Microsoft and freebies? Sounds like an oxymoron statement, but the good news is that Microsoft is giving away free domain names to everybody (but specifically intended to SMB market i.e. Small and Medium Sized Business).
So what this means is that you can have www.whateveryouwant.com domain name and need not pay a single dime for that.
And the party doesn’t end here – You also get:
- Free domain name and hosting
- Free web site design
- 5 personalized e-mail accounts (i.e. Live Mail)
- 30 MB Storage and data transfer
- Web site traffic analysis and reporting tools
And now the bad news – This offer is only for US residents only; though I don’t think that’s a big deal (I can always sign up using a friend’s address?)
Why is Microsoft being so generous?
Threat from Google Apps (a domain+chat+email+ product targeted towards SMB market and educational institutions; reviewed here) is probably the trigger for M$ to strengthen it’s presence in the SMB market.
Moreover, Live mail hasn’t taken off in a big way and before Goog gets into the SMB market, M$ will definitely want to retain it’s dominance.
According to M$:
“Office Live Basics is offered at no charge through an advertising-supported model. Microsoft is allowing a select number of advertisers to place small, unobtrusive ads on a handful of member pages. Please know that our advertisers’ content will not appear on the Web site you create for your own company”
So they also want to increase adoption of their contextual ads program(adCenter Labs), which is really struggling to make a dent in the market.