Facebook will soon be allowing all users to claim a vanity URL pointing to their regular profile page, we’ve heard from a reliable source. The announcement should come sometime later this week. Afterwards, at a certain date and time, the landrush will begin. Users will be able to grab a vanity URL of their choice.
The Landrush rules will prohibit trademark infringement and a lots of words will be blacklisted, such as generic terms. But for the most part, we hear, users will be able to grab a name that they like.
Facebook has been toying with vanity URLs for some time. URLs for user profiles are currently user id numbers – such as facebook.com/profile.php?id=500065899 (that’s me). In March some Facebook pages started rolling out with vanity URLs, although you must have a business relationship with Facebook (or know someone there) to get one. Facebook.com/techcrunch, for example, links to our TechCrunch page.
The reason they need them – vanity URLs have proven to be a powerful tool on MySpace, Twitter and other services. It’s not just that users like them and it makes telling people your profile name easier. People have also long used MySpace URLs as their online identity. Twitter, more recently, has started to become the online identity provider of choice. Even Google is getting in on the vanity URL game. Facebook doesn’t want to give that up.
Facebook has recently polled users to see if they’d pay for a vanity URL. We have no idea if they plan on charging for the landrush at this point.
Stay tuned, and in the meantime start thinking up that perfect Facebook name. I want facebook.com/mike myself. Oh wait, I guess Facebook employees get first pick. So you’re also out of luck if you’re name is Mark.