Today, Yahoo will begin notifying those who requested a particular user ID through the company’s newly expanded pool of usernames if their choice has been granted. In case you missed it the first time around: earlier this summer, Yahoo announced it would re-open access to unused Yahoo IDs, and the email addresses associated with them. The plans that were initially met with a bit of controversy surrounding the security practices of doing such a thing, but Yahoo quickly addressed those concerns through additional protections.
Announced in mid-July, interested users could head over to wishlist.yahoo.com to request up to five email addresses/user IDs. If the company determined those IDs eligible for re-use, they would then be awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis. The move was meant to trigger a land rush for emails and user IDs which have long since been taken – like your name, for example, without numbers attached to it. (Though emailing from email@example.com could also indicate that you’ve been with Yahoo since day one. Recipients will never know if you’re hopelessly out of date, or totally cutting edge, it seems.)
Now, Yahoo is alerting users if they were able to snag their preferred user ID before others. If they didn’t, then Yahoo says it’s also announcing a new Watchlist, which users will be added to automatically, for free. This feature will alert you if your preferred username ever becomes available at some point in the future.
For those who never requested a new Yahoo ID, the company is taking a fairly ballsy step with the new Watchlist: you can now pay $1.99 to access the service, which tracks five names for three years. The Watchlist will hold names that become available for 14 days, allowing you a chance to stake your claim.
OK, sure. Yahoo is aiming for a turnaround, and there’s a lot of hope that ex-Google exec now Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer can deliver. And there has been some progress – Yahoo topped Google sites in U.S. Internet traffic according to comScore’s latest report. Plus, the company has rolled out some nice mobile apps with updates to Flickr and a new Yahoo Weather, for instance. And of course there’s that Tumblr deal. But Yahoo is misguided (or incredibly optimistic) if it thinks a Yahoo ID is something that’s actually worth paying for at this point in time. Then again, if you have some special plans for a name like firstname.lastname@example.org, which the company said was high on the list of requests, maybe you’re willing to pay to stalk it.