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Getting Notifications by Text Message or IM

When you want to know immediately


Accessing Preferences via My eBay

Access Preferences in My eBay to change notification settings.

If you've used eBay for any period of time, you probably already realize that you can watch eBay auctions that you're interested in, and that whenever you bid on or post an auction listing, eBay tracks that auction for you in My eBay. If the auction's status changes, eBay notifies you of this change. Among other things, such notices can tell you that:

  • An auction you are watching is about to end

  • You've been outbid on an auction by another bidder

  • You've won an auction

  • A listing you posted has finished with a winning bidder

  • A listing you posted has finished and did not sell

By default, eBay sends these and other types of notices to you by email. These notices aren't for everyone, however, and even for those who do like them, email isn't always the preferred place to receive them. Not to worry. eBay's notification system is flexible and you're about to learn how to change it to suit your needs.

Enabling Other Notification Methods

If email messages seem very 1997 to you and you'd rather receive notifications via instant messaging (IM) or mobile phone text messaging (SMS), you can give eBay your mobile phone number or your IM name by following these steps:

  1. Visit My eBay by clicking on "My eBay" at the top of any page on the eBay website.

  2. In My eBay, scroll down until you see the "My Account" header in the sidebar on the left side of the page.

  3. Under My Account, click on the "Preferences" link.

  4. On the preferences page, you'll see a number of headings, the first of which will be Notification Delivery. Click on the "Show" link to the right of the words Notification Delivery.

  5. In the dialog area that appears, click the "Add" link to the right of the "Mobile phone number for SMS alerts" or "Instant Message (IM) alerts" properties to add a mobile phone number or IM name to your eBay account. For IM, eBay supports AOL, Windows Live, and Yahoo! messaging users.

Deciding How Each Notification Arrives

Once you've added a mobile phone number and/or an IM name to your eBay account, you can decide whether to use email, text messaging, or IM to receive each type of notification that eBay sends. Just follow these steps:

  1. On the preferences page described above, click the "Show" link to the right of the words "Buying Notifications."

  2. In the dialog area that appears, you'll see various types of auction status changes listed (getting out bid, watched item about to end, etc.) along with the type of email delivery currently selected. To change the method of delivery for any of them, click the "Edit" link on the right edge of the page.

  3. On the page that appears, you'll see the same list of notifications, this time with checkboxes for email delivery, text message delivery, or IM delivery. Check the method of delivery you'd prefer for each type of notification. If you'd prefer to receive no notifications for that type of status change, uncheck all of the boxes.

  4. Click the "Save" button to save your changes when you're done.

  5. If you're also an eBay seller, return to the preferences page described above and click the "Show" link to the right of the words "Selling Notifications."

  6. Once again you'll see a list of notification types and the method that will be used to deliver them. Click "Edit" at the right edge of the page if you'd like to change any of these.

  7. On the edit page, check the method of delivery that you'd prefer for each type of selling notification, again unchecking all of the boxes if you don't want to be notified about any one particular type of event.

  8. Click "Save" to save your changes when you're done.

Now that you've asked eBay to send you buying and selling notices via text messaging or IM, you'll no longer have to check your email or visit the eBay website just to see how your auctions are going!

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