Yahoo! recently made some changes which impact on our Account Information and how it's being made available when you use some of the Yahoo! services like Yahoo! Mail and Yahoo! Messenger. It's causing a great deal of concern for some and confusion for others as they are changing their details to prevent their real First and Last Names being displayed yet it's not working across all the services like they expected, this is caused in part by a misunderstanding of the general information available but mostly because of the extensive amount of misinformation being provided.
As a result, people are changing some of their details and then ssume that the issue has been resolved or that the changes are implimented right across all Yahoo services which isn't the case at all, another big mistake people are making is that if they themselves can no longer see their real name details, they assume others can't also, yet often this isn't the case as other users can still see and readily access it.
We've already done one article Yahoo! Messenger version 8 Account Information that touches on some aspects of your name details being sent out via Yahoo! Messenger, this article is going to go a right back to the initial registration, through your Yahoo! Mail settings, through to Yahoo! 360, a quick dabble in Yahoo! Answers and once more we are going to poke around our Yahoo! Messenger settings so if you want to make sure that your First and Last Name is not available in any of these areas read on....
Here's how to all unfolds..
When you register for a Yahoo! ID at https://edit.yahoo.com/config/eval_register
you fill out your First Name and your Last Name, select your Yahoo! ID, complete the email verification and you're away laughing... but so is your real First and Last name as it's now going to follow you around where ever you go, through a variety of Yahoo! services and evenutally end up in peoples inboxes, favourites / bookmarks, friends lists and address books.
It all starts with your Yahoo! Account details, now the short of the long, is quite simply this... if you want to remove all possibility of your First and Last Names ever being sent out or displayed to another Yahoo! user then you don't read on any further, head directly to Account Information at http://edit.yahoo.com/config/eval_profile
Sign in with your Yahoo! ID
Ignore the first instance of your Names, scroll down the page until you see Address / Contact Information, click Edit...
At the top of the page should be Your Name, what you need to do is edit both fields
Click on Finished, if prompted then confirm your password, you will be redirected back to your Yahoo! Account Information page where you can see the changes, if you're happy with the results, click Finish again and you're done... no worries no more.
If you're not comfortable removing your First and Last Name from your My Account and just wish to do it service by service then grab a coffee and pay close attention, the Yahoo! ID we are using is just_cow_thanks
the First Name is Nescafe
the Last Name is Gold
Yahoo! Mail Name Display
Lets sign in to Yahoo! Mail and see what information is there...
at sign-in I'm greeted by my First Name (Nescafe ) which is fine, but how are my emails being sent out?
if you send a test email to yourself you will quickly see that information goes with it, by default our First (Nescafe ) and Last Name (Gold) go out...
to change this...
click on Options (far right of your Yahoo! Mail window)
under Management click on General Preferences
at the top is heading Name and Email,
look for the field From name:
it will by default, display your First and Last Names, edit this to something you are more comfortable with, it might be just your First Name, your Yahoo! ID or just a general nickname, in this example I've used the nickname yes please :) when you've done this, scroll to the very bottom of the page, look to the left, locate Save and click on it.
Once the page has refreshed, head to the top of the page, click the Compose button and send yourself another test email...
if you're happy with the new display then lets march on to Yahoo! Messenger as none of the changes made in Yahoo! Mail impact on any other Yahoo! services that you might use.
Yahoo! Messenger Name Display
When you login to Yahoo! Messenger, if Inside Yahoo! is enabled you'll quickly be able to see that this too also displays your First (Nescafe)
||as does your main IM window...
if you start an Instant Message with someone not on your friends list this is how it will look....
|You will see your first and last names
||they will see your Yahoo! ID
if they now send through a friends request to add you to their buddies list...
by default the request is going to extract your default Account Information (that you entered when you first signed up for your Yahoo! ID) and use this for the request, if you agree to the request at this stage by clicking Finish your First and Last Names will be used and sent out. The same information is also used when you yourself, request to add someone to your friend list..
which again is going to be your real First and Last Names, in my case this is Nescafe Gold. In both instances you can click on Change to alter the details for that user if you wish to but it wont impact across every request you send or receive, it will only change it for that person, and that personal only, this being the case, if you opt to change it manually per request you will need to take great care when sending requests or granting permission to others.
When accessing your details via Change you can enter only a first name if you wish, your last name can be left blank as it is not extracted from your Account Information, it's merely omitted. You can also completely clear both the First and Last Name fields, this will sent the request through as being from your Yahoo! ID only, no other details will be submitted or available...
now if you head directly to Messenger > My Contact Details you'll be able to pull up your contact details instantly
by default these fields are blank because mentioned above, the information is pulled directly from your Account Information.
now this is where a great deal of the misinformation resides so if you want to avoid any mishaps with your First and Last Names pay close attention...
if you just enter a Nickname and leave your First and Last Names blank...
your real First and Last Names, in my case this is Nescafe Gold are still going to extracted and as such used, in all your requests and acceptances
and you'll be (unhappily) sitting on their friends list with your real First and Last Names ( Nescafe Gold ) hanging out...
what this will change though is how you see your ID during and IM session and how it's displayed at the top of your main IM window beside your status.
if you enter information in the First name field leaving the Last Name blank...
the First name information is taken from your My Contact Details (as shown above)
but as the Last name field was left blank, this information is extracted from your Account Information
and you'll be once again (unhappily) sitting on their friends list with your real Last Names (Gold) hanging out...
Exactly that same thing will happen (as per above), if you just complete the Last Names field in your My Contact Details, only difference being, it will be your real First Name extracted from your Account information instead of your Last Name.
If you have guessed that all 3 fields (First, Last and Nickname) in your My Contact Details need to be completed to stop Yahoo! accessing your Account Information you're dead right :)
if you only edit your Nickname nothing will change, your first and last name will be displayed from your Account Information
if you only edit your First Name, your Last Name will be extracted from your Account Information
if you only edit your Last Name, your First Name will be extracted from your Account Information
To prevent Yahoo from sending out your First and Last Names you MUST COMPLETE ALL 3 FIELDS and as per when you change your Yahoo! Mail settings, this wont correct your name displaying in anything other than Yahoo! Messenger.
Yahoo! 360 Name Display
In Yahoo! 360 you can easily access your details via Settings (top right hand side) > Basic Info
make sure you fill in the required fields (First and Nickname) and clear any information from Last Name.
If you don't want your 360 page to replace your default Profile e.g. http://profiles.yahoo.com/just_cow_thanks
make sure the first option under Yahoo! Identity is selected...
either the 2nd or 3rd will cause your 360 page to display by default. If you go from Yahoo! 360 along to Yahoo! Answers you will find your 360 details have travelled with you....
Yahoo! Answers Name Display
When you first login to Yahoo! Answers look for the link Ready to Participate? Get Started
your Nickname by default, is your shown as your First Name and the first initial from your Last Name, once again this is taken from your Account Information, you can either edit this in Yahoo! Answers, select your 360 Nickname or just use your Yahoo! ID, which ever you choose, setting up and keeping your Name details private in Yahoo! Answers is incredibly quick, simple and easy.
Summary of common mistakes
Changing your details in Yahoo! Mail wont impact on other Yahoo! services that you use....
if you edit your Name details in Yahoo! Mail this wont change your details available in Yahoo! Messenger or any other Yahoo! services.
If you change your My Contact Details within Yahoo! Messenger you must edit all 3 required fields (First, Last and Nickname) to prevent both your First and Last Names showing, or a mixed combination of them.
Just because you can't see your First and Last Name details in Yahoo! Messenger doesn't mean other people can't.
Add yourself to your own friends list, right click on your username in the list, select Contact Details and see what information is being sent out
or head to Messenger > Preferences > Appearance (category) under For each contact on the messenger list show their: and select Nickname or First and Last Name, hit Apply, hit OK and recheck what your friends list displays.
If you have accepted or sent out, requests to add to friends lists, and your First / Last Names are showing, the user will need to delete you from their Yahoo! Messenger friends list AND their address book to remove this information, you are not able to do this yourself, nor does updating your own details impact on what they already have.