Feeds

back to article Blame game over United Airlines stock crash rumbles on

The spat over who is to blame over the United Airlines share price crash continues. It's common ground that a six-year-old United Airlines bankruptcy story became one of the most popular business stories on the Florida Sun Sentinel website early on Sunday morning, during a quiet news period, and was indexed by Google News. A …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.
Coat

I made a few quid on this

When the news was "released", I thought...Hmmm Sort of remember

reading this before.

Managed to buy a couple of hundred shares at £3.80

Sold them today for £9.57

Net Gain £2042.50

Nice little earner

Could someone in future email me direct please

I could have made over £3k

Coat please, the one with £2k in the pocket

0
0
Gates Halo

No matter who's to blame...

Some IT worker heads are going to roll. Sad really... sad I didn't buy up some UA stock when it was at $3.

0
0
Silver badge
Paris Hilton

More like managing partner at hurlstorm

-- "In the era of social media where 100,000 people can be directed to an article within hours publishing without a valid time and date at the top of the article is highly irresponsible," writes Patrick Altoft, managing partner at Blogstorm. --

What a crock. This must rank as the bestest "Blame the Messenger" ever. If the story had been about a dog biting a man, no-one would have cared. The fact that financial yoof^H^H^H^Hyuppies think they have to push "enter" before even having independently verified the story just proves that in this new "era of social media" people cannot even be arsed to google independently. Gas!!

But in the end, no harm done right? No-one cares what the actual share price of United is except the speculation echo-chamber. Or are the Saudis looking at a new hostile bid?

Paris, evidently. Dating and all that.

0
0
Silver badge

WTF?

What the fecking fick? The Tribune is responsible now? So digging for old news (which is basically stealing other people's work, btw), not checking them... right, obviously Google news and Bloomberg did the right thing, the Tribune is at fault. If you can't rely on blindly stolen work anymore... if I was writing for a newspaper, I'd bloody well expect to be able to put whatever I want in the paper without having to wonder how Mighty Google and Golden Bloomberg might misinterprete it after not reading it properly. 6 years later. Investors also could have checked, before chickenning.

That said, serves them UAL right. They are hopelessly incompetent anyway.

0
0
Silver badge
Jobs Horns

Opportunity Knocks

Man, there's a golden opportunity here for someone to make a lot of money - legally. Plugins for CMS and lots of stuff, specifically to deal with shoddily dated mass media products.

0
0

Why's it the papers fault?

hey, they had an article on their web site. that is 100% within their rights. Just because Google comes along and steals it without bothering to read it is not their problem.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Copyright date

What Copyright Date was shown on the bottom of the News Item? If it had been simply moved to a different URL it should surely still have had the original Copyright date on it.

0
0
Silver badge

Every journalist knows...

... check your sources. Nice to see further proof of the absence of journalism in the "blogosphere".

0
0

well known?

There is a well-known way to stop Google from indexing a site, called "robots.txt", an opt-out mechanism. Since newspapers are basically advertisers these days (whose lunch is being eaten by those with better business models), and advertisers are all about "opt out" rather than "opt in", I'd say this is a case of live by the sword, get cut by the sword.

The paper is at fault for not opting out in the first place. As for the deep-link argument, it's technically trivial to stop deep linking. So again, the paper's fault.

I say let them bear the brunt of the vitriol, just for being incompetent idiots.

0
0
Silver badge

If somebody is at fault

It's clearly the guy who decided this was newsworthy for the Bloomberg information system.

I do hope these guys will try to find more solid information than "some newspaper article on Google news". The people who are paying through the nose for Bloomberg information certainly expect more, at least.

0
0
Silver badge

Storm in a teacup

If the Tribunal is certainly in a bad position, given that they complain about spidering but do not take the measures to stop it, I think that the only people to blame are the speculators.

Personally I am convinced that the good one will have realized that UA was not in a position to go bankrupt. They will have followed the downward spiral, and started to buy shares when the price fell low enough.

Now that the overblown mistake is on its was to be corrected, these astute speculators will have sold for a profit (like the first commenter apparently did).

This simply validates the fact that Wall Street is not for the simple-minded idiots. It takes a steel nerve and a steady head to not flounder, and that is certainly for the best.

So I don't really care who the masses want to pin the blame on. The speculators that sold in a panic are the only ones to blame - and they have already paid the price.

That is the one good thing about speculating : the idiots always lose.

I fail to see why that should change.

Disclaimer : I have no stock of any kind.

0
0
Unhappy

Ancient stories should not show up on "most read"

Except perhaps if it was an archeology related site. But I believe the Sun Sentinel is in the business of disseminating NEWs...

0
0
Flame

The person who is to blame is...

...the dumb-ass 'analyst' who saw this and punted it onto the wire without so much as a by-your-leave. If he'd called somebody at UAL or Tribune to confirm the story, it would never have happend. The newspaper and google cannot take any blame for this, as it's just sloppy analysis.

0
0

Re: well known?

So basically you're saying that if you leave your front door unlocked and someone steals your stuff, they're not to blame, you are... nice 2.0 logic...

0
0
Paris Hilton

We're totally automatic / and we are dancing mechanik

I'm reminded of the way that the BBC's "most emailed" news stories are often very old - even though they are clearly dated at the top, they can still send a panic through the internet. I believe there is a story about a possible "email tax" dated 1995 or so that is sometimes regurgitated and sent in chain emails. Snopes has a few mentions of e.g. Yahoo ditching Geocities

In fact, as I write these words the most emailed story is something about how bed sharing drains men's brains, dated 2006.

0
0
Flame

@yeah, right

You DO realise the logic of the argument you have just made don't you?

You have just placed blaim for theft on the victim of the theft, for not taking specific steps to prevent it.

If I come around you place, break in and steal all your stuff you realise it's going to be your fault for not having armed guards in your house 24/7?

The Sentinal web site is the property of the Sentinal newspaper and they can do whatever the feck they like on it (within the law), in exactly the same way the Register can do what they like on theirs.

If the Sentinal choose to publish everything in Greek, use blue text, or only use pictures of peoples feet that is their parogitive.

If the Sentinal choose not to put publication dates on stories that is their parogitive and not their error/fault.

And of couse, if the Sentinal choose to embed the publication date in the URL that too is their choice - from the bogstorm article you can see every single URL contains "...021210...dec10..." and in yy-mm-dd format that gives us 2002 December 10th...the date the story was published.

I'm sure anyone that struck a syndication deal with the Sentinal would be told about this so would be able to correctly categorise the stories...

0
0
Paris Hilton

Surely Bloomberg have the liability here?

They publish a wire service for which they no doubt charge a *fortune*, and put a story on there without even basic checks. People using the wire service got burnt. I don't think there are going to be any lawsuits involving the Tribune or Google, except insofar as Bloomberg will no doubt call both companies to the stand in an attempt to excuse their own incompetence.

Paris, because she doesn't like to drop 75% either.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Greed is good, isn't it?

Since greed is the driver here: the greed of stockbrokers and other speculators. "First Mover advantage" means so much to them that they can't be bothered to check for artefacts of modern news channels like this. Well-known artefacts, since one of them is the perennial goat-marriage article on the beeb.

So, they're supposed to be experts on analysis and research, yet they forgot that UAL had filed for bamruptcy a little while back and even though there had been no rumblings about dire troubles in recent days, they went ahead and panic-sold.

I hope they weren't using automated processes; I'm sure there are rules about that these days...

0
0
Thumb Down

United deserves it

Too bad the bankruptcy story isn't true. United is a cheater and deserves to go out of business. On a recent flight out of O'Hare, a broken kiosk mistakenly charged me a $25 excess baggage fee, though I was only checking one bag, which is supposed to be free. My complaints got nowhere. At the ticket counter, I was told to call United customer service (as if there is such a thing) four days later when it was in the system. When I called four days later, I was told I was supposed to have complained at the ticket counter! I provided all sorts of evidence that the fee was wrong but the airlines refuses to refund my money.

I understand the airline business is having hard times. But are they so hard up that they have to cheat people out of $25? Shame on United and may it go the same way as Midway, Braniff, Pan Am, etc.

0
0

Does anyone else find this hilarious?

Share prices and economics are completely arbitary constructs based on the whims and fears of a few shouty men in bad pinstripe suits.

They didn't check the facts, they got scared, they got stung.

Perhaps they're remember this next time they "lose confidence" in something for no good reason and plunge a country or two into recession. Like, ummmm, they just did.

0
0
Flame

Opinion piece required...

...from that bloke who keeps writing articles for the The Register about how the markets and trading are great and how they lubricate the wheels of business, fight climate change, and so on. This might even be true if the trading floor wasn't continuously emulating the dining room at Hogwarts on the occasion of someone letting a dragon out at lunchtime...

The dragon's lunchtime, that is.

0
0
Coat

Not Google's fault

This is clearly the fault of the Florida Sun-Sentinel not dating their articles correctly (bad website design), the news agency who picked up on it and didn't check before writing their tag line and posting it and the traders who accepted it all on blind faith and it didn't ring bells as being somewhat familiar.

I used to run a blog where I trawled news using custom RSS feeds from Google News. I used to see this sort of thing all of the time and it was always the same websites not dating their articles correctly, if at all. The key thing for me was I applied some common sense and could spot the rouge stories and didn't post them to my blog.

0
0
Flame

Check the source, Luke

WTF? Doesn't anybody check upstream on stories any more? I mean, none of us expect Slashdotters to RTFA, but surely if you're going to (a) punt a story about a bankruptcy out onto the Internets or (b) sell your investments, it might just be a good idea to see if you can verify? The bankruptcy court dockets would be a good place to start.

Maybe markets work *too* quickly, and this degree of responsiveness is a Bad Thing. Ergo, we should take away their computers, and send them back to trading with paper. Who would suffer?

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Nobody should publish anything online! Ban websites!

How is it the Sun-Sentinel's fault? If I put an old newspaper clipping online about the Titanic saying "ship sunk - hundreds dead" and Google indexes that and there's a fall in share prices in shipping companies, who exactly is to blame?

Unless the newspaper had a contract with Google to provide content in a specific format and violated the terms of that contract, they did nothing wrong. Google News is a law to itself what stories it picks up and what it doesn't. Are people suggesting that the Sun-Sentinel shouldn't allow search engines to index their pages just in case the search engine puts the wrong date on them?

Google are at fault for misdating the story (if it has no date they shouldn't make one up). But mainly, dealers who sold shares based on a story they didn't properly read are at fault.

0
0
Tom
Silver badge

An American's read on the situation

Everyone claiming the Article was stolen from The Sentinel is bonkers. This isn't breaking into a locked house or even opening the unlocked but closed door on a house. Google followed the bright neon signs saying "Welcome Everybody in the World" onto the The Sentinel's pages. Disclaimers elsewhere don't invalidate the signs. The Sentinel can't not be using Google to try to drive internet users to it's website, so it can't be unaware of how Google works. If you are using Google, you agree to their rules.

Google: Probably ought to revisit its algorithms to see if they can prevent this sort of thing. Their publicly proclaimed motto is 'Do No Evil' and clearly sucker punching the price of an innocent airline (at least with respect to its current financial status) is evil. Still, their system is entirely automated based on what the pages their crawlers crawl. Therefore 10% responsibility.

The Sentinel: A new link on Most Popular to a hideously old news article smells too much of chumming the waters. You blew it and you were trying a slimy move when you blew it. Responsibility: 45%, but only because of the rest of my analysis and the fact that I can do my maths; by fairness you deserve 100% liability.

The Bloomberg: You are totally incompetent. You fed an unchecked internet article into the maw of stock broker reflex-sell/buy action. You even more than The Sentinel should be aware of the deletrious effects this would have on the market. Responsibility: Again 45% because I can do my maths; by fairness you deserve 150% liability because your behavior borders on the criminal.

Now, apply the principals of US civil liabilities provisions, by which each of you is assessed according to the matrix of you assigned liability, the damages inflicted on the plaintiff, and your ability to pay, you are each assessed $1 Billion in damages payable to United. Now all of you be off and never make that kind of mistake again.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Broken markets

"Maybe markets work *too* quickly, and this degree of responsiveness is a Bad Thing. Ergo, we should take away their computers, and send them back to trading with paper. Who would suffer?"

Damn straight they do. Wasn't it automatic trading that led to vivid amplification of the Black Monday collywobbles? Or was that a different Black Day? They put some timeouts on trades after one of those "crash"es, I recall.

For my money, any given share should be unsellable for a year. Then people would buy for investment in concerns that are actually going to work, rather than investing in bits of paper in the hope that other people will think that those bits of paper will sell for more money at some point (pretty soon). Heck, even making shares sit still for a month between sales would help start to curb some of the rampant excesses of the stockmarket.

But it won't happen because any stockmarket that slowed things down that far would stop having any stock to sell, because the traders would move to other bourses. And then the stockmarket owners would be out of pocket. And we can't have that, can we?

Any such move would have to be a worldwide one, and it's simply not going to happen, and we will remain at the mercy of the braying pigopolists in the red braces.

0
0

The news industry eats its own tail

The problem is that even a "conscientious" broker who checked the story would have seen it repeated in a number of places. The reporter's sources these days are, for the most part, other newspapers; give it a quick re-write to stave off plagarism claims, send it to copyediting, and hit the bar for an early lunch.

0
0

@Tom

"clearly sucker punching the price of an innocent airline (at least with respect to its current financial status) is evil"

This is not at all clear to me my friend.

Limited liability companies exist to do capital's dirty work. If you want me to feel sorry for your capital, take moral and legal responsibility for what it does.

0
0
IT Angle

Opportunity Knocks, part 2...

It sounds like someone has just found a way to damage and/or kill corporations using news services to hack into the stock market. It looks as if we've just confirmed the first case of a news-based attack on a corporation.

[Cue "The Godfather" theme.]

It looks like blackmail and protection rackets are just around the corner...give the news corporations a taste, or they'll plant an old story and kill your stock. Tick off the news corporations, and they'll fire off the equivalent of a DDoS attack on your stock (an old story widespread over *all* internet sites by all the major news corporations, leading to a catastrophic price drop).

Damn, I'm getting cynical. I just figure that there's going to be someone who will abuse this ability to an outrageous level (beyond what has already happened).

IT, because apparently Y2K data wasn't the only dangerous legacy data lurking about.

0
0

Wrong analogy

Amazing the number of people who think a website is a private home. You're using the wrong analogy. Here is a more accurate one.

A website is a public space (like a store) into which anyone is invited. Not having a robots.txt is like not having a sign or enforcing a policy that says you can refuse service to anyone you want to. Not preventing deep links is like having one of several doors at the back of the store that the clients are welcome to go through, but one door they're not, then no putting a lock or a sign on the "employees only" door.

Getting angry when Google comes to visit is therefore the fault of the shop owner for not publishing or enforcing their policy of refusing service. You've invited the world, so it's up to the shop owner to make the exceptions, not for the world to try to read their fucking mind. Getting angry about deep links when you've done nothing to prevent them is just stupid when you've already invited people into your place of business and you WANT them there.

Comparing a public website to a private home makes no sense, given that you want people to visit the website. If not, why bother having the damn thing in the first place? A website is a place of business, like it or not, with everyone already invited. If you aren't going to make or enforce access policies, the owner of said website can certainly be blamed for people treating their public website as just that - a public website. If they don't want it public, put up a closed sign and lock the door.

0
0
Flame

I don't understand the problem

Isn't this how the stock market works?

Everyone tries to get an edge on everyone else and who moves first wins. It's all bollocks. What do the stock market produce? The money business makes imaginary money by getting in between everyone else's deals and charging them for the privilege.

Let 'em burn.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Key point not analysed

I would've thought the key element is "A Florida investment firm (who obviously hadn't looked at the content of the story) wrote a one line summary that made its way onto Bloomberg business wire on Monday"

Investment firms need to take responsibility and ownership for the content they are publishing as investors will rely on it. This investment house clearly didn't do so, and hence were negligent.

0
0
This topic is closed for new posts.