Most of the leading Social Media sites such as MySpace and Twitter have been offering customized and/or vanity URLs for their profiles for quite some time; the world's largest social-network, Facebook has not.
This all changed late Friday and early Saturday, June 12th and 13th, when Facebook allowed its 200 million users the chance to claim a personalized Web address on a first-come, first-served basis.
Within three minutes 300,000 users had grabbed a name. Fifteen minutes later that number rose to 500,000 and to more than 3 million within the first few hours, making this the largest online digital rush ever in the history of the Internet.
What does this mean? Facebook previously assigned users a numerical ID number. For example let me illustrate it with my own page. My Facebook page was www.facebook.com/people/Stefan-Swanepoel/773410101 - I had no choice in the selection of the URL for my profile page. It was whatever Facebook had allocated me. Now after obtaining the URL of my choice it is now www.facebook.com/swanepoel - much simpler, easier to remember and matches my other accounts; i.e. www.twitter.com/swanepoel
Excitement for millions and disappointment for millions of others who did not get the URL they had hoped for. Facebook has aggressively tried to minimize "cybersquatting" of user names by only letting accounts that were created prior to the date of their announcement be eligible for the permanent names. They also reserved certain names to protect trademarks, intellectual property and other rights. Furthermore, Facebook is also enforcing a strict 'no transferability' policy," thereby further restricting the misuse of these names.
However you look or feel about this step, it is widely acknowledged as a hugely positive step towards making Facebook profiles a more personal experience easily shareable. Furthermore it strengthens Facebook as the world's dominant online community.
If you have yet customized your Facebook URL you can do so by going to http://www.facebook.com/username/
Written by Stefan Swanepoel. For more information visit www.Swanepoel.com