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Microsoft Pulls the Plug on Free Office Live Domains

By Carol Tice Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Chat boards are rumbling and grumbling with the news that Microsoft is going to make customers who signed up for free custom domains with Office Live Small Business start paying $14.95 a year as of Oct. 1. This despite the fact that its site still encourages small business owners to "Get a free web site and more." But few have bothered to ask Microsoft what's up. Turns out it's not quite as sweeping of a change as you might think.

I put in a call to Microsoft PR firm Waggener Edstrom inPortland, Ore., and got some background. Turns out many custom sitesubscribers already pay the $14.95 fee. It's just customers who signedup before Feb. 12, 2008 who ever got the free custom deal.

Small business owners can still get a free fourth-level domain at OfficeLive, such as, which is theoffer the Office Live site is touting. But if you want Microsoft tohost your site, you pay the fee.

In all, under $15 a year for hosting a custom site is still dirt cheap. Many of Microsoft's hosting services are still free.But when you've been promised something free and there's no caveat thatit's a limited-time offer, I think the expectation is that it's going tostay free.

What do you think of Microsoft's move?

Carol Tice

Owner of Make a Living Writing

Longtime Seattle business writer Carol Tice has written for Entrepreneur, Forbes, Delta Sky and many more. She writes the award-winning Make a Living Writing blog. Her new ebook for Oberlo is Crowdfunding for Entrepreneurs.

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