Alternatives to Google Alerts
If you don’t know what Google Alerts are, read the post Use Google Alerts to keep tabs on your brand, your competitors and Pamela Anderson.
Although not as popular, Yahoo has its own version of Google Alerts called, surprisingly enough, Yahoo! Alerts. It does what Google does but seems to be more commercial with the alerts…branded news from AP for example. With the option to get things like horoscope alerts, snowfall alerts and personals alerts, Yahoo Alerts seems geared to the individual user not the entrepreneur, marketer or businessperson. However, you should get alerts from Yahoo as there may be content that might have been missed by Google (ok not bloody likely but you never know). Research shows that Yahoo skews more towards a younger demographic so if you’re interested in the under 25 crowd, you should definitely look into this.
Microsoft offers Windows Live Alerts (aka MSN alerts and .NET alerts). In addition to suffering from an identify crisis, they suffer from a usability crisis. I just checked and it now talks about pushing out info to subscribers like RSS. So why do you need this feature? This thing is just too much work to figure out and since I don’t think Microsoft is putting any energy towards it, I don’t think you or I should either. Feel free to add a comment if you want to shed some light on Windows Live Alerts.
Back to Google Alerts
If you are getting too much extraneous information in your Google Alerts, you can also exclude words from your Google Alert keyword search terms. So when you set up an alert for new “Pamela Anderson pictures” you can exclude those that have “Tommy Lee” in them.
I have a friend that is a high profile financial adviser who has to ensure that any instances of her name are reported back to the compliance officer [some crazy Finra and SEC requirement that hasn’t quite caught up to the 1990’s let alone 2008. More on How to Market your Financial Planning Services and Stay Compliant later – click here if you can’t wait to see how hard it is}. She set up a Google Alert for her name but unfortunately, she shares her name with a member of the Canadian Society of Immigration Consultants, a Provost at a University, a tofu salad chef and a student at University of Toronto! I’m going to advise her to use the Advanced News Search to refine her criteria and then copy and paste the advanced search query into the Google Alerts search box.
Have you used alerts.com or favebot.com? Do you know of other alerts that are worthy of consideration?