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Yahoo To Put Inactive Usernames Back Into Circulation

by Adriana Lee | June 14, 2013June 14, 2013 8:00 pm PDT

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Sitting on an old, dusty Yahoo username? Well, be warned: The company will be blowing the cobwebs off a slew of defunct account names to re-release them to the public this summer.

The idea, says platforms executive Jay Rossiter, is “to give our loyal users and new folks the opportunity to sign up for the Yahoo ID they’ve always wanted.” Although the company didn’t release any hard figures on how many dormant usernames are being revived, we can certainly believe it when spokeswoman D.J. Anderson says, “It’s a good number.”

So if you’re joe@yahoo.com or nancy@yahoo.com, and you haven’t logged in for 12 months or more, that sweet, oh-so-simple username will be ripe for the plucking by some other Joe or Nancy. And if you’re JoeSmith34543021328538054398@yahoo.com, then huzzah — you may be in luck.

This is a great idea, and I wish others would follow suit. Take Twitter, for example. The reason my account is @Adra_La is because someone else snagged @AdrianaLee — someone with five followers who has tweeted all of two times back in 2009. And no amount of begging or emails to the company can seem to kick that username back into the pool. Citing security issues, Google and YouTube don’t put inactive profile names back into circulation either. Microsoft said it may delete data for accounts that have been inactive for 270+ days, but didn’t confirm one way or the other about whether it repurposes usernames. 

Of course, Yahoo’s play here is to tempt people back to using its services. It’s pretty clear that this is paramount for the company, considering what happened last summer. When a cyber attack released more than 450,000 Yahoo account names and passwords, it wasn’t the massive crisis it could have been — partly because there were so many inactive duds in that pile.

Well, it won’t be long before we see how this hand plays out. People can begin requesting new user IDs in mid-July, with answers coming in mid-August.

 


Adriana Lee

Adriana is the resident writer-slash-culture vulture who has written about everything from smartphones, tablets, apps, accessories, and small biz...

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