A while back, I signed up for several Google Alerts. Google Alerts is a free service that alerts you when your choice of keywords or phrases shows up on news pages, the Web, blogs, videos, and Google group searches.
Google recommends setting up Google Alerts to:
- monitor a developing news story
- keep current on a competitor or industry
- track medical advances
- get the latest on a celebrity or sports team (yeah, we all need more news about Britney)
- watch for new videos that match a specific topic
Me, I set up Google Alerts for my name (Joanna Pineda) and my company name (Matrix Group International, Inc.). I had to experiment with using ” ” to get the right alerts; otherwise, I was getting a lot of false alerts on news items with the word matrix.
Tonight, I received a Google Alert on my name, which showed up on a new listing in the business directory Jigsaw.com. Trouble was, the ownership information is wrong and the CEO is some guy I don’t even know! As a result, we have sent an e-mail to the company, asking to view the full directory listing and to make corrections. Without Google Alerts, we might never have known about this incorrect listing.
Maria Lima, Director of Client Services at Matrix Group by day is a published mystery author at night. She uses Google Alerts to learn about any mentions of her and her book on the Web. Through Google Alerts, she learned about a Filipino book club that was reading her book last summer!
This type of news clipping service would never have been affordable to individuals like Maria or small business like Matrix Group in the past. But with Google Alerts, anyone can be alerted when they get their 15 minutes of fame on the Web.