Yahoo's E-mail Genie Grants Wishes for New, Less Terrible Usernames

Yahoo on Monday began doling out new usernames in an ongoing effort to clear the decks of old accounts.

Your wish has been granted: Say goodbye to your random, nonsensical Yahoo e-mail address and hello to a simple, streamlined username.

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer's efforts to clear the decks and give the company a 21stA century makeover include new e-mail addresses for all. If you were one of the many people who visited Yahoo for the first time in months --or even years--in July to create a username wishlist, you may want to check your e-mail. On Monday, Yahoo began notifying people if any of their five picks were available.

Some unlucky folks will find that none of their choices were available--apparently, some very popular first names led the pack. If your name is David, Michael, Alex, Maria, Jennifer, and Jessica, the chances of you getting that username are slim to none. Yahoo's Dylan Casey, senior director of platforms, wrote on Monday that Batman and Superman were also on the list of most requested names. (If you were the lucky duck who snagged batman@yahoo.com, send us a note.)

If none of your selections made the cut, Yahoo said it will put you on a watchlist for free. The service watches up to five usernames for three years--if the account comes back on the market, the company will tell you. You'll have two weeks to claim the name.

If you have an inactive Yahoo account and didn't put in a request to keep or change the name, you may be out of luck. The mission behind the e-mail promotion was to clear out old or dead accounts cluttering up the service. People who missed the wishlist promotion will still be able to sign up for theA watchlist, but for a price: $1.99, to be exact. Seems a little silly, but if batman@yahoo.com ever opens up again, $1.99 is a small price to pay for such an extraordinary e-mail address. Never let it go.

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