Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Tuesday, December 3, 2002

Real Time News Monitoring on Your Custom Selected Topics

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These alerts provide immediate updates of just about anything you can think of from news and auctions to stock information and product sales. Depending on the service, you can receive the alerts by email, pager, mobile device, on screen pop up messages, instant messenger and browser tools.

You can get more than just receive information with these services - get updates on competitors, know who is talking about your company, keep track of sales and auctions, receive late-breaking news and much more.



TracerLock is a breakthrough online service tool starting from USD $4/month that could be valuable to writers, researchers, reporters and journalists looking to keep on top of information without the overload. TracerLock systematically scans thousands of news sources including news sites, online journals and e-zines on a daily basis.

For a monthly fee of USD $4, TracerLock allows you to: a) receive e-mail alerts of new articles that contain your search term(s) within 15 minutes of publishing, b) customize news feeds for publishing on your web site or blog, c) monitor for changes on your personal list of sites, and d) find new listings of your search terms in news groups and major search engines.

TracerLock provides its users with TracerLock Toolbar, a free utility. After downloading and installing the tool, you can check whether or not any web page you navigate contains any of the ten terms that you enter into the toolbar. If the terms appear on the page, they are immediately highlighted. It also let you to add the URL of any page you visit to the list of URLs monitored by TracerLock for changes. A Lite version is available and it isn't as closely integrated with a TracerLock account as the TracerLock Toolbar.

The TracerLock Desktop application contains the features of TracerLock in a standalone application. Using it, you can manage search terms, URLs to track, frequency for receiving alerts and more. A 30-day free trial is available to all new subscribers. Access the site and subscribe to the free trial at

Find out what are the best present-day tools and techniques to stay up-to-date without lifting a finger.

Google Alerts


Google Alerts sends you a notification whenever there's an update on your selected keywords. It emails immediately as new results appear, once a day or once a week. You have the option of receiving HTML or text-based alert emails . The four types of alerts are news, Web, both news and Web or groups. The FAQ explains the difference:

"A 'News' alert is an email that lets you know if new articles make it into the top ten results of your Google News search. A 'Web' alert is an email that lets you know if new web pages appear in the top twenty results for your Google Web search. A 'News & Web' alert is an email that lets you know when new articles related to your search term make it into the top ten results for a Google News search or the top twenty results for a Google Web search. A 'Groups' alert is an email that lets you know if new posts make it into the top fifty results of your Google Groups search."

GoogleAlert is a different service managed by a company not affiliated with Google. Its alerts only come once a day or less often.

Microsoft Alerts

Microsoft Alerts

Microsoft sends alerts covering a wide range of topics that you can receive by email, on a mobile device or on the desktop using Messenger. Alerts can notify you of appointments, when you exceed your credit limit, when a product you've been watching is on sale, the day's weather forecast and your daily horoscope.

Signing up for alerts requires a free Microsoft Passport account and there are three flavors of alerts: businesses, developers and consumers. Consumer is free, the developer edition is for those who build alerts, and business is a paid service as it for businesses who want to create alerts for their customers.

Not only do the alerts come from Microsoft-affiliated services, but also from different providers like eBay, MSN Money, Fox Sports, (dating service), MSN autos, MSN videos and others. You can see a list of providers here. You can manage your alerts to modify the delivery locations (Messenger, email or mobile device), set the time zone and create rules for quiet times when you don't want to receive alerts by day of the week and time.

Yahoo! Alerts

Yahoo Alerts

Yahoo! alerts sends real time updates so you can get the latest news, weather, stocks, music recommendations and concert updates, best airline fares and more by email, mobile device and Yahoo! Messenger. However, not all alerts are available for all three delivery options. If you already have a Yahoo! account, you can use that with the alerts service and edit your email address to have the alerts go to a specific address instead of your Yahoo one.

You can create three types of news alerts: breaking news, keyword news and daily news digest. With keywords, you can indicate the words you want and the words you don't want in the search. Alerts can come as they happen or once daily. The service is free, but if you're using a wireless carrier — you might get charged fees for sending and receiving text messages depending on your wireless plan.



PubSub is a matching service that instantly notifies you when new content matching your subscription is published. PubSub scans millions of data sources. Using the sidebar for Internet Explorer or Firefox or through feeds, you can get notifications through your browser. With the Sidebar, you get links to any news stories, blog posts or other items that match your interests as soon as they're published on the Web.

When you enter terms for a specific subscription, you can limit the results to the top 1, 2, 5, 10, 25 or 75 percent of sources. You can also include or exclude high volume blogs and personal journals. Create subscriptions to monitor specific resources such as blogs, newsgroups, press releases and others. Another tool is the Bookmarklet, which allows you to create new subscriptions without going to the PubSub home page.

KnowNow eLerts


KnowNow eLerts is a free Internet Explorer toolbar that provides real-time notification of new content posted on the Web. You select the publishers and sites you want to watch and then alerts appear with information on what's new as soon as it's posted. Click on the link to read the full post, stick it to the desktop as a reminder or ignore it. The toolbar has a list of recent alerts for later reading and you can choose how many you want it to list. You can easily turn off the toolbar by clicking on the Active button.

The toolbar services works with any RSS and Atom feed and you don't need an RSS reader to use it. To add an alert, simply drag and drop any feed button into the "Add Channel" field in the toolbar. Or you can browse and search the channel guide to find suggested resources. System requirements: Internet Explorer 5.5 or 6.0 and Windows 2003, XP or 2000. Watch a demo to see how it works.



Serence KlipFolio is a dashboard for monitoring data resources like weather, stocks, news, email, feeds and auctions on your Windows desktop. The application supports many language packs At Klip Farm, you can see the list of Klips (resources), editor's picks, new Klips, updated Klips, and links to a blog, forums and support. Use the KlipFolio skins to change up the look and colors to suit your taste.

It works with Firefox and Opera. System requirements include Windows 98, ME, NT4, 2000 or XP, Pentium II or greater, 32 MB RAM or greater, 8MB or greater hard drive space available and Internet Explorer 4.0+ (you can still use Firefox or Opera as the default).

AOL Alerts and Reminders

AOL Alerts

AOL Alerts & Reminders alert you to breaking news, sports scores, stock quotes and weather forecasts wherever you are. Use Alert Groups to keep friends and family up-to-date on important news, which could be a new job, a new baby, the next family reunion or a move. With reminders, you can add appointments and tasks so you can receive a reminder at the specified time and date as well as create repeating reminders.

Alerts arrive by email, AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) or a mobile device. The service is free except those using wireless need to check with their wireless carrier for fees. If you are online when an important event occurs, you are instantly notified with a pop-up message on your screen. If you are not online, the Alert is sent to your mobile device, or if you haven't set up a mobile device, then alerts are delivered by email. You can also set up quiet hours, the times when you don't want to receive alerts.

URLy Warning


URLy Warning is an application for monitoring changes on Web sites including news sites, blogs, search queries, job postings and auctions. When you receive a notification by email, pop up or an email sent to a pager, you know exactly what changed on the Web page. You can set up alerts for a specific page, specific number of changes and watch password protected sites.

The application requires Windows 98 or later. An always-on Internet connection is recommended, but not required. It's free to monitor one page and USD$29.95 for the full version.

WorldFlash Gold


WorldFlash Gold is a real time news ticker that provides the latest news and events as they happen. When you see a story of interest, just click on it to get the full story. Stay on top of national, high tech, international, US local news, business and finance, sports, entertainment and other news. You can also add RSS feeds, track user-selected keywords, receive email alerts for up to 12 accounts and email a headline to a friend feature.

WorldFlash Gold requires Windows 95 or later and Internet service including AOL, 32 MB RAM or more, SVGA video mode or better, 1 MB disk space and Netscape, Opera, Firefox or Internet Explorer browsers. A 45-day trial version is available along with a 30-day money back guarantee. A single license retails for USD$44.95.



Squeet sends updated news, blogs and more to your email account at no cost. Squeet is similar to an RSS reader (also known as feed reader and news reader) except that you don't install anything and your updates are delivered by email.

You can set up a schedule to receive updates at specific times. You can also pause feeds and schedule delivery times, a helpful feature especially when you won't have access to email due to travel or other reasons. Feeds are updated based on the feed and most feeds are refreshed every 30 minutes.

You can import your feeds using OPML so you can enter your existing feeds into Squeet without re-entering all of the feeds. You can also export feeds to OPML and share your feeds with others.

Updated: February 6, 2006

Readers' Comments    
2003-09-08 21:17:16

Mike Wilson

There is also a free service that does a similar thing called Google Alert - . It automatically runs daily Google searches for you and
emails you when new results appear. It also gives you the option of recieving results as RSS feeds for integration into websites.

I use it to track a bunch of topics I am interested in. I've found it easy to use and very helpful.

posted by Robin Good on Tuesday, December 3 2002, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

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