The PhoneBoy Blog


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Don’t Waste Your Time On Windows Live Custom Domains

A comment on my posting about GMail for your Domains (GFYD) suggested I give Windows Live Custom Domains a shot and review it. The verdict? Don’t bother, at least right now.

This service requires you have an MSN/Passport/whatever account. Fine, I can live with that. You tell it what domain you want to use, you change your MX records to point to their server–they only give you one MX, what’s up with that?–and once the MX has changed, you can start creating accounts. I used one of my disused domains for this experiment: phoneboy.info.

I created an account and it told me that I had to log into www.hotmail.com in order to activate the account. Been there, done that. Each account that you create is limited to 25mb in the first 30 days, after which they will bump you to 250 megabytes “at their discretion.” There does not appear to be a limit to the number of accounts you can create, though you get 40 “invites” that you can send to your accounts to try the Windows Live Mail beta, where you get 2 gigabytes of space.

Two nice features: Microsoft gives you instructions on setting up a SenderID record for your domain. They also provide the ability to allow random people to sign up for accounts on your domain. Kind of nice, I suppose. I guess a third feature is that these accounts become valid MSN/Passport/whatever accounts, so you can use them everywhere you normally use that kind of thing.

Meanwhile, the sign-up processes is totally broken on Firefox on the Mac. When you click on the link to read the license agreement, it doesn’t bring up the page at all! In fact, when you click on the “Accept” button, only then does it show the license agreement and then you have no way to “continue.” Bah. A similar thing happened when trying to validate my account on hotmail.

Also, there doesn’t appear to be a way to either promote an account to be domain administrator (GFYD does this), or create “aliases” for your domain (i.e. [email protected] can be directed to a particular person’s email account). And there’s the Hotmail interface itself. Bleck.

For the final touch, when I “invited my account” to the Microsoft Live Mail beta, the email I got that supposedly was to send instructions on how to sign up for it, it was blank. Completely and utterly blank. Bah.

This is kindergarten stuff, folks–stuff Microsoft needs to get right if people want to take them seriously. Lord knows they didn’t get their security model right. After reading that article, I am even more glad I have made the switch to Mac OS as my primary OS. And while Google hasn’t gotten it completely right with GFYD either, they’re a lot closer to having it right than Microsoft does.

Edit (25 Aug 2006): Wow, I can’t believe I forgot this, but Microsoft’s offering does not offer the ability to create email “aliases” nor does it offer any sort of forwarding for your domain.


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