There's much concern running around at the moment relating to the inability of Google Alerts to 'do their thing' properly, and people are worrying that they might be on the kill list. It's a reasonable fear, and something that Google is going to have to get used to - with the speed they kill things, plus the fact that it doesn't matter how many people like or rely on something, we've got to get used to alternatives. Ideally, move to them as well I think. Anyway, if you're looking for an alternative to Google Alerts, you could do worse than try Mention. It's a really good tool that comes in a variety of flavours - you can download it and use as a standalone outside of the browser (which quite frankly just feels weird to me), you can run it from within your browser, or you can use it on a smartphone.
The concept is pretty basic - just tell it what you're interested in being kept up to date on. Add words, exclude words, and choose where you want Mention to look - everywhere that it can, or limit it in some way to websites, twitter, comments and so on. Everything is updated in real time - I'm getting used to a little popup appearing on the screen which is very helpful. You can mark stuff as favorites, you can assign a task to any user with whom you've shared this alert. Ask them to read, share or comment on a mention and keep a track of these actions with the task list. You can share your alert with anyone, whether or not they are a user of mention. You can connect any Facebook or Twitter account to an alert and manage multiple accounts. You can also search within your mentions as well, which is very helpful.
The page looks a bit like this - sorry, it's an alert for my name, but it could be a company name, event, conference - anything you like.
It's very simple to use, and I'm really enjoying it. There are both free and paid accounts, with the freebie limiting you to 500 mentions. If you find that you're running through those quite quickly, simply change what you ask Mention to look for - and cut out maybe something heavy, like Twitter, which you can monitor differently anyway. Give it a go, if you have time - it may change the way that you consider alerts.If you want to try it out, here's an invitation! (It doesn't get you anything extra, but in the interests of transparency, gets me an extra 100 mentions on my free account.)