IBM IDs are completely, 100% free. You pay with a bit of your personal information. You have to provide an email address and a first and last name.
Those of us who have been working with (or for) IBM for years, really don’t even remember signing up because it is just a minor thing. IBM IDs are needed to download some software, to access certain kinds of content (some problem reports among other information), and to register for some IBM events. If you work for an IBM Business Partner, you should have your ID associated with the company so you can access additional software and resources. If you’re an IBM client, you should also get your ID associated with the passport advantage portal so you can download software your employer has paid for.
When working with Db2, you’ll use your IBM ID to download Db2 fix packs, associated tools and software, to manage cases with IBM support, and to access some of the IBM support content on APARs.
How to Sign Up
It is quite easy – just go to the IBM ID sign up site and provide the requested information. Be careful here because the email address you specify will become your IBM ID. If you specify the email address of your current employer and then change employers, you will be stuck with the old email address as your IBM ID, though oddly you’ll be able to change the actual email address associated with the ID so that emails can go to a correct place. After 18 years working with IBM software, I have ended up with three different IBM IDs, one of which has my old IBM email address in it from the first 7 years of my career spent as an IBMer. I don’t recommend using an IBM email address even if you are an IBM employee, or maybe create two IDs in that case, because certain things like submitting presentations for THINK do some logic on it that can make things difficult.
Edit 12-11-2019: Thanks to Roland Schock for the recommendation to not use special characters in your IBM ID as well, as this can cause issues.
If you have problems with this process, you can email ERCHELP @ ca . ibm . com for more detailed assistance.
And don’t use special chars like & in the name. It can really give you very strange errors!