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Web Monitoring Alert Services: Google vs. Yahoo vs. Talkwalker

Alert services let you track people, companies (yours and the competition), and just about anything that interests you.
A few months ago, I wrote about alternatives to Google Alerts, and decided to put it to the test. I ran three searches – on a person, a company and a concept – for a month comparing three free services: Google and Talkwalker from the previous post along with Yahoo Alerts.

“Search Everything” Option

All three services let you search across all web content or news only. Google and Talkwalker also have a blog only search.
Yahoo – You’ll want to avoid the “search everything” option in Yahoo. Choose “news” or “blogs” instead. Searching across all content is useless and a huge waste of time. I received daily email alerts for a month with the same information: Wikipedia entry, Facebook Page, LinkedIn profile, dictionary definitions and an occasional news item, most of which were dated – some more than two years old.
Google – Google Alerts has an additional delivery-limiting feature, “only the best results.” I limited one of my searches to this and left the other two at “all results.” Google was a dismal failure at both. I received zero email alerts for the search limited to “best results” and only one for “all results.”
Talkwalker – I received half as many email alerts as Yahoo. They were separated by “Blog” and “News,” and were current with only a few duplicates.

Searching News and Blogs

Yahoo – I received a couple of “News” only alerts. Yahoo doesn’t have a separate blog search option. The service missed a few news items and blog posts.
Google – Again, Google retuned only one hit. As mentioned in the previous post, this service is clearly broken.
Talkwalker – Alerts from the “News” and “Blog” options didn’t vary much from the “Everything” option. The only additional information came from forums and groups.

The Winner

Google Alerts was the clear loser. Just as clear, was the winner: Talkwalker. Go ahead and set your alerts to “Search Everything.” And delete you Google and Yahoo alerts.
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