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Thursday, February 12, 2009

“Reserved Domain” message when creating a new Live ID


This article was originally posted here by John B

I wanted to share this with you as it really hacked me off that I couldn’t find a good reason for things to be acting the way they were!

I was creating a new Windows Live ID for my girl using one of my own domains, and was getting the error

“ The portion of your e-mail address that follows the @ symbol is part of a “reserved domain” such as,, or Please type a different e-mail address. ”

Now this got me initially confused, but then really annoyed. After all it’s my domain, why should Live tell me that I can’t use it?!

I did the usual Googleing of the error and discovered not a solution, but a raft of others seeing the same problems. Admittedly most of these folks were trying to use Gmail or Verizon email addresses but there were a few trying to use their own domains the same as I was, along with what seems to be the standard response form the Live support team of “You can always sign up with a Hotmail or Live email address”! This, as a few others pointed out, is no real answer as what a lot of folks want to do (me included) is to reduce the number of different email accounts we have in place to a more manageable level.

But I was not going to let this this beat me. What is a reserved domain? What can I do to use my domain for Live ID’s? How is this Live thing all supposed to work anyway?? - Oh as an aside here.. if you try to get a new Live ID from they only give you a choice of their domains. If you want to use your own email address use the “Sign up” option from the MSN sign-in page.

The resolution - It worked for me, it might work for you!

I already had a Live ID on my domain so I logged into that and went to my account page to see if there was anything in there that would let me ’switch on’ the ability for other IDs to be created, there wasn’t anything obvious.. Child Accounts are simply that.. accounts for children, not what I wanted.

But in the Settings section there is an innocuous link entitled “Administration Center” I clicked on this and was informed that this is the new name for the previous Live Domains product - the idea being that you effectively re-sell Live-based email addresses which appear to be on your domain - Hmmm I thought, perhaps… yes we’ll give this a go. I filled in the confirmation process, added a CNAME to my DNS zone file (this proves you own the domain I guess) and was then presented with an admin screen where I could add new accounts to my domain. Following the tenuous logic and taking a leap of faith I did just that and whaddya know! It created a new Live ID for the new account on my domain YAY!

The new account was able to log in to Live, log in to MSN Messenger (the whole point of the exercise) and everything works.

So… the bottom line here is that if you own your domain and are getting the “Reserved domain” message when you try to add a new ID, dig dig dig into your existing Live account service settings and you should be able to get what you need.

Why this has to be quite so complicated I’m not sure. Why the support folks are not able to identify what needs to be done, again is unclear to me. Why I can’t access my Live account from my MSN page <shrugs> beggars belief, but these things are truisms and that’s it.

I’m sorry this isn’t going to help those with Gmail or Verizon or other generic ISP email addresses, but I guess that Microsoft’s point here.. “Don’t use their generic email system, use ours!”. I know not everyone wants to have the cost and admin overhead of having their own domain, but I’ll bet if you shop around there are some pretty easy places where you could get one with a nice control panel to manage it through, I use for mine.

Hope this provides a little insight for some, and that the hoops we have to jump through are seen by Microsoft/Live/MSN as hurdles to the levels of service adoption they seek.

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