But some Yahoo users are just discovering that their accounts have been recycled. Dozens of threads on Yahoo Answers feature questions from panicked users wondering about their options and the security of emails still landing at that email address.
Here's what you need to know about recycled accounts and how you can get on Yahoo's list for the username you want.
1. You Have 12 Months To Log In.
If you hadn't used your Yahoo ID to log in to any of Yahoo's sites in the past year, the company gave you until July 15 to do so. After that date, Yahoo reset inactive accounts and made the usernames available to the public beginning in August, the company said.
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This is a practice Yahoo plans to continue: According to its help page, Yahoo will delete accounts due to inactivity unless you sign in once every 12 months.
2. You Can Apply For A New Yahoo ID.
If there's a user name you've longed for that wasn't previously available -- or if you want to try to reclaim an ID that was recycled -- Yahoo lets you submit a request to its Watch List.
For $1.99 you can enter up to five Yahoo usernames you want. Yahoo will notify you if they become available within the next three years, it says. If one of your desired user names does become available, you will have 48 hours to claim it. To submit your requests to Yahoo's Watch List, you need to enter in your credit card information for billing.
3. Yahoo Protects Expired Accounts.
If Yahoo deactivated your account and you're worried that the new owner will receive your mail, Yahoo said it has put certain security measures in place to ensure that your emails remain private.
According to a post on its developer page, Yahoo will let e-commerce sites or social networks, for example, "ask" for a new type of validation when sending an email to a specific Yahoo user. The field, which can be requested via an email's header, is called "Require-Recipient-Valid-Since."
For example, if you submit a Facebook request to reset your password, Facebook would add the Require-Recipient-Valid-Since header to the reset email, and the new header would signal to Yahoo to check the age of the account before delivering the mail. If the values don't match, the email will bounce. Facebook, PayPal and LinkedIn have already enabled this option.