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Lost in the ether: data dropped can hurt

data droppedWe’ve all experienced it: a movie or play is going along, we are firm in our understanding of the how and why of the characters’ actions, and then a bit of information is revealed that changes everything. We sit in stunned silence, frantically going back through the story, reframing everything in light of this new ‘reveal’. The Sixth Sense is a classic example, as is The Crying Game (and if you haven’t seen these films, do it today).

Data dropped or lost can alter a client’s perception of your service. For example, let’s say an employer uses an ATS to accept and process job applications. Let’s say that your site sends a candidate to this ATS to apply. And let’s say that – for whatever reason – the ATS fails to tag this candidate as yours. What might happen? Well, the client could think that your site is not a very good source of candidates, and decided to cancel their business with you.


Or let’s say that your site’s traffic is inflated by bot activity that you don’t know about and thus don’t report. The missing data could hurt you twice – once when you discover that your traffic is artificially inflated, and again when you downgrade your traffic numbers for your clients.

Ouch again.

Yet there’s nothing tougher that trying to find out what you don’t know – trying to discover that one bit of info that may change your entire perception of your business. Should you just shrug your shoulders and say, ‘what the heck’?

No. Instead, routinely cross check what you expect versus what really happens. In the ATS example above, you already know how many candidates you’re sending to the employer – make sure they know that from the beginning. Accurate and frequent reporting can be your friend. Have your sales team bring up the numbers in conversations with the client. In other words, provide plenty of chances to cross check your version of reality with the client’s.

Same holds for site traffic. Do you unquestioningly accept sudden influxes of new traffic without determining their source? Hopefully not. So knowing what you expect versus what really happens should help in revealing bots and other such traffic contributors. Maybe not right away – but eventually.

Data matters. And data dropped can sometimes matter even more.

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