I started using the Filtrbox online monitoring service after reading Aliza’s great review from last year. Like her, I was intrigued by the promise of more easily managing the sheer volume of information I was wading through.
Since then, I have come to rely on the Daily Briefing email they send me. It outlines my results without me needing to visit the web site. While this “set it and forget it” system was providing good value for me, I knew I was missing out on a lot of the flexibility and power of the service.
So, prompted by the recent upgrade to what Filtrbox is calling the “G2″ release, I decided to revisit the site and see what else it could do for me.
Filtrbox is a monitoring service which scours the web to provide you relevant results related to your keyword-based searches, or “filtrs”. It is primarily aimed at companies doing brand monitoring and sales people researching prospects or competition. For the web worker like me, it is also a good choice for article and product research.
The key to Filtrbox is the filtr itself, and setting them up properly can affect search results significantly. You start with a basic keyword and then refine it with the “and”, “or” and “not” modifiers. For example, I might want Apple and iPhone but not AT&T. A drag-and-drop tag cloud helps to create and refine the filtr using the actual results.
What I really like is that Filtrbox acquires everything but then lets me control what I see. Each result is given a ranking based on the popularity of the site and my own personal usage and rating. By adjusting this FiltrRank I can keep the results manageable but then still expand them if I want a bigger picture view.
Content can be pulled from three source categories: Mainstream, Blogs and Social Media. Unfortunately, while you can adjust which category you want to search, this setting is applied at the account level, and not the filtr level where I think it would be much more useful.
There are also options to sort by rank and date, which are helpful.
While not really an aggregator, I can also have my results returned to me in my Google Reader via an RSS feed. Filtrbox they also sugges importing your current OPML feed export files into the application. This will let you use your rankings to tweak results and filter out the noise from what you are currently reading.
Filtrbox has cut the pricing significantly in this G2 release, moving from 25 filters for $20/month to unlimited filters and usage for $10/month. This makes the service much more appealing for a small business or independent worker, and a steal compared to some other monitoring services. The paid accounts also provide additional reporting and export options. There is also a free 14-day trial account.
Filtrbox is a browser-based application that requires Flash 9 or greater. IE7, Firefox 2 or later and Safari 2 or later are all supported.
How do you track your brand online? Would Filtrbox help you manage your searches?
Disclosure: Filtrbox is backed by True Ventures, a venture capital firm that is an investor in the parent company of this blog, Giga Omni Media. Om Malik, founder of Giga Omni Media, is also a venture partner at True