06|10|2009 12:28 am EDT
As mentioned previously Facebook is introducing Vanity URLs on Saturday . . .or what they are simply referring to as usernames. Further details of the new usernames was posted on the Facebook blog today and there is a countdown to the Saturday, 12:01 AM EST release date as well.
With over 200 million active users, the addition of usernames to Facebook is a pretty big change to navigation. The improvements will help people easily find users and information on the site and provide much shorter and more practical URLs for use on print materials, social media, linking, SEO, etc. As Facebook points out :
“This way people will have an easy-to-remember way to find you. We expect to offer even more ways to use your Facebook username in the future. . .
People can enter a Facebook username as a search term on Facebook or a popular search engine like Google, for example, which will make it much easier for people to find friends with common names.”
Current policy states that users will only be allowed one username per account ( I’m sure many people already have multiple accounts) and a username for each of the pages that you administer . . . only pages with 1000 fans and created before May 31st are eligible. Facebook is also only allowing usernames to be 5 characters or longer (so much for facebook.com/adam and I guess facebook.com/u2 is exempt ) and they will only be in Roman characters for now. Usernames will not be able to be changed either, so as TechCrunch puts it “choose wisely”.
The introduction of these new usernames will likely provide Facebook with similar challenges of username squatting that Twitter has faced and even the lawsuits that come with parodies. To jump ahead of that, Facebook has a page where brand owners can submit their requests to prohibit trademarks from being used in user names.