Earlier this summer, Yahoo announced a new policy change regarding its user IDs. Under this new policy, the company said it would free up inactive accounts, and their associated usernames. The goal, according to Yahoo, was to make a number of “short and memorable IDs” available for new users.
To be shut down, these accounts would have to go unused for at least 12 months. As of July 15, the previously occupied but inactive usernames were made available to users signing up for a new Yahoo ID. However, these new users would have to wait until August to find out if they secured their account name of choice.
Well, today’s the day for these new users as Yahoo has begun notifying whether these ID requests have been granted. If you didn’t get any of your name choices — each user was allowed to request up to five — Yahoo has also introduced a new Watchlist that users can be added to automatically and for free. As you may suspect, this feature will alert you if your preferred username ever becomes available.
Meanwhile, those who didn’t request a new Yahoo ID but want access to this Watchlist feature must pay $1.99 to access the service, which tracks up to five names for three years. Whether you pay to access the Watchlist or not, it will hold names that become available for only a couple of weeks, so be sure to stay on top of it, or risk losing that special user ID.
Yahoo is already taking some heat for its decision to charge for this Watchlist feature — TechCrunch described it as “ballsy” — but it seems the company is making the most of the fact that it beat Google in U.S. Web traffic share during July, according to comScore. Still, if not enough people are willing to pay for the Watchlist service, it’s possible it could become free to everyone within a few months.
Edited by Stefania Viscusi