As some of you are no doubt aware, Facebook will be rolling out a new feature the evening of June 12 in which people can reflect their identity in the URL for their Facebook profile—something Twitter has offered since it launched. This means, for example, that if Chris Kringle had Facebook profile, he could register to have “facebook.com/santaclaus” as the link to his profile. This posting on Mashable.com made an interesting point I thought UW marketing and communications folks might want to be aware of:
“Unlike Twitter and Myspace, which have had vanity URLs since the start, Facebook is releasing this feature with over 200 million users. The inevitable result will be an online gold rush for common names, key phrases, and brand names. We can imagine users stealing the brand names of rivals just to keep it out of their hands, leading to a lot of headaches, complaints, and a mess to clean up.”
P.S. I forgot to mention something important about vanity URLs for pages (not profiles). This option is only available to pages with 1,000 or more fans. Also, this option becomes available at 9:01 p.m. Pacific Time on June 12.