ASX Company Announcements Quirk

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I wrangled data feeds for many years at Yahoo! and it was always interesting how things could break, and the flow on effects. Y! didn't (and still doesn't) produce much original content; most of it is licensed from 3rd party providers.

One interesting scenario occurred after we had recently changed our provider of sports data. The old provider (let's call them ABC) accused the new provider (call them XYZ) of stealing their data. Note that this was back in the day when these providers were literally hiring folks to watch live sport on TV in order to type in the scores that they would then send to us in XML; so anything you could do to minimise that labour cost is a huge win.

ABC suspected XYZ of scraping the scores data off XYZ's website. In order to catch XYZ scraping ABC deliberately published incorrect data on their own website. In one instance they swapped the final scores of a particular NBL game, waited for XYZ (and Y! Sports) to update, and then flicked the scores back to see if the changes were reflected on both sites (they were).

I'm not sure how that eventually panned out from a legal POV but both ABC and XYZ continue to exist today.

Yesterday one of my monitoring scripts alerted me to a teeny tiny quirk on the ASX Company Announcements page:

Notice the "-" under pages. The announcement obviously doesn't have "-" pages, in fact it has exactly one page.

So it made me wonder how many downstream systems parroted that quirk.

Here's CommSec:

And ETrade:

And CMC Markets:

So the answer appears to be an exciting ... zero.

Oddly enough, ASX's own ERN specific announcements page also lists zero rather than "-".

Which suggests that the code on their generic announcements listing is not the same as the code used on the ticker specific pages.

Finally, it led to the pondering of how that pages number is generated. Clearly if it was derived from the PDF it would not be "-" or zero as the PDF has one page. So maybe someone, somewhere, is typing those numbers in?

That may make sense given that up until ~2003 many of the announcements were PDFs of what appeared to be faxed documents; the number of pages could have served as a simple check that all pages were successfully received.

I wish I could find out what happened behind the scenes to create this "-" or zero page datum. My monitoring script has been running on the ASX for 7 years and this is the first time something like this has appeared.

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This page contains a single entry by goosmurf published on July 10, 2012 4:03 PM.

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