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Yahoo! To Recycle Unused Usernames

|Jul 11|magazine8 min read

The July edition of The Business Review USA is now live! 

Beware: If you haven’t signed into your Yahoo! account in the past 12 months, Yahoo! is going to recycle your username.

The drastic change is set for 11:59 p.m. PT on July 14, 2013, and is a firm deadline for users to sign into the site or their Yahoo! mail. Those who fail to log in will lose their Yahoo! IDs and the usernames will be recycled, so others can try to claim them. How devastating for some users.

How many Yahoo! IDs are on the chopping block? Yahoo's senior director of Consumer Platforms, Dylan Casey failed to specify other than to say "a lot."

"You can imagine how many accounts are created every day, and some percentage of those just become dormant after awhile, and we're actually pretty excited about the names we're going to make available to people, " Casey explained.

While the new policy may be great for someone who's had to endure a ridiculously long e-mail address, it is raising valid privacy and security concerns because e-mail addresses are linked to log-ins and password recovery on other sites.

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Casey says Yahoo! is implementing a process to safeguard users' information and data that he described as "very, very foolproof." I am unconvinced and skeptical at best.

"We'll go through and do some cleanup work to ensure that data doesn't end up in the wrong place and unsubscribe that particular ID from any newsletters." He adds, "We're working with partners and peers in the space collaboratively on a program that will help them understand if an account has been recycled and potentially has a new owner. For example, if this is a user on Amazon who's trying to recover their password, we'll help them understand if the account has been recycled so the password information won't get sent to the new user of that account."

Yahoo's new (and quite ambitious) policy differs from Google, which does not recycle usernames for security reasons. Even when users delete their Gmail account, Google policy states: "You'll also be unable to reuse your Gmail username."

Yahoo! is encouraging people who want new usernames to put in their request as soon as it opens up the process. Yahoo! will inform people in August if they can claim the usernames they requested.

If you fail to log into your Yahoo! account at least once a year, your username could be recycled. You’ve been warned.

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