Earlier today reports began to surface that an old article that originally appeared in the South Florida Sun Sentinel in 2003 concerning United Airlines was causing a stir. The article was following United’s move towards bankruptcy and was mistaken for “new” news over at Bloomberg.com. According to the BBC this caused a sudden decrease in stock value of the air carrier to the tune of a billion dollars. Yes, one billion dollars. Although the oversite should have been picked up by an editor, the scuddlebut I am hearing is that it was an inaccurate timestamp on a Google return that prompted this tremendous collapse of value.
Although I would love to see SEO on the frontpage of everypaper everyday, I am not sure this is what I had in mind. So a potentially bad or missing meta description (or number of other minor elements) may have inadvertently cost a major American corporation a billion dollars.
As more details on this failure become available I will follow up with greater analysis here as to what companies must do to ensure that there content is correctly labelled as “past due”. In the meantime I will leave you with the thought that a minor piece of code almost single handedly cost thousands of individuals thier jobs and a company its very exsistance. I guess I picked the wrong day to quit sniffing glue.