Keywords & Unintended Consequences

When you sign up for the bot you can enter keywords to limit the items that the bot buys for you. For example, ‘Anime’ and ‘Beads’ are popular keywords. Without any keyword, the bot just buys random items for you.

Before selecting keywords it is worth taking a look on eBay to see what turns up. Sometimes the results are surprising. For example, the keyword ‘Awesome’ frequently returns old stamps used by the Nazis. If there are some items you would like to avoid, just include negative keywords when you sign up. Put a minus sign in front of any negative keywords (i.e. -nazis). Or you can email me directly at and I will update your profile.

PayPal Bot Launch!

I have added the option to subscribe to the bot with PayPal, something that many people have requested. Simply scroll to the bottom of any page on this site… enter any keywords you like, and subscribe for $1/day.

As an aside, it is surprisingly difficult to integrate PayPal with WordPress. I was forced to put it in a footer instead of a page or sidebar. After spending some time on the WordPress forums, it looks like this is a common issue. I am sure there is a better solution, but for now the paypal signup will stay in the footer.


I finally set up a stats page, which I have been meaning to do for a while. It shows the distribution of the cost of items bought by the bot and a word cloud of the item descriptions.

I know the images are a bit small, I am going to try and upload bigger versions and put together some more data on the types of items that the bot is buying.

From the cost graph you can see that a good 80% of the items bought are under $1 but that at the far end prices go up considerably. A few of these were caused by a mistake I made, quickly fixed, that allowed some items to slip by with nonzero shipping costs. But most were bought after a few days of not buying anything… the bot had enough of a budget to buy something nice!

The word cloud gives you an idea of what the bot is buying. Some words are not surprising, as every item has free shipping “free” and “shipping” come up quite a bit. Postcards and beads are also common as they are low cost and sold in volume on eBay. “mm” is also used in many craft items and jewelry that the bot buys quite a bit of.

Let me know what you would like to see on the stats page and I will try to pull it together. Email

Bobcat-In-A-Box Update

The Bobcat In A Box bot has been going for a few months now, and I have been quite surprised at how many people want to receive random packages from the internet!

The bot has bought over 2,000 packages so far, the vast majority falling into the $.50-$1.50 range with free shipping. Many are craft items, small pieces of jewelry, stickers and phone accessories (such as little plugs to prevent dust from getting into your earphone jack… god forbid). A large number are also stamps, postcards and old coins. The bot has sent many old francs and pesos, along with postcards that are decades old (no doubt someone clearing out their attic on eBay). There have been a couple cracked or bricked cell phones that I am sure now make excellent paperweights.

Although I don’t get to spend as much time on Bobcat In A Box as I would like, I am working on new features… such as being able to limit packages to specific keyword(s) and/or category(ies) and being able to see when packages are on their way. These will hopefully be rolled out soon. Let me know what you think!