It seems I often tell folks that they get what they pay for. And I think that is especially true when it comes to legal services. But sometimes, you can get something good for cheap or free.
Google Alerts is a free service from Google that allows you to set up a series of search terms or names and receive emailed alerts when Google finds those search terms on the web. It is very easy to set up and monitor, and the alerts that it sends are very timely, in my experience. Folks and companies of all types can use Google Alerts to monitor press coverage and other internet activity in an individual's name or a company's name, for example.
But Google Alerts has a lot of value to compliance and legal folks in the financial services industry, I think. Broker-Dealers and RIAs may want to set up a series of alerts for compliance purposes. For example, alerts could help identify undisclosed outside business activities, potential selling away situations, advertising and communications with the public violations, and more, when such activity involves internet postings or web pages. This can give compliance officers another tool in their toolbox, to help augment their supervision program and oversight of brokers and agents; of course this does not replace other supervision steps that firms must take.
Sometimes you can get something for nothing.