A Mention of a Google Alerts Alternative

Another Google product which may soon disappear is Google Alerts. Alerts are absolutely essential to keep track of a brand or an issue online, especially for crisis communication and reputation management. It’s important for lawyers dealing with these issues to identify web mentions as they occur and to respond proactively as needed.

Unfortunately I haven’t been pleased with the service for several years, noting the results were spotty and largely incomplete. Although I don’t have enormous “Google trust issues,” I have been looking for years for an effective alternative to Alerts without much success. Danny Sullivan at Search Engine Land confirms that Google Alerts is performing even worse than usual in the past few weeks.

Jeffry Pilcher of The Financial Brand expressed his disappointment in Alerts last week in an Open Letter to Google:

Reports about Google Alerts breakdown are all over the place (here, here, here, here, hereand here for instance). How does Google respond? With trite, dismissive, evasive “customer service” crutches like, “Hi all, thanks for the update. We’re currently investigating this.” Phbbbt…

Google, you know your Alerts system is busted, so why won’t you fix it? Or is it your intent to slowly wean users off Google Alerts by deliberately making them less relevant, less frequent and less useful until one day you can just pull the plug entirely?

Personally, I like to be prepared before they pull the plug, so I’m already looking elsewhere.

Lauren Indvik at Mashable points out a new service which could help replace Alerts. The service is called “Mention,” and has a number of improvements above Alerts to reduce noise and provide more focused results. For a monthly fee there are also statistics features and export functions available.

I have only been using Mention for 1 day, so I can’t comment on how well it works. I will point out a number of other alert services around:

Free use though, beyond a trial, is tough to come by. Are there any other Alert alternatives that you have been using effectively?


  1. Thanks for these links. Google Alerts has been very spotty lately.

    For keeping track of updates to specific pages, I find FollowThatPage to be very useful.

  2. Omar, I haven’t tried them out yet, but there are a number of alternatives listed in this blog post from econsultancy.com:

  3. Unfortunately nothing I’ve tried yet replaces the simplicity and the cost-effectiveness of Google.

    The foregoing can be said for not only Alerts but Reader, and it makes me wonder sometimes if Google is in the business of making us miss it more.

  4. or use google’s search with a 24-hour time limit