By Jim Donovan

By Jim Donovan:  Yahoo is trying to breathe new life into inactive email accounts by giving away the identifications beginning next month.

The program announced Wednesday will give Web surfers an opportunity to claim a new handle that had previously been unavailable. It also represents a last chance for Yahoo users who haven’t logged in for at least a year to keep the address.

Yahoo plans to release the inactive accounts unless the current owner logs in again before July 15. After that, the identifications will be available to all comers and will be ready to use again in mid-August.

Yahoo isn’t specifying how many emails are in the dead pool.  A Yahoo spokeswoman predicted a substantial number of IDs will be freed up.

Yahoo is hoping that people who chose a new handle next month will frequent other online services run by the company and discover features that keep them coming back.

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