Do you search the future?

I did a small bit of blog and social media consultancy for Roam4Free yesterday and it still never ceases to amaze me how few people are aware of prospective search.

Prospective searching is the ability to search the future. It is the ability to enter a search term in a search engine and say tell me whenever someone writes about x. The likes of Technorati watchlists make prospective searching really easy to do.

Yesterday, I helped the lads in Roam4Free set up prospective searches for the term Roam4Free (as well as a few other relevant terms) so today this post should have landed in their RSS reader automatically, simply because I mentioned their company name in the post. Hi guys!

If you want to keep on top of what is being said about you, your company, your products, your competitors, their products, and/or your market you should be searching the future.

15 thoughts on “Do you search the future?”

  1. But is it only possible to do this with Blogs?

    No, you can do it with Google News too, create an RSS feed for a search term.

    It’s a great tool and I use it all the time. The trickiest thing is getting the right key words. Otherwise you’re just bombarded with irrelevant stuff.

  2. I use Google Alerts for this all the time. It’s a great way to keep an eye on competitors, find out who links to you and who’s talking about you. Any time someone says “Eoghan McCabe”, I get an e-mail from Google.

  3. That’s a good question Alan and the answer really is that you are limited to sites publishing in RSS.

    However, as that becomes more and more of a norm (especially for sites who are publishing regularly) this becomes less and less of an issue.

  4. Interesting…

    How does this effect the press clipping companies? Does it reduce their usefulness or increase it by adding another tool to their arsenal. Or a bit of both?

  5. Alan – I’ve been thinking about that for a long time. In fact, I thought it might even be a viable business idea. “BlogWatch”, or whatever. But I’d feel a little guilty selling what would essentially cost me nothing and is free to all. Wouldn’t stop most folk though and I’m sure many would pay for such a service.

  6. Eoghan, I’m sure there are services doing that already. If they want to be faster than feeds from Technorati I’m sure they pay for better service from Technorati and the like.

  7. You are right Damien, I forgot about the MSN Search feeds. I have a couple of those already in my RSS reader. I find with the MSN Search that the results are not as timely as with others (Technorati et al.). Anyone else found that?

  8. Is this the same thing as PubSub? I use PubSub and eLerts to send me articles about topics i’m interested in… is there anything different about Google Alerts or Technorati vs. what I’m doing? I’ve never used them before…
    thanks and interesting post,
    David

  9. Yes Tom. I was one of those roam4free guys at your meeting and your feed appeared this morning along with a lot of other feeds I set up. Thank you for the enlightenment! It’s a very powerful social and business tool. Regards, Alan

  10. David – this is similar to PubSub, yes but as PubSub have had some corporate issues recently I decided to stick with showing Technorati. I haven’t tried eLerts so I can’t comment on that and my understanding of Google’s Alerts is that it comes in as an email as opposed to Technorati’s coming in to your rss reader.

    Alan – delighted it worked out for you.

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