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I've been fascinated by Google Alerts for a long time but it never seems to deliver alerts as expected. As a final test I created a second Google account (in case there was something wrong with my primary account) and then generated a unique term that is not indexed in Google yet. This is the search term: 123MrwNcvxALUkLV3uFPtouczLsfvYcnnr (it's a new Bitcoin address).

I searched the term as alerts on both my existing account as well as the new one with options (all results, as it happens, all regions, etc.). I then made sure that Google indexed the search term (I just made a bitcoin payment to that address causing it to be used and displayed on various web sites and thus indexed by Google).

Sure enough a week later and I have zero alerts hits on both accounts even though there are now 18 results when doing a Google search on the term. Even if I go into Alerts web page and edit that search term it shows "There were no results for the query".

Am I misunderstanding what Alerts is supposed to deliver or why can I not get it to work?

There are many other search terms that do show up daily on Google Search but not triggered as an alert.

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    Since posting this question I have created an account at web.mention.net which does the same and it works as expected. Still 0 hits on google alerts – Pierre Nov 11 '15 at 1:13
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    Google Alerts has ever simply not worked. I don't think it's much of a priority for them. – ale Nov 13 '15 at 1:39
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So the answer is that Google Alerts is a bit useless and probably not useable if you want to track search terms that only show up sporadically. It seems to catch popular phrases which delivers more daily search results (how it decides which page to show as a alert and which not for a specific phrase I do not know).

Mention.com as an alternative works very well but is very expensive. Talkwalker looks like another alternative however not properly tested.

It seems there exist nothing that will catch each and every indexing of an search phrase as you would expect when you search for that same phrase in google.com search engine.

I am resorting to using Google's search api to develop my own app to track my search phrases.

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I noticed that the quantity of reported search results by Google Alerts decreased considerable over the last years plus Google still doesn't (or very limited) include results from social networks. That's why you might find results via Google search but don't get any or very few notifications via Google Alerts.

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    Hi Philip, please try to avoid answering just to plug a product in the process. I'm going to assume the remainder of your answer was in good faith, but please try to avoid this in the future. – jonsca Dec 22 '16 at 22:06
  • Hi Jonsca, Many thanks for your comment. I came across the post during my research. I didn't want to comment to just promote our service but share my opinion. Sorry for that. Philip – Philip Jan 20 '17 at 14:07

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