eBay auction alerts via SMS.

eBay recently launched a service that lets you get SMS notifications on auctions you're bidding on. If you've ever lost a bidding war because you forgot to sign on to eBay just before an auction ended, you'll appreciate this service. Whenever you're outbid, eBay will send you a short text message -- and you can raise your bid just by replying to that message, right on your phone.

To set up SMS alerts on eBay, go to "My eBay" and then click on "Preferences" (the link is underneath "My Account" in the left-hand sidebar). Then click on "Notification Preferences."

You'll see a link to add a mobile phone number for SMS text message alerts. Click on it, and you'll get a screen where you enter your cellular service provider (aka carrier) and phone number. Currently, eBay supports Cingular, T-Mobile, Sprint, Nextel, Verizon, and Alltel. If you're concerned about security, you can also specify a short PIN that you have to enter in order to confirm bids that you send from your phone. You can also limit the hours that eBay will send messages to you (so you don't get woken up at 1am by the beep your phone makes when it receives an SMS), and tell it how many minutes before an auction ends that you want to receive a reminder.

Once you've verified your phone number (by replying to a confirmation SMS), eBay will give you an SMS notification option any time you're bidding on an item. You'll also be able to place items on your watchlist (without bidding on them) and receive regular updates via SMS.

eBay charges $0.25 for every 10 messages sent, and the charges will appear on your cell phone bill.

If you want to turn off eBay SMS notifications, just reply to an eBay text message with the word STOP.

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