Based on our examination of the data up to this point, we have learned the following:
The December 10, 2002, Chicago Tribune article on United Airlines’ bankruptcy filing, along with thousands of others stories in the searchable database of the Sun Sentinel website, was accessible for years.
Our records show that due to traffic volume, sometime between 1:00:34 a.m. EDT, Sunday, September 7 (10:00:34 p.m. PDT, Saturday, September 6) and 1:36:03 a.m. EDT, Sunday, September 7 (10:36:03 p.m. PDT, Saturday, September 6), a link to the old article appeared in a dynamic portion of the Sun Sentinel’s business section, grouped with other stories under a tab entitled “Popular Stories Business:Most Viewed.” No new story was published and the old story was not re-published — a link to the old story was merely provided.
Importantly, the URL for the old story did not change when the link appeared on the website’s business section.
At 1:36:57 a.m. EDT, September 7, (10:36:57 p.m. PDT, September 6), our records show that the Google search agent — known as “Googlebot” — crawled the story on Sun Sentinel’s website. Our records also show that the Google search agent had previously crawled this same story numerous times, including as recently as last week. Shortly after Googlebot crawled the Sun Sentinel site this time, however, a link to the story appeared on Google News, with a date of Sept. 6, 2008, provided by Google. At 1:39:59 a.m. EDT, September 7 (10:39:59 p.m. PDT, September 6), our records show the story on the Sun Sentinel website received its first referral from Google News.
Apparently, sometime Monday morning, the story was made available to subscribers of Bloomberg News.
As we said yesterday, the December 10, 2002, story contains information that would clearly lead a reader to the conclusion that it was related to events in 2002. In addition, the comments posted along with the story are dated 2002. It appears that no one who passed this story along actually bothered to read the story itself.