I have to admit that I’ve very seldom used them, but for some people, Google Web Alerts are a key feature. However, due to understandable reasoning by Google, Web Alerts are going the way of the dinosaur.
According to a quote on Google Operating System by Marcel Gordon, the Product Manager for Google Alerts:
“We’ve decided to retire Web alerts because they are used by very few people and an alert of type Everything will find the same results. This week we’ll be changing all alerts of type Web into alerts of type Everything. You may receive more results after this change. If you find that you are getting too many results, you can change the “How often” setting to “once a day” or “once a week.” You can also change your search query. You can do this on the alerts management page, or by removing the alert using the link at the bottom of each alert email and creating it again with different settings.”
It’s probably a shot in the dark, but I’m guessing that this is the complete death of Web Alerts. If I’m setting up an alert for something, it’s usually very specific. If I have to wade through a sea of information, I’ll typically find a better way to do it.