Microsoft Office Live: A FREE small business web site solution for people looking to get online
I just read an interesting New York Times article about Microsoft’s new and improved Office Live Basics service, which is launching on Nov 15.
Looks like Microsoft is trying to persuade people to become part of the “Microsoft family” by offering free a small business web site solution to people who want to start an online business but don’t have their own web site yet.
On the surface, it seems like a pretty sweet deal… You get your own unique domain name, a hosted web site, five personalized email accounts, site tracking and analysis tools– and, of course, seamless integration of all of Microsoft’s paid advertising offerings, such as AdCenter.
And if you like what you get in the Live Basic small business web site solution, you can always upgrade to Live Essential, which offers advanced features such as increased bandwidth, advanced traffic reporting, and more than 20 applications for managing all aspects of your business.
Of course, that’s what Microsoft wants you to do–to become so reliant on their free small business web site solution that in order to grow, you need to start using their paid services, too. Not a bad business model on their part!
If you don’t have a web site yet and are thinking about taking Microsoft up on their offer, I’d advise you to proceed with caution.
First of all, the Basic version only provides you with a prefab template design for your site. It allows for some flexibility, but certainly isn’t something you can totally customize from the ground up. And once you get hooked in by Microsoft, who knows how easy it will be to switch your site to another host, if you choose to do so?
Still, it should be interesting to see how well Office Live is received. I look forward to hearing from people who actually use this small business web site solution — I’m eager to find out how it works for them!
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Business Development Consultant