Fed up with waiting in queues at websites like B&Q, Tesco, ao.com and many others? Shopping online is supposed to be easy, but vendors have made it harder than ever.
There are quite a few guides and videos on how to ‘beat’ the queueing systems, all of which seem to be powered by a little-known Danish company called “Queue-it“. Most of them don’t work, though.
I did a few Google searches for this but, somewhat surprisingly, I couldn’t find any other people mentioning how to bypass the Queue-it system. So here’s my quick free tip to VoucherSort visitors 🙂
Note: This will likely not work on mobile, only on desktop. It may be possible to somehow figure it out so that it works on mobile devices, but it’d be too lengthy and difficult to write about here and would just bamboozle.
What is Queue-it?
Their website describes it as a queueing system or ‘virtual waiting room’ to stagger visits to a website, when visitor traffic is high.
Essentially you wait in line for your ‘turn’ to access the vendor’s website. But sometimes this can take up to an hour or more…! If you need to get round this urgently, for example to buy something critical, then this method I describe might be for you – but please don’t abuse it.
Step 1. Changing your user-agent
Your “user-agent” is a very basic way of identifying your browser (for example, if you are using Firefox or Chrome) on the internet. Most websites that you visit will record this kind of data. It can also identify if you are a bot, or a real person (generally).
You can look up your current user-agent here if interested. Mine looks like this:
This small piece of information tells me, and the websites I visit, that I am using Mozilla (Firefox), what version of Windows (O/S) and so on.
The key is that Queue-it uses this user-agent to identify you, too.
In order to bypass their queuing system, we need to change our user-agent.
Step 2. Pretend to be Googlebot!
Googlebot is the “bot” or “robot” that scans websites, and adds them to the Google search index.
It is vitally important that website’s do not block access to Googlebot, or their website will be “de indexed” from Google’s search results – a big no-no for most online stores that rely on Google for visitors.
And Queue-it know this; if they were to place everyone (including Googlebot) visiting a vendor’s website into their queuing system, then Googlebot would not be allowed to enter either. So they effectively allow an ‘exception’ for Googlebot to get in.
We need to utilise the power of Googlebot, and pretend to be it. Thankfully, this is very easy.
To do this, you need to download a browser extension called User-agent Switcher (I have no affiliation with them).
- For Firefox: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-GB/firefox/addon/user-agent-switcher-revived/
- For Chrome: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/user-agent-switcher-for-c/djflhoibgkdhkhhcedjiklpkjnoahfmg
Specifically, the useragent you need to use is this:
Mozilla/5.0 (Linux; Android 6.0.1; Nexus 5X Build/MMB29P) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/41.0.2272.96 Mobile Safari/537.36 (compatible; Googlebot/2.1; +http://www.google.com/bot.html)
Step 3: Switching to Googlebot user-agent
Once installed, click the little icon in the top right and make sure to select “Googlebot”. It may also be called “Google’s Spider”:
Refresh the page, and it should now work! You can now shop without queuing.
Again, as said earlier, this likely does not work on mobile, as browser extensions/add-ons aren’t permitted generally. It *may* be possible to do it in Firefox Mobile, but I haven’t tested it. It works well on desktop.
This probably used to work, as I’ve seen a plethora of videos and “helpful guides” – dating back from 2018/2019 normally. But it doesn’t work now in 2020. Try it for yourself and test it out.
Here’s an example, try visiting Farmdrop (https://www.farmdrop.com) and you’ll likely be instantly redirected to the Queue-it system. Let’s look at the server response:
It’s a 302 redirect. In other words, as soon as you try to go to the Farmdrop.com website, you are instead redirected to the Queue-It website. You don’t access Farmdrop.com at all while the Queue-it system is live (until you are out of the queue, of course). Changing your user-agent is the only way to bypass this bottleneck.
tl;dr – change your useragent to Googlebot and it works.