Whose Investor Relations Sites Do Thomson Reuters Host? A Form of URL Hacking…

A quick little infoskills demo using Google search…

I very rarely do more then skim the headline of posts in my feed from Techcrunch, but today I actually opened up a post about Amazon buying another imprint (Amazon Expands To Mysteries And Thrillers With Fifth Publishing Imprint, Thomas & Mercer). As with a lot of TechCrunch posts, it’s pretty much just a rebranding of a Press Release, though to their credit Techcrunch linked to the “original” source: www.businesswire.com/news/home/20110518005494/en/Amazon-Launches-Publishing-Imprint-Thomas-Mercer

…insofar as a wire service copy of a press release is an original source… This got me wondering whether the press release had also appeared on a more direct Amazon press release page…?

Googling for press release amazon on google.co.uk turned up a way in to Amazon’s UK media relations site: www.amazon.co.uk/gp/press/pr/20080710 (try hacking around the URL to find an amazon.com equivalent…) as well a page on the central US site: phx.corporate-ir.net/phoenix.zhtml?ID=1565581&c=176060&p=irol-newsArticle, a third party (?) hosted site with Amazon branding: phx.corporate-ir.net/phoenix.zhtml?p=irol-mediaHome&c=176060. (One of the oft-taught infoskills tips is not to necessarily trust a site where the domain in the URL doesn’t appear to fit…) Note: I also got redirected to the main page of the Amazon-looking-but-not-on-an-Amazon URL page through trying amazon.com/pr.

Seeing who hosts this site – that is, just trying phx.corporate-ir.net – we get a redirect to www.ccbn.com which immediately then hops to thomsonreuters.com/products_services/financial/financial_products/corporate_services/investor_relations/

So Thomson Reuters, maybe… (If we were doing a proper job, we’d be looking up internet domain registrations, but I’m a trusting sort.. If you’re interested, the service you need to use is called whois and then look for the registrant. For example, www.networksolutions.com/whois-search/corporate-ir.net;-) But who else do they run this service for?

If you Google inurl:phx.corporate-ir.net/phoenix.zhtml you can spot results from various sources. Looking through the URLs, many of the pages are hosted on (hosted) investor relations sites. The p= argument specifies the page, the c= argument looks like it might identify a company.

We can try blindly hacking company numbers to see what companies turn up, or we can be a little more structured, for example by finding the investor relations homepage value (p=irol-irhome looks a good bet) and Googling on inurl:http://phx.corporate-ir.net/phoenix.zhtml? inurl:p=irol-irhome site:phx.corporate-ir.net.

The results pages are then full of sites of investor relations hosted by Thomson Reuters for third parties.

(You might think that the use of site: is redundant given the first inurl: limit. I hit upon using it like that as a result of clicking on the “More results form this site” option from one of my initial search attempts… It seems to override the collapsing of multiple results on a single domain…)

If you want to tunnel down to press release/media relations sites, there seem to be a variety of landing pages (p=irol-news, p=irol-press), so instead we can fudge a bit and search for “press” in the page title: inurl:http://phx.corporate-ir.net/phoenix.zhtml? intitle:press site:phx.corporate-ir.net

If you live and work the web, being able to read URL, and use that knowledge to help you search URL, is a handy skill to have…

PS for another take on “website analysis” journalism, see @pubbbox: UKTI’s TechCityUK site: 100 WordPress pages, £53k

Author: Tony Hirst

I'm a Senior Lecturer at The Open University, with an interest in #opendata policy and practice, as well as general web tinkering...

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