Why Registering a Domain Through Microsoft Office Live is a Terrible Idea

tl;dr If you ever transfer a domain registered through Office Live to another registrar, you will experience 5 days of complete downtime on your website and email.

Here’s the scenario, you see that Microsoft will offer to host a small business web site and email for for free. When signing up you don’t already own a domain, so you register one through Microsoft. Microsoft will register the domain on behalf of you through Melbourne IT. You now own the domain in question.

Fast forward some time into the future. You’ve decided that Microsoft’s Office Live service isn’t adequate any longer for your needs and you want to move on to real web hosting. This is not unusual in the least, however, remember back when you registered your domain through Microsoft, which registered the domain for you via Melbourne IT?

In order to gain complete control of your domain, you have to cancel your Office Live account, rendering your website and email useless, upon which Microsoft will provide you the domain registry key which you can use to create an account at Melbourne IT. From there, you can initiate a transfer of the domain to another registrar, but, and it’s a biggie, Melbourne IT will not do a transfer on demand.  If you start a transfer request, Melbourne IT will do absolutely nothing for 5 days until the chance to abort the transfer expires before transferring the domain.

Now, what does all this mean?

A minimum of 5 days of downtime for your website and email.

As far as I can see, this scenario is unavoidable.