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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

You Have Three Days To Pick Your Facebook Vanity URL. Choose Wisely, Or You’re Screwed.

by MG Siegler on June 9, 2009

lastcrusade-knightWhat are you doing this Friday night? Going to a bar with friends? Going to a movie? Wrong.

If you’re a real web addict you’ll be sitting at your computer waiting for the clock to strike 12:01 AM Eastern Time. That’s when Facebook’s new vanity URLs are going to go live, and the landrush to get one will begin.

And it’s going to be a landrush because it’s a first-come, first-serve basis, as Facebook writes today. It looks like Facebook will give you a bunch of options based on your real name, but you can also pick your own vanity name.

But there are some rules:

Facebook usernames will be available in basic text forms, and you can only choose a single username for your profile and for each of the Pages that you administer. Your username must be at least five characters in length and only include alphanumeric characters (A-Z, 0-9), or a period or full stop (”.”). While usernames are currently available only for Romanized text, we’re looking at how we might support non-Romanized characters in the future.


We first talked about Facebook getting serious about vanity URLs back in March. It’s been clear for a while that people prefer them rather than having the current profile.php?id=500065899 nonsense. But up until now, only famous public profiles have been able to get one.

Come 12:01 AM on Saturday, they’ll be open to all. So choose wisely when you pick a name — or it could well end up like that tattoo you regret later in your life if you pick something like “mileycyrusfanforever.” Facebook notes this in their own way:

Think carefully about the username you choose. Once it’s been selected, you won’t be able to change or transfer it. If you signed up for a Facebook Page after May 31 or a user profile after today at 3 p.m. EDT, you may not be able to sign up for a username immediately because of steps we’ve taken to prevent abuse or “squatting” on names.

While Facebook had been playing around with the idea of charging users to get these vanity URLs, they will offer them for free. Facebook is also asking people with a trademarked or protected name to email them here to avoid the obvious issues. You can watch the countdown to the feature live here.