13 Email Alerts

We are going to discuss the different types of email alerts, how to find them, and how to generate them yourself.

Class held on 10/15/2008. Student notes are available on this page. Possible questions are available on this page.

Class structure

  1. Go through “At beginning of class” information
  2. Go through diagram explaining email alerts
  3. Work on exercises

At beginning of class

  1. I switched the order of “Email alerts” and “Page monitors”. Those who were supposed to give industry updates on the PM day should still give them today as scheduled.
  2. I haven't graded anything new.
    • I'm giving a seminar on Thursday (tomorrow) about the technology that I use to teach this class (wiki, videos, presentations).
  3. Check the class notes page to see who is taking notes today and who is coming up with questions.
  4. Go over any other announcements you might have missed since last class.
  5. Check the start page for any blogs you might be interested in that you might have missed.
  6. From now on you don't have to “turn in” blogs with a piece of paper. You simply need to record the page within the SiteMaker page. I will be able to see that the page doesn't have a grade and will grade it (with a goal of the next class for the rest of the semester). Be especially certain to do this before Fall Break.
  7. Let's look over the upcoming industry updates.
    • For this class: None
    • For next class:
      • Search industry update: Andrew Hermatz (HermatzHermatz)
      • Google update: Dylan Burkhardt (dylanbdylanb)

My notes

The following is the drawing that I created in class describing the relationship among all of these change notification technologies.


Monitoring changes

  1. Email alert service
    • Monitor entire site
    • No false positives
    • Sometimes you want email (cell phone! or even Messenger)
  2. Next class
    1. RSS feeds
      • False positives
        • Unless keyword based or filtered somehow
    2. Page monitors
      • Lots of false positives unless keyword based
      • Monitor specific pages (but not sites)
  3. Why not just use RSS
    • Some sites don't have RSS feeds
      • So use site-based email alerts
    • Some information isn't site based
      • So use search-based email alerts
    • Some information is too fine-grained to be covered by RSS feeds
      • So use page monitors (next class)

Finding email alerts

  1. Search for email alerts
    • Query: "email alerts" OR "e-mail alerts" OR "email alert" OR "e-mail alert"
    • Google results (77.2 million in 2008) (60.2 million in 2007)
    • Yahoo results (392 million in 2008)
  2. More specific search for email alerts
    • Query: inurl:mail OR inurl:alert "email alerts" OR "e-mail alerts" OR "email alert" OR "e-mail alert"
    • Google results (115,000 in October 2008)
    • Yahoo results (242,000 in 2008)
  3. Science email alerts
  4. Copper email alerts

General email alert services

  1. Yahoo Alerts
  2. Google Alerts
    • All of this is based on submitting queries
      • Once a day
      • Once a week
    • Broad-ranging alerts
      • Web & comprehensive alerts
    • More specific
      • Keyword-based alerts for news, blogs, video and groups
  3. GoogleAlert
    • Advanced search form is the thing that makes it useful compared to Google's alert service

Email filtering

  1. Gmail
    • Limit around 7.2GB (4.5GB in October 2007)
    • Can use a filter
      • To forward just some emails (to different people?)
      • To apply a label to emails
    • Plus addressing
      • A powerful method that can be applied to Email alerts is using “plus addressing” service when you sign up for an Email alert (e.g. from some query), i.e. tell them that your address is dummy+moc.liamg|reifitnedIyreuQemos#moc.liamg|reifitnedIyreuQemos instead of the normal address moc.liamg|ymmud#moc.liamg|ymmud. Thus, if you get this address to your mail account, you can filter it by what comes after the plus! This is a extremely helpful since it makes it easier to filter emails.
      • Description for GMail and description for Yahoo Mail
      • Use a different address for each email alert
      • Helps you filter
      • Helps you track who is selling your email address
      • Can be used with GoogleAlert but not Google Alerts (the Google-affiliated site)
  2. Defining a filter
    • Keep definition to a minimum, as simple as possible
    • Test, test, test

Project wiki clarification

You should do the following for your project wiki:

  1. You should figure out some way that you are going to document the email alerts that you use in your email account to route your incoming alerts. Maybe print the alert page to a PDF file and link it to your wiki? Maybe take a screenshot of your email inbox and highlight the email alerts?
  2. In either case, you are going to want to have a section in your wiki called "Email alerts".
  3. On this page you should describe each of the email alerts that you used: the page from which you subscribed to it, why it is useful, and if there are any keywords (or such) that you used to generate it.
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