Microsoft gets into domain name registration game

Microsoft has become a top-level domain name registrar

Microsoft can now register top-level Internet domains. Last week, the company was added to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) list of accredited domain name registrars, according to domain name service provider Dot and Co. This means that Microsoft can now add new top-level domains to the databases used by computers on the Internet.

Microsoft was not immediately able to comment for this story, but the move is probably related to its Office Live product, which is expected to emerge from its beta testing period on Nov. 15, according to Rich Miller, an analyst with Internet research firm Netcraft.

Microsoft offers free domain name registration to Office Live users and to date the company has been using Melbourne IT for this service. By becoming a registrar in its own right, Microsoft could cut costs, Miller said.

Though its status as a registrar makes it possible, Miller does not expect Microsoft to get into a new business selling US$7 per year domain name registrations. "The most sensible approach for them is do what they're doing with Office Live," he said. "Use the domain name to establish the relationship and then offer additional services."

Being a registrar also gives Microsoft better access to the top-level domain databases and could help the company improve its Live Search product, Miller said.

Google has also become a domain name registrar so that it can quickly determine when domains have changed hands and then adjust their search ranking accordingly, he said.

Microsoft became a registrar on Oct. 31, according to Dot and Co., and is now accredited to register .com, .net, .org, .biz, .info, .name and .pro top-level domains.

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