The Dark Side of the Internet

What can make your company stock crash from $12.50 to $3 a share within 15 minutes? The answer: An article in a local newspaper... from 6 years ago.

Wall Street Journal reports a truly amazing story (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122100794359017593.html) that reads almost like a science-fiction. Here is a possible chain of events:
- Hurricane is near Florida
- People search online for plane delays in Florida
- In search results they stumble upon a six-year-old article about bankruptcy of United Airlines published in Florida's Sun-Sentinel newspaper
- Since it is Saturday night, not many people are on the site of the newspaper, so even a few hits make that old story move up into the list of popular stories
- Google's crawler, that checks popular stories every 15 minutes or so, notices the change and picks up the old story
- Being old the story does not have proper tags that would identify it as a 2002 story
- Monday morning, a financial research firm notices the story on Google and assumes it is current
- The story is supplied to Bloomberg
- Wall Street traders see the story and... stock plunges down within 15 minutes!

Wow! I just wonder what other old story will make it big on the stock market...

And what can IRO do? Should we search for our company name in variety of word combinations? Maybe not even stopping on the first page of search results, but looking through the first ten pages or so?

1 comment:

Darrell Heaps said...

Hi Alex,

A tip for any IRO is to use Google Alerts. www.google.com/alerts

You set it up with your list of keywords and can set the frequency of email alerts (real-time, daily, weekly). Then each time Google indexes content with that keyword you get an email alert with a link.

A best practices for keyword selection is to include your company name, brands, symbol, etc. This is also a great way to keep tabs on your competitors.

Hope that is helpful.