In these days, Thawte is sending email announcements to the users of its free email certificates that this service will be discontinued on November 16, 2009. Another service, Thawte Web of Trust, will be discontinued as well. Thawte Web of Trust is a worldwide network of independent notaries able to verify users personally. All issued certificates will be revoked by this date.

Holders of currently valid certificates will get a 1-year email certificate from VeriSign for free. Normally, such a certificate costs 20 USD. By the way, VeriSign owns Thawte.
It will be also possible to get either an SSL or code-signing certificate for 1 or 2 years for free. However, it is not clear from the email announcement whether this applies to Web of Trust notaries only or to all users.