In an exceedingly stupid move, Yahoo announced last week that the company will reset all Yahoo IDs that's been inactive for a period of 12 months, and then once again offer those usernames for public registration. Describing the decision as an exciting change, Yahoo’s vice president wrote: “we want to give our loyal users and new folks the opportunity to sign up for the Yahoo! ID they’ve always wanted.”
“If you’re like me, you want a Yahoo! ID that’s short, sweet, and memorable like email@example.com instead of firstname.lastname@example.org. A Yahoo! ID is not only your email address, it also gives you access to content tailored to your interests – like sports scores for your favorite teams, weather in your hometown, and news that matters to you.”
In mid-July, Yahoo will start resetting IDs that haven’t been logged into for past one year. New users will then have the opportunity to reserve their ideal username. Then, in mid-August, Yahoo users who staked a claim on certain IDs will be told which one they got.
So, why this is a bad idea? Because the person who claims your defunct ID can read all your future emails, reset passwords to all web accounts associated with the Yahoo ID and perform other disruptive actions.
Just because an email address is not active doesn't mean that it is no longer important. This is especially true when it comes to old Yahoo accounts. Before Gmail became popular, almost everybody who had an email account had them on either Yahoo or AOL (or Rediff, for Indian users), which means that those Yahoo accounts were probably their first email accounts and hence still hold value, even though they are no longer used for correspondence. These Yahoo accounts are still associated with gaming portals, accounts on discussion boards, maybe even Amazon, and god forbid, your PayPal or bank account.
While its nice to have a cleaner user ID with your name, it’s going to cause serious problems for those who are unaware of the new decision.
If you haven’t logged into your Yahoo account for over a year, make sure you log in to any Yahoo product before July 15, or you will lose your entire account.