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TWTR Sends TWTC on Roller Coaster Ride

When the stock price of Ethernet service provider tw telecom soared from about $30 to $300 on Thursday, Light Reading didn't jump on the news right away. We figured it was just more proof of how winning a Leading Lights award can really change things for you. (See Light Reading Announces 2013 Leading Lights Winners.)

However, it appears the Leading Light bump wasn't the only factor in the big day for tw telecom inc. (Nasdaq: TWTC). Word on "the Street," as first noted at Zero Hedge by one of the guys from Fight Club, is that automated algorithm-based trading mechanisms may have mistaken the carrier's TWTC stock symbol for that of Twitter -- TWTR.

Before you cash in the kids' college fund and go buy yourself some TWTR, though, please be advised that Twitter's IPO is not expected for at least another month. This is the second time in a week that trading robots have mistaken another stock for that of Twitter. Last week's mistake was even bigger, as the stupid machines went crazy buying up TWTRQ, the penny stock of currently bankrupt Tweeter Home Entertainment Group. In short order, Tweeter went back to being a loser, and even was forced to change its stock symbol to make way for mighty TWTR.

Anyway, TWTC is back down to earth today at just over $30 per share. Neither Nasdaq nor tw telecom acknowledged the apparent glitch, and the trades that drove the jump were quickly canceled.

Still, the mistaken identity incident also gives us reason to complain about one of our least-favorite corporate names - tw telecom. Not only do our copy editors hate the supposedly innocuous lower-case form, but even years after the company broke all ties to Time Warner Cable, we still run into many people who call the company Time Warner Telecom, or who wonder if the carrier is the telecom division of media conglomerate Time Warner.

No, we tell them, it's just "tw," with no further connection to the cable company or the media giant, which also, by the way, is not even affiliated with the cable company.

Well, what does the "tw" stand for? they ask, falling right into tw telecom's trap.

Here's the company's answer to that question, from its Web site:

    What does tw telecom stand for? A trusted communications service provider for enterprises and large organizations. Reliable, secure networks with scalable technology and solutions to move your business forward. Superior customer experience that's both responsive and collaborative.

Oh, c'mon!

By the way, we are not suggesting at all that tw telecom isn’t a fine company. We gave it an award, for crying out loud. At least we think we did. Hopefully, we didn't give it to the Royal Bank of Scotland Oil Trendpilot Index – TWTI -- by mistake.

—Dan O'Shea, Managing Editor, Light Reading

DOShea 10/14/2013 | 11:33:15 AM
Re: The name games So, let's help tw telecom come up with a list of possible new names:

Playing off the Colorado base: Mile High Telecom -there used to be a CLEC by this name, but I think it's long since gone the way of many CLECs...

Ethernet Almost Everywhere: U.K. company Virtual1 already has "Ethernet Everywhere" trademarked...

Ok, maybe we should leave it up to the branding agencies...
MarkC73 10/13/2013 | 4:42:45 PM
Re: The name games Though I would think anything offical would all have business reasons, I remember there was quite a bit of conflict between the tw's back in the day.  Sometimes, it is easier to forget than to forgive, but now the though the companies are separate, twtc probably found it too hard to give up the well fought recognition to their name.

When the local branch of tw telecom started insisting they be called tw and not Time Warner Telecom, I initially thought it was coporate blow up, but realized the stake in the company had been sold a while ago.
kaop 10/11/2013 | 9:49:21 PM
Re: The name games Company names in all CAPS are usually result of acronyms.  And forces you to prounced it by the letters.  I think it's fine as long as it's not more than 4 letters. :)
Carol Wilson 10/11/2013 | 3:57:01 PM
The name games It's always amazed me the way companies try to distinguish themselves using their names. The one that drove the copy editors the most nuts was the old U S West !nterprise -- no periods after the U or the S and a punctuation mark used to start a word. 

The other thing that makes me crazy is companies who insist their accurate name is spelled in ALL CAPS.

That craze at least seems to have faded since caps became synonymous with shouting. 
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