopper. It’s the Key to Making Money.

I Use Bots As an Instacart Shopper. It’s the Key to Making Money.

Bots that accept high-paying orders and spoof your location are key to working for Instacart, one shopper says.
Photo by Evelyn Hockstein/For The Washington Post via Getty Images

This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Ted Rosner, a gig delivery worker in the Washington, DC metro area. Business Insider has verified his identity and his use of two bots designed for gig delivery apps. The story has been edited for length and clarity.

I acquired my first bot back in February 2023.

I found this guy who writes some articles on gig work, and he talked about having access to bots for Instacart. I reached out to the guy’s WhatsApp since I had seen multiple postings about it.

The cost for the bot, called ShopperX, was $400 up front, plus $150 per every $1,200 worth of orders that you shopped. Once you had shopped that much, you had to buy another code to keep using the bot.

The biggest reason I purchased it was because you just have to keep refreshing the screen to get orders on Instacart. That’s not great while you’re driving. I also have neuropathy in my hands, and it hurts to keep refreshing the screen. This Android bot would just do it for me.

There were other features I used a lot. One was spoofing my GPS location. I had Diamond Cart status on Instacart, so I had to be near stores to see orders that I could claim.

But with the bot, I could spoof my location so that it appeared I was back at the store in order to claim another order. That way, I knew I had one and didn’t have to waste time waiting in the parking lot to claim an order.

I could set the criteria for the batches: how much I’d earn, the number of customers I’d have to deliver for, the miles I’d have to drive, the number of items in each order, and how far from the store I was. I could say “I want to take a $50 batch that’s only one customer that’s up to three miles from the store, but an unlimited amount of items,” and it would only serve me those orders.

Eventually, Instacart caught on to ShopperX. We got a message from the developer saying, effectively: “If you log out, you will not be able to log back in.”

After that, I started asking around about other bots, including for other apps. That’s how I found Lucky. I got access from someone who used the bot — apparently, some of these bots are pyramid schemes where users get rewarded for selling other gig workers codes for it.

You can use this bot for a variety of apps, from Instacart to Spark to Shipt. The user interface is different, but it pretty much works the same as ShopperX. You also got to shop $200 worth of orders for free to start, so you can try it and know that you’re not being scammed.

My thinking is: If you can’t beat them, join them. Normally, I would never see the notifications for the huge, high-paying batches. The only way to get them was with the bot, because the bot was quick enough to catch them. So, the fees are a lot, but if I’m grabbing $200 batches, it’s worth it.

As far as I’m concerned, Instacart is only concerned about getting the orders filled. They don’t care about anything else. They can figure out we’re using bots; they just don’t want to. How did I get from DC to Tysons Corner in three seconds? Why can’t Instacart detect that we’re spoofing back and forth between locations so quickly?

There are so many people out there who are anti-bot, or they think that they’re fake. There are a lot of people out there that are attempting to sell fake bots. But I’ve never heard of anybody being deactivated for bot use. I was recently deactivated from Instacart, but it was because I emailed an Instacart executive about some of the bugs I ran into on the app — their justification never brought up bots.

If Instacart went after bot use aggressively, it would become a fair platform. But right now, it’s not fair.

Are bots a good option? You don’t have a choice.

An Instacart spokesperson told BI: “This shopper was deactivated from our platform for blatant and abusive violations of our terms of service.”

Instacart makes sure that its app “stays secure by removing and banning bad actors from the platform, taking legal action where necessary, and deactivating shoppers found to be misusing the platform,” the spokesperson added.

“We have been successful in shutting down these services through both technical and legal interventions, and we will continue to be vigilant in enforcing security measures to ensure the safety, reliability, and fairness of our platform.”

Do you work for Instacart, DoorDash, Walmart Spark, or another gig delivery service and have a story idea to share? Reach out to this reporter at [email protected]

 

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