PayPal created a bot that would peruse eBay for auctions. Then, recognizing that a big part of the eBay user experience was the email notifications users received ("Someone just outbid you on that used Alf toothbrush and there's only 23 minutes left!" or "Bids on your Waffle that looks like Ray Liotta are skyrocketing!"), the bot would email sellers to announce that it intended to bid to acquire their item as a charitable donation, but only if the seller was willing to be paid through PayPal. Sellers could email a reply to agree to those terms, and even if they didn't, it was still free advertising. But most sellers did agree, because it was a win-win for them -- higher bids and the feel-good vibes of contributing to a good cause. PayPal even partnered up with the Red Cross to ensure that its purchased items actually went to charity, and not just an endless vault somewhere on Thiel's Bioshock Island.
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The bot not only provided advertising, but also faked a growing demand for PayPal's product and the illusion that PayPal was superior to eBay's native payment platform. If eBay uncovered the scheme, they could have very well banished PayPal from the platform, but instead they caved in to the supposed wave of the future and bought PayPal for a staggering $1.5 billion. Let that be a lesson in, uh, the effectiveness of badgering people and lying?