FreeYourID Gives Up On Trying To Monetize OpenID

In an e-mail to its user base and with a short notice on its main website, FreeYourID has announced that it will be shutting down its service after nearly two years and a half in business. After August 15, the web service will be discontinued without a hint of explanation about the reason for the folding, although we suspect it may have something to do with VeriSign taking over the service’s main backer late last year.

When FreeYourID launched in February 2007, we dubbed it a personalized OpenID, because it allowed users to register a unique .name domain name (e.g. which in turn could be used as a custom, personal OpenID identifier, website URL and e-mail host. The service was the result of a partnership between OpenID company JanRain and Global Name Registry, the domain name registry for the .name extension. Alas for them, it never got any significant traction.

Until August 15, 2009, users will be able to access and use their FreeYourID accounts to make changes to their .name domain names, extend the registration period with a payment or retrieve the authorization code needed to be able to transfer the domain name to another provider. If the domain name isn’t transferred to another party, dotname will transfer all remaining .name domain names to Key-Systems automatically.

The latter will let users who are still interested in the service change the e-mail and URL forwarding settings for their domain names and continue using OpenID.

FreeYourID, however, hits the deadpool.

E-mail in full (hat tip to @pascalvanhecke):

Dear user,

We will be discontinuing the service, which may affect the way you manage and pay for your .name domain name going forward, on August 15, 2009. Please note that until August 15, 2009, you will continue to be able to access and use your account on to make changes to your .name domain name, extend its registration period with a payment, or retrieve your “Transfer Auth Code” so that you can transfer your .name domain name to another provider. The extended registration period will be fully honored by the new provider.

Your .name domain name registration term will continue until its expiry; however, we will transfer your .name to Key-Systems GmbH, an ICANN-accredited registrar who we have selected as the new provider of the .name services (“Key-Systems”). Upon completion of the transfer to Key-Systems, you will receive an email with details on how to activate your new account. With Key-Systems, you will be able to continue to enjoy your .name address, change your email forwarding and web forwarding, use Open ID, and extend the registration of your .name address and email.

Please also note the following:

1. If you do nothing, we will transfer your .name domain to Key-Systems on August 15, 2009. Your username and password will not be transferred. As mentioned above, you will receive an email with a link to activate your new direct account with Key-Systems and to check your preset data. After activation, you will receive a new username and password.

2. If you do not wish for us to transfer your .name domain name to Key-Systems, please click here to log in to your account and let us know. Your .name domain name will then be deleted on the transfer date, allowing you to re-register it with another provider of your choice; however, any remaining time in your registration term will be forfeited and there will be no refunds for time not used. If you select this option, please be aware that someone else could register your .name domain name after it is deleted from our system before you register it directly again with a new .name domain name registrar of your choice. If you intend to keep your .name address, we strongly recommend allow us to transfer it to Key-Systems.

We have genuinely appreciated your use of the FreeYourID service and your .name domain name. We believe Key-Systems will continue to provide you with a positive experience so that you can enjoy of your .name address – your personal, memorable and lifelong address.

As always, thank you for using your .name domain name, we greatly appreciate it.

If you have any questions or concerns please contact VeriSign Customer Support at 703-925-6999 or email us at


PJ Bolanos
Vice President, Global Customer Support