How to get instant notification on your cell phone when an item you want is posted up on ebay, kijiji, craigslist, buysell… Even if you don’t have a smart phone.

If you want to have the highest chances of getting an item at the best deal, you have to be the first person to see the deal.  Problem is, people are very busy these days and don’t want to be bothered spending hours and hours checking online sites like ebay, kijiji, craigslist, autotrader, cycletrader or the many other public selling sites.  There is hope for you!  All you need to do is make technology do the work for you.

Summary of the solutions depending if you have a smart phone or a dumb phone:

  1. If you have a smartphone:  simply download an app that reads RSS feeds, and set up that app on a check interval of say, every 15 minutes.  Then get an RSS feed URL for the search criteria and add it to the app's RSS feed list.
  2. If you have a non-smart phone:  Install an RSS-to-email program on a computer that is on most of the day, and make this program run as a scheduled task every 15 minutes or so, the computer could be your office computer, or home computer or any other computer that is on most of the day.  Configure it to send an SMS or text message to your phone using a specially constructed email address, for example for bell mobility, I would send to 5552227777@txt.bell.ca,  where the digits are your phone number.  Further below I give special email addresses for other cell phone providers, you can search Google for your own provider if it's not listed.
I'm not going to go into specific detail for the smart phone, all you do is install the app and then understand how RSS feeds work, and have the app so it notifies you when an RSS update is recieved.  I will explain in detail further below how to get your computer to text your phone.

 

How to get RSS feeds for your search criteria from a few popular sites:

ebay:

  1.  On ebay, enter your search criteria as you normally would, to get exactly the search results you are looking for.
  2. Copy the URL in the address bar, then add “&_rss=1” at the end.
  3. This is the RSS URL that you will be pasting into your app.

Kijiji:

  1. Enter your search terms and click to get your search results.
  2. Under the search results at the bottom right corner, there is an orange RSS icon.
  3. Right click that icon and "Copy link address".  This is the RSS URL you will paste into the app.

Craigslist:

  1. Exactly the same procedure as for Kijiji above.

Buysell.com:

  1. Enter your search terms.
  2. At the very top center of the page that comes up, there is an orange RSS icon, and an orange little icon to the right.
  3. Right-click on the little orange icon next to the orange RSS, select "Copy link address".  You'll paste that into your app.

AutoTrader:

I wasn't able to find any RSS feed search feature for this site, but they have a "Set up alerts" option if you sign up on the site.  For your email address you could use the specially formulated email address that goes to your non-smart phone (see special email addresses below), or of course, just get email notifications on your smart phone.

 

List of email addresses that will send text messages to your cell phone.  Just replace cellnumber with your cell phone number:

Alltel - cellnumber@message.alltel.com AT&T – cellnumber@txt.att.net Bell and Solo - cellnumber@txt.bell.ca Boost - cellnumber@myboostmobile.com Fido - cellnumber@fido.ca Koodo - cellnumber@msg.koodomobile.com Manitoba Telecom Services Inc. - cellnumber@text.mts.net Nextel - cellnumber@messaging.nextel.com PC Mobile - cellnumber@mobiletxt.ca Rogers - cellnumber@pcs.rogers.com Sask Tel - cellnumber@pcs.sasktelmobility.com Sask Tel - cellnumber@sms.sasktel.com Sprint PCS - cellnumber@messaging.sprintpcs.com Telus - cellnumber@msg.telus.com T-Mobile – cellnumber@tmomail.net US Cellular – cellnumber@email.uscc.net Verizon – cellnumber@vtext.com Virgin Mobile – cellnumber@vmobl.com

 If you don't have a smart phone and want text message alerts:

This is just an example, there are many apps that might allow you to send an email from RSS feed updates...
  1. Install "rss2email".  A prerequisite for this is to install the Python development environment.  It's available on Mac OS as well as Windows.  For full instructions visit http://www.allthingsrss.com/rss2email/
  2. You can follow the instructions that come with the app to add a default email address to send things too, with your SMTP server information for sending, etc. Be sure to use the email address that texts your phone (see phone provider list above).   Basically the procedure in Windows is you will go to the folder that you installed the rss2email application into, and open the DOS command prompt in that folder.  To add an RSS feed under the default email address that you configured you would type at the command prompt:  r2e add "......"  where the ..... is the RSS feed URL for that particular search.  To stop the app from emailing you a million results from old items in the RSS list,   quickly after doing the add procedure you should type at the command prompt:  r2e run --no-send
  3. In the same folder as the rss2email application files (same folder as r2e.exe) create a text file, and in the text file have the following text: r2e run
  4. Rename that text file so that it ends in .BAT.   So that it becomes a BAT file.  Name the file anything you want, as long as it ends in .BAT
  5. Set up in Windows a "Scheduled Task" that will run this BAT file you created every 15 minutes or so.  If you don't know how to do this search under Windows help for "scheduled task".  You will need to do it with the "Task scheduler" which is an Administrative tool usually found in Accessories under the Start Menu.
  6. Done!

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