Imagine if you got an email every time the name of your business, brand, your own name, or a keyword or phrase you were interested in were mentioned on the internet, and you have a pretty good idea what an email alert is.
While Google has not discontinued ‘Google Alerts’ yet, there is a lot of chatter on the interwebs that the service is on the way out. If you are only running a few alerts you may not be seeing any degradation of the service, but heavy users will have seen a decrease in the frequency of the service as well as the number of results being served.
This post will feature three services similar to ‘Google Alerts’ that offer FREE plans: Mention, Talkwalker, and Infoxicate.
Criteria for inclusion: in order to be included, the services below had to (a) support a free plan, and (b) allow users to define their own keywords to create an alert from, rather than select from a predefined list.
Of all the services showcased here, Mention is the most mature in that it not only sends email alerts, but offers a web app, desktop apps (for Windows, Mac, and Linux), and mobile apps for iOS and Android. It also supports API access, so developers can import data easily into their own applications.
Billed as a ‘media monitoring application’, mention brings in results from the web as well as social media applications such as Twitter and Facebook. The mention interface has the look and feel of an RSS reader, with filters in the sidebar that can hone in on specific sources (blogs, Facebook, forums, Images, Twitter, etc.) and a built in browser that displays results inline.
Mention offers a free monthly quota of 500 alerts; however, you can receive an extra 100 alerts for each friend you refer that signs up.
We’ve been using Mention ever since our first review of it more than a year ago, and highly recommend it.
‘Google Alerts’ users will feel at home with ‘Talkwalker’; sign up, create your alerts, and receive email alerts. Talkwalker will let you specify the language, frequency, as well as the quality of results. You can also specify sources (news/blogs/discussion).
It’s very simple and works quite well.
Infoxicate is not really a straight alternative to ‘Google Alerts’, but it is interesting because it does not send keyword alerts, but rather reports them when events happen (such as, for example, whenever Leo Messi scores a goal, or whenever there’s a Google algorythm change).
In theory, Infoxicate lets you define and create feeds from your own events. There are a couple of problems, though: It is really not clear how you would go about doing this, aside typing it in straight (as in “let me know whenever Freewaregenius publishes a new post”). The other problem is that adding new user-events simply does not seem to work, and the only thing I could get is an error code and a “we are working on it”. You get the sense that someone (a human) has to work on your requested events, to code them into reality, but I am only guessing.
Still, there are many pre-defined events that you could subscribe to, although they tend to be very Israel-centric. May be worth keeping an eye on this service though, as it is a very interesting idea.
Do you know of any other services that should be on this list? Let me know in the comments section.