Yahoo says that if you haven’t logged into your Yahoo account for 12 months, and *don’t* log in by July 15th, they’re going to give other people the chance to grab it.
What a terribly stupid idea.
Here are some scenarios which you may like to consider.
Imagine that years ago you created yourself a Yahoo address, registered some third-party web accounts using your new Yahoo address, but subsequently decided to use Gmail or Hotmail as your primary email account instead.
Maybe you haven’t had any reason to log into Yahoo for quite a while..
So, what is going to happen when you forget the password for one of those third-party web accounts, and you ask it to send your registered email address a password reset/reminder?
Tough luck. Yahoo has given your email account to someone else, and potentially they might be able to get up to mischief with your other web account…
What if you have used your old email address as an archive – you may not have needed it in the last year, but who’s to say that you might not want to access some of its content (emails and photos from since-deceased relatives and the like) in the future?
Alternative email addresses are good for security.
For instance, when websites ask “Give us an alternative email address in case we need to contact you another way”.
Many websites ask you to supply them with alternative email addresses they can use to contact you should there be an emergency, or if you have been locked out of your account.
Bad luck if your alternative email address was a dusty old Yahoo account, and if Yahoo has long since handed it over to a complete stranger.
Once an email address has been registered that should be it. Finito.
You didn’t get the email address you wanted? Tough luck – you should have moved faster in the gold rush. Yahoo doesn’t know where its email addresses are being used elsewhere on the web – all it knows is if anyone has been actively logging into the account and sending emails from it.
There is a real risk that many people will *never* realise that the clock is ticking and that they could be about to lose control of their Yahoo ID.
Wouldn’t it be a heck of a lot friendlier (but less commercially interesting to Yahoo) if the company asked people to *opt-in* to giving up their Yahoo ID for others? Of course, Yahoo knows it will have a lot fewer email addresses available to offer afresh if it does that.
Yes, this initiative will encourage some people to log back into their dormant Yahoo accounts and *maybe* they’ll like what they see there… but it’s an underhand way of getting people to re-engage with the site.
In short: as an idea it sucks, and it shows Yahoo’s lack of respect to customers who created accounts with them in years gone by.
Further reading: Yahoo attempts (and fails) to defend its crazy email plan