We all have topics and ideas that we like to keep track of. Maybe it’s something that you are “waiting” for, or you want to keep track of trends in your business that either you just need to know, you want to write about on your own blog or website, or competition you like to keep track of. I used to subscribe to Google Alerts for a number of topics, like “GroupWise” (a product that I support in my business) or my business name (to see if people were talking about me, good or bad).
Problem is, Google Alerts, like most things Google is free. That makes it very appealing to users, but doesn’t necessarily make it reliable. In fact, over the years, my Google alerts have dwindled.
I recently found Mention.Net. And I have to say, I love it. It is very flexible, and can create some complex queries. For example, one of the things I’m interested in is IMAP clients for iOS – yeah I know – get a life! But one of my business hats is corporate email consulting, and I get a lot of questions about new, cool email apps for iOS, and so I keep my eyes and ears open for information. Here’s one of my more complex mention queries:
Notice how I can not only use and/or statements, but I can also exclude things I don’t want. So, in this case, I want to see posts regarding iOS AND IMAP, but I’ve also excluded a few words that pop up that do not interest me.
I also have a mention for my name (no narcissistic tendency jokes please). I have a unique situation in that I have a “grave” accent on the e on my name – Zanrè. I have found that searching the web for Zanre doesn’t always return Zanrè. Also, sometimes people misspell it as Zanré. And there have been instances where the e is stripped off altogether because it’s an extended character. Wildcards don’t seem to work, so I built a query that handles it all.
And perhaps where Mention really gets it right is where and how it searches. As you can see from the above graphics, I can choose languages to search, and below you will see the locations to search in. I have had results that are magnitudes greater than Google Alerts from Mention.net by searching in forums, blogs, video, etc.
Also, being able to block certain URLs (perhaps other aggregation sites that just duplicate your efforts, or places that skew the results) and have mention be “smart” by noticing which mentions you delete and change the way it provides results based on your actions is very powerful.
Mention is free for a month. Then it falls back to a free account, limited to the number of alerts you can receive. Like Dropbox, you can invite your friends to increase your quota, or if your needs really warrant it, you can pay for the service.
Check it out!