NYTimes.com Launches E-Mail Alert Service

NYTimes Digital, the online business unit of The New York Times Co. and the publisher of the NYTimes.com Web site, earlier this month quietly launched the Times News Tracker e-mail alert service.

The service enables users to track coverage of specific subjects, people, places and companies in The New York Times. The customizable service sends an e-mail alert to the user when a story matching their preferences is published on NYTimes.com. The e-mail alerts, which are advertiser supported, contain a summary of the news story and a URL that will take the user to the full article on the NYTimes.com Web site.

“Users have several different ways to set up an alert,” explained Stephen Newman, assistant general manager of NYTimes.com. “They can further refine the alert so they can pretty much receive what they want and eliminate what they don't want.”

Newman explained that if a user wants to receive alerts about jazz music, but not about the Utah Jazz basketball team, an alert can be set up with specific keywords to include and specific ones to eliminate.

Users can create up to three alerts for free. A registration page is available on NYTimes.com at www.nytimes.com/newstracker, where users can specify the subject and delivery frequency of their alerts.

In addition, users can sign up for alerts within most articles that run on NYTimes.com. Within each article there is a box that includes keywords relevant to the article, which also can be used as the subject of an alert. For example, a recent article about President Bush inviting Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia to his ranch in Texas included a box with the keywords: “Bush, George W.”; “Middle East”; “United States International Relations”; and “Saudi Arabia.” Each keyword can be set up as an alert.

These topic-based alerts are generated by the indexing system the publisher uses to archive each issue of The New York Times.

Newman said since the service was officially launched March 5, about 32,000 users have set up 40,000 alerts. The NYTimes.com's readers set up 4,000 alerts per day, he said.

“We're looking to hit well into the six figures by the end of the year for users and alerts,” Newman said.

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