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Avon, Twitter and Fraudulent Communications

In only a few months, two prominent brands – Avon and Twitter – had erroneous news reported that they were the targets of takeovers. In the case of Avon, this was the result of a fraudulent filing that took place in the Edgar database of the Securities and Exchange Commission. Yesterday, a phony “look-alike” site containing the Bloomberg name reported that Twitter was being sold.

Whether someone is looking to reap some sort of pecuniary gain or this is the beginning of a trend to manipulate the financial markets, there is a serious lesson to be learned.  The Internet is a great thing and a great resource.  At the same time, it is dangerous if we don’t keep its value in perspective.

With respect to public company information, there are only a few places where you can be certain that the information posted is authentic.  Since we launched theIRapp three years ago, we have stressed the importance of a company’s IR website and IR app as the way to ensure that the public has instantaneous access to authentic, company generated information and content.  If investors and the media rely on other Internet-based sources (and even the SEC’s database), then look what happens – Avon and Twitter.

Nearly every public company has an investor section on its corporate website. This is the by-product of the advancement of the Internet and the SEC’s Reg FD more than 15 years ago (believe it or not).  However, as computing moves to mobile, things are once again changing.  Many great companies have embraced the importance of having a mobile IR strategy (search the app stores for “theIRapp, llc” and you will see who).  However, to the extent investors and the media are reliant on their smart devices for immediate information, shouldn’t all companies now have a mobile IR strategy?

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