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Hi, I’m Brad Feld, a managing director at the Foundry Group who lives in Boulder, Colorado. I invest in software and Internet companies around the US, run marathons and read a lot.

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I’ve Deleted All My Alerts And Replaced Them With Filtrbox

Comments (13)

I have been looking forward to this day for a while.  I’ve always been obsessed with following any news or blog mentions of any of the companies I’m an investor and the people I work with.  For the past few years I’ve satisfied my obsession with an extensive set of Google Alerts (via email), Yahoo Alerts (via email) and Technorati Alerts (via RSS).  Occasionally I’ll add something else to the mix usually through RSS (such as a FriendFeed or Summize keyword feed.)  My email rules shunt everything to my "daily" folder so I only have to look through it once a day (when I read through my RSS feeds.)

Last week I deleted all my alerts.  I was able to do this because Filtrbox – one of the TechStars companies from last year – is now finding much more than 100% of the information that my alerts were picking up, including 100% of what I got from the alerts.  I’d been running the two in parallel for about six months and saw the lines cross about two months ago, but went ahead and had both run just in case.  I’m now confident that I won’t miss any of the alert stuff.

Dealing with Filtrbox is so much easier and more pleasant.  I enter my keywords into one UI instead of Google, Yahoo, Technorati, and others.  I get a daily email digest of everything Filtrbox found.  I have a history of all the data so if I want to go find an article from a month ago, I can easily find it in Filtrbox.  And I get a bunch of cool data visualizations.

I’ve watched Ari Newman, Tom Chikoore, and team evolve Filtrbox from its starting point last summer at TechStars.  I’m blown away – they’ve really nailed it.  Ari and Tom took a deliberately "slow and steady" approach – making sure they really built something deep and robust before releasing it to the world.  They accomplished this – and it’s ready for action.

As a special bonus for all you Olympic fans (like me), they’ve put together an Olympic Blog Widget that is customizable and pulls from their data sources.  Guys – super cool.

  • http://www.jumpbox.com Kimbro Staken

    I think you've moved to the status of Slashdot and digg in taking sites down. After seeing your post I immediately went to signup and got “Error, user creation failed. Lock wait timeout exceeded; try restarting transaction” Hope they get that worked out soon, looks like a really cool service.

    • Patrick

      Thanks for reporting the issue and sorry for the inconvenience. We will investigate the error directly. We have seen other new subscriber sign ups this afternoon and were able to create your account through the site. I will send you your login information privately.

  • Julian Yang

    I got the error message as well. FAIL

  • http://friendfeed.com/bradnickel Brad Nickel

    I just haven't had the time to make it work my way yet. I spent a bit of time on it after your blog post about it, but still haven't seen much from it. Guess I will give it another run.

  • Aziz Grieser

    I like Filterbox. Congrats to Ari and team. I know they've been a long time coming.

  • Evan

    I work in PR and this service would be great. I signed up for the beta (I think it was the beta) when you posted about them several months ago.

    The problem is that their pricing options are extremely constricting. 100 filters would be enough for my company (~25 people/~20 clients) but the 6 user limit is way too low. Getting a Pro account for each user (25 filters) is overkill and presumably much more of a pain to manage (assuming the Team option is good for managing teams). An unlimited option (think 37signals' pricing plans) is probably worth exploring for these guys.

    Just my $.02

    • http://newmanva.com/blog arinewman

      Thanks Evan. Great feedback and this is something we have been discussing quite a bit as we know we need to improve the options and flexibility. I'd be very interested in knowing how you would price it so you had comfortable price points for both individual use and your company.

  • http://blog.imulus.com George Morris

    Couldn't I do the same thing using http://NetVibes.com? I can insert a Google widget to search Google News and set it to “apple iphone -firmware”. It would produce close to the same results that are in their demo.

    • http://newmanva.com/blog arinewman

      Fair question – Filtrbox monitors mainstream sources (not just Google news), blog sources, Twitter, FriendFeed and online news video in one place. You also can consume the articles via RSS (and stick them into a netvibes RSS widget), via Daily Briefing email, or our Dashboard. In order to get the same coverage you'd probably need to set up an entire NetVibes tab with the same searches for different sources in different widgets and then sift through the articles looking for the unique ones. How much is your time worth?

      The biggest advantages here are that you have noise control via FiltrRank, easy access to include/exclude keywords to refine your searches (not everyone knows how to structure and constantly refine boolean search strings), and article history. You can easily share articles, share Filtrs, and analyze the content also.
      Thanks George!

  • http://friendfeed.com/seanmcbride Sean McBride

    No RSS/Atom feed?

    • http://newmanva.com/blog arinewman

      Sean – we provide both RSS inputs and outputs. You can add RSS feeds to your account for Filtrbox to monitor (OPML support coming soon) and can also generate custom RSS feeds for the results we find (called FiltrFeeds). The custom feeds can be tuned based on content, # of days, FiltrRank score and number of articles.

  • http://devver.net/blog Dan Mayer

    Brad glad you could get rid of all your other alerts. I did the same awhile ago. Filterbox was just doing a much better job keeping me informed than my other alerts. The emails each morning are a great way to keep up with things.

  • Paul Edmondson

    I set one up for our company and it found good stories that my technorati and google filters had missed. I tried to use Yahoo Pipes for this, but their results are better.

  • Paul Edmondson

    I set one up for our company and it found good stories that my technorati and google filters had missed. I tried to use Yahoo Pipes for this, but their results are better.

  • mark

    why dont they tell you the source of the feed on the results page?

    • http://newmanva.com/blog arinewman

      Mark – the system does provide the source, and in all mediums (daily briefing emails, dashboard, and FiltrFeeds) for articles found. I think you may be referring to the search results in the dashboard when you first set up the Filtr, as the source domain is not provided there yet. We'll add that in the near future hopefully; it was left out to keep the search results fast for now.

  • Julian Yang

    I got the error message as well. FAIL

  • George Morris

    Couldn't I do the same thing using http://NetVibes.com? I can insert a Google widget to search Google News and set it to "apple iphone -firmware". It would produce close to the same results that are in their demo.

  • Kimbro Staken

    I think you've moved to the status of Slashdot and digg in taking sites down. After seeing your post I immediately went to signup and got "Error, user creation failed. Lock wait timeout exceeded; try restarting transaction" Hope they get that worked out soon, looks like a really cool service.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/aziz_griese5636 aziz_griese5636

    I like Filterbox. Congrats to Ari and team. I know they've been a long time coming.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/arinewman120 arinewman120

    Fair question – Filtrbox monitors mainstream sources (not just Google news), blog sources, Twitter, FriendFeed and online news video in one place. You also can consume the articles via RSS (and stick them into a netvibes RSS widget), via Daily Briefing email, or our Dashboard. In order to get the same coverage you'd probably need to set up an entire NetVibes tab with the same searches for different sources in different widgets and then sift through the articles looking for the unique ones. How much is your time worth?

    The biggest advantages here are that you have noise control via FiltrRank, easy access to include/exclude keywords to refine your searches (not everyone knows how to structure and constantly refine boolean search strings), and article history. You can easily share articles, share Filtrs, and analyze the content also.
    Thanks George!

  • Evan

    I work in PR and this service would be great. I signed up for the beta (I think it was the beta) when you posted about them several months ago.

    The problem is that their pricing options are extremely constricting. 100 filters would be enough for my company (~25 people/~20 clients) but the 6 user limit is way too low. Getting a Pro account for each user (25 filters) is overkill and presumably much more of a pain to manage (assuming the Team option is good for managing teams). An unlimited option (think 37signals' pricing plans) is probably worth exploring for these guys.

    Just my $.02

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/arinewman120 arinewman120

    Thanks Evan. Great feedback and this is something we have been discussing quite a bit as we know we need to improve the options and flexibility. I'd be very interested in knowing how you would price it so you had comfortable price points for both individual use and your company.

  • Dan Mayer

    Brad glad you could get rid of all your other alerts. I did the same awhile ago. Filterbox was just doing a much better job keeping me informed than my other alerts. The emails each morning are a great way to keep up with things.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Patrick_Cameron Patrick_Cameron

    Thanks for reporting the issue and sorry for the inconvenience. We will investigate the error directly. We have seen other new subscriber sign ups this afternoon and were able to create your account through the site. I will send you your login information privately.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/arinewman120 arinewman120

    Mark – the system does provide the source, and in all mediums (daily briefing emails, dashboard, and FiltrFeeds) for articles found. I think you may be referring to the search results in the dashboard when you first set up the Filtr, as the source domain is not provided there yet. We'll add that in the near future hopefully; it was left out to keep the search results fast for now.

  • mark

    why dont they tell you the source of the feed on the results page?

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/arinewman120 arinewman120

    Sean – we provide both RSS inputs and outputs. You can add RSS feeds to your account for Filtrbox to monitor (OPML support coming soon) and can also generate custom RSS feeds for the results we find (called FiltrFeeds). The custom feeds can be tuned based on content, # of days, FiltrRank score and number of articles.

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