Yahoo said last month that it will deactivate accounts that have not been used in over a year, allowing people to snap up those once-claimed usernames.
Now Yahoo has made available a Wish List page, where anyone can submit up to five desired usernames – in order of preference – as well as a contact email address.
“If your first choice isn’t available, we’ll try one of your backups,” Yahoo said in a blog post. “In mid-August, you’ll get an email letting you know which of your picks is available, with link to claim it within 48 hours. And just like that, it’s all yours.”
“Your Yahoo username is what you use to log into all our services daily, so we want it to reflect who you really are,” Yahoo said.
Yahoo said that it will protect the privacy of users who had an e-mail address that may be re-used and has so far partnered with Facebook for this to work.
If a Facebook user with a Yahoo email account submits a request to reset their 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.
Facebook users typically confirm their email when they sign up for the service or add new emails to their account, and if the “last confirmed” date that Facebook specifies in the Require-Recipient-Valid-Since header is before the date of the new Yahoo! username ownership, then the email will not be delivered and will instead bounce back to Facebook, who will then contact the user by other means.
According to Yahoo, it has been “working with partners, like e-commerce and social networking sites, on identifying that you’re the new owner of a Yahoo username, and not the previous one.”