What should be your corporate blog’s URL?

I was asked via email by a reader whether a company’s blog should live at blog.mycompany.com or mycompanyblog.com.

If the blog will get more links by being at an arm’s length from the corporate site, then I’d have it on a totally separate domain.

For example, if a life insurance company had a blog about health and wellness at www.stayinghealthy.com, I would expect that to garner many more links from the blogosphere than one at blog.lifeinsuranceco.com.

This may seem like an oversimplification, since I haven’t discussed the branding implications, but I believe the “link-ability” of the blog is the key ingredient for long-term success with a corporate blog. Everything else to me is peripheral.

Security vendor patches dangerous IE bug

 With Microsoft Corp. saying that it may wait until April 11 to patch a critical vulnerability in its Internet Explorer browser, security vendor eEye Digital Security has released what it calls a “temporary” patch to address the problem. The bug, which concerns the way IE processes Web pages using the createTextRange() method, is now being exploited by attackers on hundreds of malicious Web sites (see “Update: Microsoft tests fix for IE bug as exploits appear”). Users who might be tricked into visiting these Web sites could have unauthorized software installed on their computers, security experts warn.Though Microsoft has described these attacks as “limited” in scope, the problem is being taken seriously by the software maker because the exploits can be used to seize control of a user’s machine.

“We’re working day and night on development of a cumulative security update for Internet Explorer that addresses the vulnerability,” wrote Stephen Toulouse, head of Microsoft’s Security Response Center, in a Saturday blog posting.

That patch is expected to be released as part of an April 11 security update, although the software could come earlier if the threat grows, Toulouse said.

The possibility that it could be more than two weeks before this bug is fixed prompted eEye to release the patch, said Marc Maiffret, the security company’s chief hacking officer. “That’s a long time to leave several million Windows users without any sort of protection.”

Microsoft says that users can avoid the attack by disabling Active Scripting in their browsers, but this is not a viable option for the many users who use sites that employ scripting, Maiffret said.

EEye’s patch, which is available free of charge, will automatically remove itself when Microsoft’s official patch is delivered.

Determina Inc. released a second IE patch addressing the same problem. That patch is also available free.

This not the first time security researchers have rushed to patch IE ahead of Microsoft. In late December, Ilfak Guilfanov, a developer at Liege, Belgium-based DataRescue SA, wrote a widely distributed patch that fixed a similarly critical bug in Internet Explorer.

It’s Apple vs. Apple in British Court

Two legendary companies in the music industry are to meet Wednesday in a London courtroom to fight it out over what might be the world’s most recognizable logo: A simple piece of fruit.

Apple Corps Ltd., the Beatles’ record company and guardian of the band’s musical heritage and business interests, is suing Apple Computer Inc., claiming the company violated a 1991 agreement by entering the music business with its iTunes online music store.

The case will be heard by Judge Martin Mann, who said during pretrial hearings that he was the owner of an iPod digital music player, which is used with the iTunes music store.

At issue is a 1991 pact that ended a long-running trademark fight between the two Apples in which each agreed not to tread on the other’s toes by entering into a “field of use” agreement over the trademark.

London-based Apple Corps said in a statement that “unfortunately, Apple and Apple Corps now have differing interpretations of this agreement and will need to ask a court to resolve this dispute.”

Apple Corps founded in 1968 and owned by surviving Beatles Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, the widow of John Lennon and the estate of George Harrison is seeking both an injunction to enforce the 1991 agreement and monetary damages for the alleged contract breach.

The computer company’s logo is a cartoonish apple with a neat bite out of the side; the record company is represented by a perfect, shiny green Granny Smith apple.

Apple Computer had asked to have the case heard in California, where it is based, but Mann rejected that application in 2004 and ordered the case be heard at the stately Royal Courts of Justice in central London.

Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple Computer was formed in 1976, when two college dropouts Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak filed partnership papers on April Fools’ Day. Their goal was to build and sell personal computers, and their first product was a build-it-yourself computer kit. In 1984, the Apple Macintosh was introduced. Their ubiquitous iPods first came out in October 2001.

The iTunes music store first opened for business in the United States in April 2003; it is now available across Europe, in Australia, Japan, and Canada. About 3 million songs are downloaded every day from the service. In the United States, a song costs 99 cents; in the U.K, they fetch 79 pence ($1.38). Not available on the service are Beatles’ songs, which haven’t been licensed for downloading.


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