Facebook is letting their 200-plus million users customize their profile URLs starting this weekend, according to a post on Facebook's official blog.
Vanity web addresses will be dispensed on a first-come-first-served basis, starting Saturday June 13 at 12:01 a.m. EDT. So instead of being facebook.com/ profile.php?id=597581268745308, you'll be able to send around a URL like facebook.com/sweetgal or facebook.com/john.smith.
Facebook recommends choosing a username as close as possible to your true name, and the network will prevent the registration of a username that infringes a trademark.
The idea, according to Facebook's blog, is to make it easier for friends, family, co-workers, and even search engines to find your profile without having to spend so much time scouring the site. Facebook move seems to be a bid to catch up with its social networking counter parts like MySpace and Twitter, who already offer personalized URL's.
A lot of people are expected to start claiming their vanity URL, so if you have a common name, you should keep close to your computer late Friday night.
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 user name immediately because of steps we've taken to prevent abuse or 'squatting' on names, the blog said.
However, from a business perspective, this new service may have missed a revenue opportunity for Facebook. If the site had decided to offer this service at a cost, for example $5 per URL, this could serve as an extra revenue stream. Companies, start ups and others who are looking to increase their presence on social networking sites may be willing to pay to have a unique URL. If even just 5 percent of its 200 million users pad for the service, this would offer the company an extra $10 million in sales.
Facebook users may procure a custom username for their profile's URL by heading to www.facebook.com/username/.