Many thanks to Rick Wimberly for cluing us into the Federation for Internet Alerts (see this story) and now telling us that the Weather Channel may do a related kind of thing (although theirs will also include a message authoring capability, it seems).
And Google offers something similar, which they call Google Public Alerts.
A quick search suggests that the average American spends between 1 – 3 hours per day on the Internet via PC or phone, so getting to people via the Internet adds an important new channel. And because Internet alerts can include hyperlinks, they can provide much more information than a 90-character WEA (Wireless Emergency Alert) or even an EAS broadcast, which is typically just text scrolling on the bottom of the TV screen. (See this for an example of the kind of information available for an Amber Alert.)
The folks at the Federation for Internet Alerts (FIA) told us that they were the #1 source of tips generated on Amber Alerts last year. That’s pretty impressive and shows the potential here.
If you’re a Hyper-Reach client, know that we’ve already approached the FIA and Google about letting us integrate so that you can send your emergency alerts to these networks using Hyper-Reach. It may take a while to get there (FIA told us they have issues they need to resolve first, for example.) And we’ve started a discussion with the Weather Channel as well. Since we’re already compatible with CAP (Common Alerting Protocol), we’ve got the technology down. There are still many issues to work out, but we see some great opportunities to enhance emergency alerts coming up.