AutoBots, AutoPilot, AutoResponders
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Robby Robot to the Rescue! 

               by Mike Banks Valentine 

               Imagine having a robot around the house to do all of the stuff 
               you just don't have time for AND all of the things you just 
               plain don't want to do! I fantasize about a robot I've named 
               "Robby" (really!) that takes out the trash without being asked, 
               washes the dishes every time I dirty one and mows the lawn for 
               me every weekend. It's not your typical fantasy, I'll admit 
               that. My wife thinks it's silly for me to spend 12 hours a day 
               in front of the computer and say I don't have time to do some 
               chores around the house! 

               O.K. I'll admit that it's not necessary to promote my website 
               online to obscure-directories-for-freebies every night until 
               three a.m., but I've learned that maintaining a popular web 
               site can be a huge task! There certainly are some things I'd 
               like "Robby" to do for me online too! He could answer those 
               e-mails that all ask the same question even though it's been 
               answered in my "Frequently Asked Questions" section since 
               day one. 

               Well guess what?! There are "Bots" out there doing just that 
               and much more on the web! I've got over a dozen of these 
               "Robby's" working for me non-stop on my web site right now! 
               They don't complain about long working hours or cost me a 
               fortune either! They simply respond to requests for information 
               or subscribe interested visitors to my newsletter or record 
               traffic to my site and pass statistics and detailed reports 
               to me whenever I ask for them! 

               The wonder of the internet is the automation that is possible 
               for repetitive tasks that can be impossible and overwhelming 
               for a human to handle. These "bots" also record and compile 
               complex statistics and amass detailed information that would 
               stifle even a mathematical genius! And they do it all without 
               a squeak of complaint! They can make you look good to relatives 

               I belong to a gift service that notifies me of things like 
               approaching birthdays, anniversaries and holidays before it's 
               too late to send gifts. I used the service yesterday to send 
               an anniversary gift to in-laws. I had forgotten the occassion 
               entirely, but got that little reminder e-mail, which sent me 
               the address of the gift service and made another sale for that 
               online company. There are dozens of ways to use automation 
               online. I just wish Robby would paint the living room for me 
               today so that I could catch up with my online chores. 

               It's possible to find these online services everywhere you 

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July 16, 2001