Thursday, November 02, 2006

Free domain names- Courtesy Microsoft

Starting Nov 15, anyone can pick up unregistered domain names for free! This service is being offered by Microsoft as part of their service called Office Live . In addition to the free domain name, the service also includes a Professional, hosted Web site, Easy-to-use design tools,
5 business e-mail accounts and Web site traffic reports! How cool is that!
Although this service is aimed at small businesses, individuals can use it too. When I first learnt about it, it made me wonder how Microsoft would profit from it. But an article in New York Times explained Microsoft's profit model. According to the article

Microsoft makes no pretense: Office Live is intended to make money. But it will do so very cleverly, sometimes almost invisibly. For example, if you do sign up for a payroll service through Accounting Express, Microsoft gets a cut. When you place search-engine ads with MSN Search, Microsoft gets a few cents per customer response for that, too.

In the free Basics plan, big, blinky banner ads appear above the e-mail center and address book module. Finally, Microsoft hopes that if it helps your business along enough, you’ll eventually upgrade your free account to one of the more elaborate paid plans.
I think this is a great service. But I wonder what this will mean for companies that are currently in the business of registering domain names. Will this drive them out of business? Probably not..because not many companies can operate with just 5 business email ids. But I guess it could still cause a dent by taking away small businesses.


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