The following is a Quora post I wrote concerning news aggregators…
As an industry analyst that publishes a weekly subscription newsletter on the information industry, I follow companies and industry topics related to my industry. Coverage spans about fifty companies across North America and Europe with many of the firms having global footprints. As such, press releases are likely to come from North America and Europe but news coverage needs to be global.
Alerts are basically a distraction so I employ daily push (email alerts) and pull (portals) approaches. I only want alerts for major events (e.g. PE/VC fundings and M&A activity).
Also, I am not performing due diligence or media analysis, so duplicate filtering and high precision are critical. I do not want five variants on the same AP story or passing mentions of companies in the twelfth paragraph of an article. I also am not interested in stock market news as it is ephemeral.
I provided the above as I use information services to meet specific workflow needs. Your needs may differ. Here is how I achieve the above objectives (in order of importance):
- FirstRain – I have used FirstRain for five years. They have extremely high precision meaning that stories are almost always about the topic in question. They include a FirstTweets feature which provides ten Tweets about my subject. Instead of simply looking for Twitter keywords, they follow the Twitter links and analyze the linked content. Thus, FirstTweets provides me with side door access to blogs, company website posts, and social media. I am setup to receive daily news for companies and industries and can explore their news archive by company, industry, or business topic. SUBSCRIPTION SERVICE
- Owler – Owler combines semantic mining of open web news with social media crawling (Blogs, YouTube, and Vimeo), polling (e.g. CEO and transaction favorability), crowdsourcing (e.g. company size estimates and competitors), and editorial resources. Editors review story tagging to improve precision and collect funding and M&A information. I receive daily alerts of news and social media that complements FirstRain well. I also receive editorially created M&A and funding alerts that provide transaction details and company overviews along with curated story hyperlinks. FREE SERVICE
- Feedly – I use Feedly as my RSS portal. I have it setup for company blogs, industry analysts, trade publications, and a few individual bloggers. I generally use Feedly as a backup system to make sure I haven’t missed a story or for when my newsletter is short and I’m looking for additional ideas. FREE SERVICE
- Seeking Alpha – I have a short list of public companies that I cover with earnings news flashes. Seeking Alpha provides me with alerts on transcripts, filings, and investor analysis (I generally ignore the investor analysis). The key things for me are the earnings bullets and transcripts. FREE SERVICE
- Trade Publications – I am setup for weekly feeds of a few trade publications. FREE SERVICES
- Factiva – Factiva is a subscription service, but I can access it through my alma mater’s library. I generally access Factiva only a few times per quarter for archival research (they go back over thirty years) or Wall Street Journal articles (Factiva and the WSJ are both owned by News Corp). SUBSCRIPTION SERVICE
- YouTube – I have setup the corporate YouTube sites for many of the companies I follow. YouTube provides corporate positioning videos, product demos, webinars, conference keynotes, and training tips. I live in YouTube the week of Dreamforce (SFDC’s annual show) as I am not able to attend the show. FREE SERVICE
I also have licenses to various sales intelligence services but do not use them generally for my newsletter as it could bias my research. If you have access to a subscription sales intelligence service (e.g. InsideView, Avention, Hoover’s) or news service (e.g. Factiva or LexisNexis), it can also be part of your aggregation mix.