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March 14, 2018, 12:09 p.m.
Aggregation & Discovery
LINK: twitter.com  ➚   |   Posted by: Shan Wang   |   March 14, 2018

The New York Times has sunset those custom email alerts to Times stories, that users could tailor based on keywords of their interests. The feature, which met its unceremonious end Tuesday, March 13, was being used by less than half a percent of users, according to a Times spokesperson. From the outside, it didn’t seem like MyAlerts was a huge technical lift to maintain, but “much of the technology powering MyAlerts was built in the early 2000s.” Ending the feature frees up “resources to invest in new engagement and messaging features that will debut in 2018. We also encourage our readers to sign up for one of over 50 email newsletters.”

Some of us at the Lab were heavy, loyal users of that feature. Our director Josh has had an alert set up for “cajun,” for instance, since 2008. I love my “media” alert, which helps me keep tabs on good media reporting done at the Times that I might have missed via Twitter and Nuzzel. I also used the feature in high school and throughout college, and used it for my part-time college development office job researching donors. RIP to Josh’s “cajun” emails; RIP to my “Howard Zinn,” “Conan O’Brien,” and “Gerald Chan” email alerts. Google Alerts isn’t quite the same, and we we won’t be getting dedicated NYT email newsletters around those topics anytime soon. (To be fair, the Howard Zinn one hasn’t ever gotten much play.)

But fret not: If you still want to keep these email alerts coming, you totally can, via an IFTTT recipe.

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