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Ask HN: How do people know they're being talked about on HN?
18 points by dpweb on April 12, 2014 | hide | past | favorite | 16 comments
Repeatedly on HN, this will happen. Someone will mention something, like for instance someone says something about a16z, and the next thing Mark Andreessen is commenting back in the thread.

Or someone says "X company is bullshit!" and 5 minutes later you see in the thread, "CEO of X Company here.. We're not bullshit".

Some of these people are famous and I would think, not hanging out staring at HN (in these particular threads no less) all day.

How are they being alerted that their company etc.. is being discussed and able to respond so quickly?

Several scenarios:

1) They are, in fact, hanging out at HN more than you think.

2) They routinely type their names into the search box, out of curiosity or to gauge their publicity.

3) (unlikely) They're continuing the age-old trend of kibozing (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Parry), where they write scripts that crawl and grep for certain terms, so that they may respond. I'm not sure how HN handles bots, and if anyone actually does this here.

#3 isn't too hard if you use the HNStream API (http://hnstream.com/)

http://HNWatcher.com is a free service we launched to do so ;)

Nice. Two years ago made something similar to follow HN users on http://www.nou.nl/hn/

I use it extensively (and it's how I found this post!)

Love the tool, I learn so much about areas of interest as a result of it.

Any plans to expand it to more sites?

Possibly to Reddit. Which service do you have in mind?

I was thinking of Reddit, in fact. It would have to be subreddit-specific though, since the larger subreddits are too noisy.


Mention.com might be worth looking into for that.

Hey there, I’m the Community Manager for mention and I’d be happy to answer any and all questions! alex at mention dot com - we’re always here to help!

There are many ways. Google Alerts, companies' traffic logs seeing many Hacker News referrers (most likely), word of mouth...

Google Alert does not seem to work at all for HN

Somebody tells them about it. It could be somebody who hangs out on HN that sees it, or somebody at the company that watches web traffic referrals or uses something like HNWatcher that julien421 mentioned.

using something like http://hnwatcher.com

also - to get emails when someone replies to you: hnnotify.com

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