Friday, August 31, 2007

Is someone trying to register "your" domain?

This phenomenon keeps recurring from time to time: You receive an e-mail or a fax from a company warning that some domain names you may be interested in - like www."abbproduct".com - have been submitted for registration by some unidentified third party. The solicitation offers to block the application by obtaining the domain name on ABB's behalf - for a fee.

This a well-known web scam. Anyone familiar with the registration process of new domain names know the process is almost instantaneous, and leaves no room for this kind of procedure. So you can safely let the request go in the circular file - or inform the police.

No cyber-squatting please!

I recently received a polite e-mail from a Swiss competitor's legal council: they had discovered that someone had registered "their" Chinese web domain "" and had it redirected to ABB China's homepage at Our competitor is also active in the Chinese market and have their own Chinese homepage at "".

Despite all the Swiss politeness it was not difficult to read between the lines how upset they were. And so was I.

Needless to say, this kind of behaviour is unacceptable. Not only is it unethical and in breach of ABB's code of conduct, in some jurisdictions ABB may even be held financially responsible for any loss of business for the competitor.

We have our self been a victim of this technique some years ago. Someone had registered one of ABB's trade marks as domain name and had it redirected to the Siemens site. In that case we received all possible help from Siemens when we contacted them and the issue was quickly resolved.

Also the Chinese domain issue was quickly resolved in cooperation with our competitor and the local ABB organization. The culprit was not identified, but the address no longer redirects to our site.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Webatabb blocked by China's "great firewall"

We have received reports that this blog is now unavailable in China, due to the "great firewall", aimed at protecting Chinese users against the evils of the Internet. We find the reports credible.

Financial Times' Tech blog reported the same some time ago, and asked if it was possibly something they had said. It turned out the answer was no; All blogs on the major blog hosting domains are routinely and indiscriminately blocked, which is probably the reason why this blog is blocked as well.

So it's nothing personal, and we do not expect visits anytime soon from the "Beijing Internet police" who, according to Yahoo Tech news, will start appearing every 30 minutes on some major Chinese web sites as of this Saturday.

"It is our duty to wipe out information that does public harm and disrupts social order," the Beijing's public security bureau's deputy chief of Internet surveillance, Zhao Hongzhi, is quoted as saying to China daily.

Not mail, not spam? That's bacn!

Some group on the web has come up with a new buzzword to describe mail that is not spam, but not personal mail either - bacn; It's all those messages in your inbox that are somewhere in-between; News alerts, return receipts, news subscriptions etc. You want them, but not right now, and you don't want them to clutter up your inbox. They've decided to call the phenomenon for bacn - pronounced as in bacon (and eggs) - but without giving any explanation as to what the acronym stands for. They even have their own "official" web site at
I tried out the mail features in Lotus Notes 7, and found they provide an excellent solution to the problem. I'd recommend you try it out yourself;
In your mailbox you find an entry in the left column called "Tools". Click on that, then on "Rules". Here you can set rules on how to treat mails that meet certain criteria. Notes searches for the character string you define, then performs the requested action. I move all my "bacn" mails into the predefined Junk mail folder, and look at them when I get the time. This has been a great help in cleaning up my mail box.
But Notes 7 has more to offer. In your mailbox, click on the "Tools" button at the top of the view, then select preferences. Here you can turn on a feature where all mails that are addressed to you and you alone get a blue dot, all mails where you are among a few addresses get a blue half moon, and the others get a white dot. It is also possible to color-code incoming mails, so that mails from certain senders are colored red, blue or green in your mail box.
Also, I recommend using the "follow-up" function, to set a flag on incoming mails you need to follow up later. Just click the Follow-up button at the top of the view, and you will find all these mails later in the Follow-up folder on the left. Great stuff!

Intranet 2.0 conference moved to October 16

The conference on the future of ABB's intranet - previously announced for mid september - has now been moved to October 16. You can find further information bu following this link to the relevant page. (Opening the link requires access to ABB's corporate network.)

A draft blogging policy for ABB

One thing that has become obvious over the last couple of months is that we need a blogging policy in ABB. Some may be testing the limits, or just wonder where they are, while others seem to think no-one should blog about anything related to the company, and certainly not on company time or in the public space. The discussions we have had so far have resulted in the draft below. We expect the policy to be finalized later this fall.

"In general, the company views personal websites and weblogs positively, and it respects the right of employees to use them as a medium of self-expression. If you choose to identify yourself as an ABB employee or to discuss matters related to our technology, business or activities on your website or weblog, please bear in mind that, although you and we view your website or weblog as a personal project and a medium of personal expression, some readers may nonetheless view you as a de facto spokesperson for the company. In light of this possibility, we ask that you observe the following guidelines:

  1. Make it clear to your readers that the views you express are yours alone and that they do not necessarily reflect the views of ABB. To help reduce the potential for confusion, please put the following notice – or something similar – in a reasonably prominent place on your blog or website. "The views expressed on this website/weblog are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of my employer."
  2. The principles and guidelines that apply to ABB employees at work also apply to their online activities. Know and understand ABB's Code of Conduct and relevant Group directives and instructions.
  3. The best way to be interesting is to write about what you know. Try to add value by providing worthwhile information and perspective. If you have a deep understanding of something, talk about the challenges and issues around it. Respect your audience. ABB strives to compete fairly and thus the web should not be used for covert marketing or public relations.
  4. Be careful to avoid disclosing any information that is confidential or proprietary to the company or to any third party that has disclosed information to us. Respect the copyright of others. Be extra careful with information related to financial performance to make sure you are in compliance with financial disclosure regulations.
  5. Since your site or blog is a public space, we hope you will be as respectful to the company, our employees, our customers, our partners and affiliates, and others (including our competitors) as the company itself endeavors to be. Show proper consideration for others' privacy and avoid comments which may be derogatory in nature. This includes material that relates to aspects of gender, race, age, nationality, sexual orientation, politics, religion or physical ability.
  6. You may not attack personally fellow employees, customers, competitors, vendors, or shareholders. You may respectfully disagree with company actions, policies, or management.
  7. Remember that what you publish will remain public for a long time.
  8. Be the first to correct your own mistakes, and don't alter previous posts without indicating that you have done so.
  9. You may provide a link from your site to the corporate website. However you will require permission to use company trademarks or reproduce company material on your site.
  10. If a member of the media contacts you about an ABB-related blog posting or requests ABB information of any kind, contact Corporate Communications. Do not convey information to any outsiders that should not be made public.
  11. Ensure that your blogging activity does not interfere with your work commitments.
  12. Finally, please be aware that the company may request that you temporarily confine your website or weblog commentary to topics unrelated to the company if it believes this is necessary or advisable to ensure compliance with securities regulations or other laws. "

Feel free to comment on this draft, preferably by using the comment function on this blog, or by sending me an e-mail using my Notes address (found below my picture in the left hand column).

A blogger's code of conduct

One of the issues that have kept me busy is investigating best practises related to different web 2.0 activities, including blogging. During my studies I came across this excellent blogger's code of conduct:

  1. I will tell the truth.
  2. I will write deliberately and with accuracy.
  3. I will acknowledge and correct mistakes promptly.
  4. I will preserve the original post, using notations to show where I have made changes so as to maintain the integrity of my publishing.
  5. I will never delete a post.
  6. I will not delete comments unless they are spam or off-topic.
  7. I will reply to emails and comments when appropriate, and do so promptly.
  8. I will strive for high quality with every post – including basic spellchecking.
  9. I will stay on topic.
  10. I will disagree with other opinions respectfully.
  11. I will link to online references and original source materials directly.
  12. I will disclose conflicts of interest.
  13. I will keep private issues and topics private, since discussing private issues would jeopardize my personal and work relationships.

This is in fact taken from a Forrester Best Practices Report: Blogging: Bubble Or Big Deal: When And How Businesses Should Use Blogs. But I am more than happy to adopt it as my own from now on (with the minor reservation that I tend sometimes to overlook typos in my original postings so I need to go back and correct them later).

Back in business!

I've had a long break from my blogging activity, it's high time to get back online. Don't think I've been lying in the sun and chewing on a straw all this time, I've simply been very busy. And obviously I haven't got my priorities right; Every day I've been putting off my blogging till "tomorrow, when I have more time" - but that tomorrow just never arrived. I promise to do better in the future...