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Create a personal robot that alerts you when a product is in stock


Some articles seem impossible to find these days.

Shara Tibken / CNET

Deliveries and stock levels in the stores are starting to return to normal for everyday items, but I have still had problems finding some specialized or larger ticket items in stock in recent months. For example, I have tried to buy my children a swimming pool and then one Xbox One X when it did not work. I also upgraded my office and could not find Elgato’s Key Light Air anywhere.

It’s tiring and defeat to routinely visit the bookmarked pages and hope I will see the Add to Cart button replace the label with out of stock. Even more frustrating is that reporting stock warnings from the dealer often leads to nothing happening.

For example, Elgato recently restored its Key Light Air and I had signed up for stock warnings, but I never received an email. Despite the lack of an official warning, I was able to order my new lamps within 5 minutes after they returned to stock thanks to Uptime Robot.

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To be clear, this site has nothing to do with online shopping or inventory – its main use is to monitor sites and send alerts when a site goes down.

But with a little effort, you can use Uptime Robot to send an alert when it Playstation 4 you have checked obsessively going back to sales.

Make sure you choose how you want to get your alert.

Screenshot of Jason Cipriani / CNET

Register and create your first “monitor”

Uptime Robot uses the term “monitor” to refer to what will track, a keyword, in this case.

1st Visit Uptime Robot and sign up for a free account. If you do not want faster notifications or plan to install more than 50 monitors, the free account will do the job.

2nd From your Dashboard account, click the button labeled Add new monitor. click Display Type drop-down menu and select Keyword.

3rd Give your stock monitor a name. I thought it was good to use the retailer and the product in the name, like “24×12 pool Walmart.”

4th Copy and paste the link to the web page for the product you want to buy into the URL field. How to stick to the swimming pool example if I were to use this link.

5th Next, we need to enter the keyword we want Uptime Robot to continue checking. In this case, we will use “Temporarily out” and select Warning when alternative to Keywords do not exist.

uptime robot-Alert

The warnings are a bit confusing.

Screenshot of Jason Cipriani / CNET

This means that Uptime Robot checks each web page every 5 minutes for the keyword “Out of stock”, and when it is not on the page, the service will send an alert stating that your monitor is “down.” When it goes out of stock, you will get a new warning letting you know that your monitor is “up”.

I understand that the “down” and “up” warnings are felt backwards, but remember that we use the website in a way that it is not designed for. We can not change the terms used – so just remind yourself now and again when you receive a warning Down means that your item is available to order.

6th Before saving your monitor, choose how you want to be alerted. There is an iPhone or Android app that you can use, or you can receive text messages or an email – just check the box next to the delivery method (s) you choose. Click to finish Save.

uptime robot-inspect element

You may need to nerd out a bit and look at the source code of the page.

Screenshot of Jason Cipriani / CNET

Get false warnings? Try this

The keyword is case sensitive, so it’s important that you enter it in Uptime Robot exactly how it’s on the list you are looking at. For example, if I entered “out of stock” or “Out of stock” as the keyword for the above pool, the tool would immediately send me a warning stating that the word was no longer found. The problem is that it can be a little tricky to find the exact capitalization of a keyword.

When I first created the screen for the Elgato lamps, I used the same punctuation that appears on the “NOTIFY ME WHEN IN STOCK” website. The first time Uptime Robot checked the monitor, it did not find the keyword, so it sent a message that my monitor was down. But when I went to the side, the lights were still out.

After some troubleshooting, I stopped by right-clicking the button and selecting Inspect to see the text on the source code of the web page. (Firefox uses Inspect Element, while Safari and Chrome use Inspect.)

As it turned out, the exact activation is “Notify me when you are in stock.” I updated the monitor and everything worked correctly. A few days later, I reawakened a warning on my phone that the monitor was down, and I could actually place the order within minutes of the stock being available.

Of course, there are websites devoted to searching for products and sends an alert when you can place an order or looking for refurbished Apple products, but they do not support all retailers and online stores that Uptime Robot does, as long as you are willing to do some work.

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