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back to article Yahoo! starts $1.99 'watch list' to recycle old usernames

Yahoo! has begun to recycle old usernames from inactive accounts and is starting a three-year paid service so that users can put dibs on the ones that they want. In July, Yahoo! said it planned to allow people to change their usernames for something a little more personal and asked for volunteers to sign up for the program. It …

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Silver badge

I can't believe I have kept mine active somehow. Mine is so old I have a six character password. Think I made it in 97 or so. I use it to sign up for things I know will spam the crap out of me. The only other reason I ever went to yahoo was, at one time its finance page was one of the free places on the internet to do stock, mutual fund research. Still getting old sucks and so does Jerry Yang.

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Silver badge
Meh

RIP-Y

RIP usernames?

Messages from beyond the grave?

What if a dead persons family find an email address active again....

Do you want a dead persons email address and the crap that will come with it?

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Anonymous Coward

I've still got a 4 digit password on my spam account... the unlucky future owner of the account will probably be getting porn ezines and be loaded with spam.

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Coat

Bring out your dead

How about those that are no longer with us? Lots of problems with re-issuing accounts.

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What's a "Yahoo!"?

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Silver badge
Coat

...are you Serious?

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Anonymous Coward

spam?

I still have a Yahoo account from the 90s

if this is tied to the email accounts then those account are going to be bombed with so much spam daily I'm not sure anybody would want them.

The spam filters ARE good, I haven't seen an actual spam from what must be millions of messages hit my actual mailbox in more than a year but there's so much spam on that account there is no hope of me finding a false positive in the spam, and if my current gmail is anything to go by that still happens more often than I'd like.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: spam?

Odd that you should say that, because I've been using it since 2000 and the spam filter is one of the things that has improved the most (I get about 5-10 per day at most these days).

It's also handy as a separate file virus scanner - just upload a file to an email and they'll happily scan it for you.

It's also useful to have a trackable email with loads of everyday shit in it should the spocks come looking.

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Silver badge

You mean "john76543" is already taken? But I want it!

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Silver badge
Coat

@John

My friend Jen wants Jen8675309!

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Thumb Up

Re: 867-5309

Upvote for being able to remember the '80s.

All I remember from that decade is a waitress named Bambi.

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Pint

Re: @John

sorry that is taken. Actually by someone I know. Do you want me to negotiate for you?

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Anonymous Coward

UK Mobile phone companies

reuse numbers after 2 years dormant, that's why my daughter gets bombarded with txt's from the last user's debt collection companies....some very nasty too

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Re: UK Mobile phone companies

Two years? Here in the States it's as soon as 30 days!

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Re: UK Mobile phone companies

I fell for that trap - wondered why Vodafone offered me a deal if I changed my number then found out why. I "inherited" what can only have been a number belonging to a complete moron who gave it to every website she could find. I also inadvertantly got sent virtually all her personal details via text spams. Name, address, DOB, pretty much everything I'd need to make her life miserable again with her new number.

I left Vodafone as a direct result and won't go back.

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Anonymous Coward

desperate

$1.99? I wouldn't pay $0.01! They must be desperate.

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Bronze badge

Who wants multiple accounts?

As an existing Yahoo user, when the free offer was on I had a look then realised that you cannot link the new user name to an existing Yahoo Email account. So you's have to log out/in multiple times to check your multiple accounts?

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Disgraceful disregard for security

I wonder how many other people out there have dead yahoo accounts with matching usernames at hotmail or other big providers with the old account as the fallback email address.

Thanks El Reg for highlighting this. The amount of private info I have in my cloud inboxes is scary.

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Silver badge

Re: Disgraceful disregard for security

If they've got it marked as a dead account it can be transferred relatively safely. First up, delete all the old email. That seems pretty straight forward and like something they'd legally be required to do. That should kill anything YOU put in the account.

Next up, you're most likely going to set a new password. So you won't know what they set. Sure you could trawl around looking for alternate valid domains that might be pointing to Yahoo for a password reset. Frankly, if someone is currently using that account, they should have pointed it to a valid email address anyway.

I'd think spam would be the most serious issue with a recycled account. Frankly, I have one with a service provider we no longer use, and see no good reason why it couldn't be recycled if they follow the caveats above. Not that it would in this instance since the company has changed names, and therefore domains.

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I Had an email from Yahoo the other day saying they had removed 14 contacts from my contacts list because they were no longer valid. I was aware some of them were no longer valid, but I kept them there partly for nostalgia and partly to recognise people should they turn up with the same name from a different email account. I never asked Yahoo to remove these contacts and, annoyingly, it listed a few names and ended with "And 5 others". Who were the 5 others? There was no way to contact Yahoo to argue this, or even find out which contacts they had removed. Plainly that was in order to free up names for this nonsense! Given that I've had my Yahoo account for about 15 years now, I'm annoyed that they would just start hacking names out of my contact list with zero warning or even the complate list of the ones they have removed!!

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Big Brother

They said they only removed the email address, NOT the contact form. So if you had anything else for the people there, that would still be there. So now you have 15 contacts called John or Mary with no email etc to remind you who they were.

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Silver badge
Stop

Am I alone in thinking this is *not* a good idea ?

How many accounts with how many websites could have been opened used a recycled email address ?

Yes, data protection should mean that websites don't keep data longer then necessary. But given my time around the marketeers, that doesn't count for much.

So the owner of a recycled account one days receives an email - addressed to the previous account holder - with personal details in it, along with a link to send a new password to that email address ...

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FAIL

Security: That's someone else's job

So let me get this straight. Their method of "security" to avoid people getting emails intended for the previous recipient is to make everyone ELSE implement code that lets said third party check to see if an email address has been "valid" since a certain time frame? So basically if said third party does not implement this new Require-Recipient-Valid-Since header in their "ping back" email, it's no different than someone taking control over an email box through some other nefarious means.

What could possibly go wrong?

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FAIL

Re: Security: That's someone else's job

It's Facebook or the bank etc that will get the blame if they DO send the password to the wrong person -- so it in their interest to check up. The RRVS is automated, I am sure they don't need to manually check the last email they got from the guy.

Still it does seem to have some leeway for error in it.

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FAIL

"Require-Recipient-Valid-Since header" = BAD idea. Sounds like it wouldn't help anyone but spammers.

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