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Yahoo handing out pre-owned usernames to customers

If you were amongst those who requested your "dream" Yahoo user ID last month, the Internet firm is now notifying people who nabbed their email address of choice.

In June, Yahoo said it would deactivate accounts that had not been used in over a year, allowing people to snap up once-claimed usernames. The following month, it allowed users to request their top five most wanted usernames, and now the rollout begins.

Alas, it appears that I have not secured "Chloe" as my Yahoo ID, though a few people on Twitter appear to have nabbed their desired username. For those who are in my boat, however, Yahoo is offering the chance to pay to place certain names on a watchlist.

For $1.99 (£1.30), you can monitor up to five usernames for three years. If it becomes available, "we'll hold it for you for 14 days and you're next in line," Yahoo said.

Yahoo has revealed that the most popular name requests for men were David, Michael, and Alex, while Maria, Jennifer, and Jessica were most popular with women. So don't hold out hope for ever landing those Yahoo user IDs.

"'Batman' and 'Superman' even showed up high on the list," Yahoo said.

Of course, a frequently asked question is, if you're inheriting an email address that has been dormant for more than a year, will you also inherit its spam messages?

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."

More details about that are on the Yahoo developer blog.