Here’s the scenario: It’s earnings day and the IRO is gearing up to publish the company’s release and start the conference call. The company’s tech team gets an early copy of the release and in preparation, sets it up with its own secret URL (to be revealed in the press release). It’s important to know that the tech team isn’t very creative. To keep things simple, they use the same “secret” URL from last quarter, but change the end of the address to read 3Q10 instead of 2Q10. Unfortunately for them, Bloomberg’s technology (and probably some others) is very smart and the morning of the expected announcement, the news outlet begins sweeping the internet for a press release at a URL similar to the one used last quarter. The technology even knows to check for an updated “3Q10” in the address. Aha! Two hours before the company is ready to announce their earnings, the news runs on Bloomberg.
Sound crazy? It’s not. It’s likely what happened to both Disney and NetApp last quarter and rumor has it, several others. Oh, and by the way, that fancy Bloomberg technology is sweeping every company website in every country in the world. What do the regulators think of all of this? They are inclined to say it was good reporting on the part of Bloomberg and shame on you, public company, for not protecting your information better.