About a year or two back when Microsoft was offering a free domain name with their Office Live product, I had signed up with some throw-away domain name to test it. The experience was less than impressive, far less, so I just forgot about the whole thing.
I was recently reminded of the domain name when I received an email from Microsoft, excerpted below:
As noted in the policy change e-mail we sent you in August of 2009, Microsoft Office Live Small Business no longer offers free domain name renewals ... Your custom domain
.com must renew by 02/14/2010. To keep this domain name, you will need to pay the annual renewal fee of $14.95 ... If you allow your domain name to expire, visitors will no longer be able to use your custom Web address to reach your Web site ... All e-mail accounts on the expired domain will be discontinued, and e-mail messages will not be saved.
To quote Mr. T, I pity the fool that fell for the Microsoft's gimmick back then and developed anything useful around the free domain name only to be forced to pony up the racket money now. I bet Microsoft won't let them transfer the domain to a cheaper registrar either.
As for me, no thanks Microsoft. Go ahead and expire the domain name, toss it, trash it, burn it, see if I care. I knew all along this was BS. You upped the ante against Google. It crashed and burned and now you want your users to pay for it.