Last night’s chaos on Facebook was a fascinating display of “why not to be afraid of internet rumors.” Millions of people anxiously waited online staring at facebook.com/username/ hoping that they could register their name as a vanity URL. I participated in a lively chat on Mashable last night, there was a lot of anxiety, silliness, and even some worry leading up to the big moment. Would the site crash? Would people be able to get their URLs?
I’m a social media junkie and I needed to make sure that I was a part of it. Plus, I needed to make sure I secured two page names for YS that were eligible.
Think about the rules for a second and you’ll realize why it was silly to be in a panic:
– Each individual could name their account one URL. Most people are going to take their name or their Twitter handle or a knickname. Since the URL isn’t transferrable (like website names are) and you can’t ever change it. Unless your name is really popular you don’t have much to worry about.
– Pages with more than 1,000 fans could name their eligible fan page one URL. Think about it. That’s a lot of fans. (Probably 1% of pages) What do you think they are going to select? The name of their group/company/band or say… facebook.com/Kroger.
– Any trademark holder was invited to come early and protect their trademarks. This was done to prevent individuals from naming their accounts facebook.com/Lakers
– Behind the scenes Facebook handled URLs and redirects for major companies, bloggers, and celebrities. This prevented people from squatting on accounts for people like Ashton Kutcher, Miley Cyrus, and CNN.
Of course that doesn’t mean there isn’t some controversy out there. Over then next few weeks some awesome squatting will come to light. My favorite one so far is facebook.com/Barack. Well done Tomas, well done. Certainly there will be some squatting. But since the URL can’t be sold, transfered or even gifted… there really isn’t a benefit to squatting on someone’s URL.
For those of us who live in an “under 1000 fans” world, the next land grab is 6/28. That’s when Facebook opens up vanity URLs to groups, causes, and smaller pages. There wasn’t much chaos created last night. The real damage comes 6/28.