Roblox’s Fix to Catalog Bots, by James Liu

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By James Liu

Roblox has had a massive issue with the catalog being flooded by bots spamming hundreds and thousands of copies of shirts and pants repeatedly. In doing this, the players running the bots can take over big keywords that are searched and make sales by drowning out competitors. These shirts and pants are often stolen from legitimate creators and sold for profit. Roblox has recently announced an update to the shirt and pants system to combat these bots and make the system more inclusive of creators. 

Before this update, shirts and pants were one of few ways to earn Robux legitimately, the others being through making a game and selling products within it and buying and selling limited items in a sort of stock market. Selling shirts, pants, and limited items required paying for Premium in order to access these features while making a game and selling products inside a game was possible for free. Now, selling shirts and pants will cost a publishing fee of 100 Robux for anyone with or without Premium as opposed to being for free as long as you had Premium. 

This update will absolutely fix the problem with bots as players used to need massive amounts of copies to become the only source of clothing in the main catalog search. With the update, selling only a few copies of any individual item will ultimately be a loss with a publishing fee. 

On the other hand, this update may hurt smaller creators as well. Legitimate shirt and pants creators often have to sell at the lowest price of 5 Robux per item to attract customers. Shirts and pants are PNGs and JPEGs that are wrapped around the 3D model of a Robloxian in order to put clothing onto a character. They’re not as impressive as hats with their own models and textures, and as such shirts and pants sell for much less. A 100 Robux publishing fee could easily make many small clothing groups unprofitable. It remains to be seen whether the removal of bots through the publishing fee allow creators to increase their prices though as bots can easily sell at the lowest prices without too much issue when most of their items are stolen, resulting in legitimate creators also having to cut prices to compete. Overall, I think the publishing fee is a little steep, especially adding in additional costs like creating a group to get dedicated customers into and have better organization for another 100 Robux, but it is a good idea with good intentions to get rid of bots and help actual creators. 

As someone with a bit of experience with shirt and pants designing, it’s pretty fun. The template is easy enough to understand and work with, if not a bit outdated. I’m not sure why there is no dedicated R15 template yet as clothes in R15 are awkwardly stretched and copied around to fit 15 parts compared to the 6 that the original template was intended to fit. It makes fine details a pain to work with, especially around the knees and elbows. As long as you keep your character to R6, things look fine though. Regardless, it’s certainly one of the few things I would’ve recommended getting Premium for and being available for free is something I’m definitely excited about. If you’re not planning on selling clothes, but rather just making them for yourself to use, then it’s a great update. If you’re a creator looking to make profit from clothes creation, it’s a bit up in the air. Overall, it looks more harmful with how low prices for clothes usually are compared to the publishing fee, but if prices increase enough from the removal of botted clothing it could be a benefit for everyone. 

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