April 7, 2010
Facebook usernames or “vanity urls” have come to my attention lately as I’ve received some questions about them. Facebook has naturally not released that much findable information about them, but they do have information if you know where to look for it. Every day I find new resources when searching the Facebook sphere. So. What about them Usernames and vanity URLS?
Vanity URLs and Facebook Page Usernames
Since quite a while back you have been able to create a username for your facebook page and for you personal profile. The username is most prominently visible in your URL. Thus they have commonly been called “vanity urls”. I have one vanity url for my page and one for my profile.
- Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/jesperastromcom
- Profile: http://www.facebook.com/jesperastrom (linkedin if you don’t want to see my party pics)
As you can see, the Facebook username for my page is jesperastromcom and the Facebook username for my profile is jesperastrom.
1. How to apply for a Facebook Username
If you want to apply for your own username you should log in to your Facebook account and go to the url:
Simple enough you select the name you want your URL to end with. But beware. You can only use one username, and it is almost impossible to change. (I say almost as I have seen examples of changes, but they say it is impossible. I guess it is a matter of how much potential cash you can throw at them.)
If you have set your Facebook Username for a profile, the page will look like this when you enter the username page to set your Facebook page username.
This might cause some concern as the “Set a username for your Pages” is quite invisible underneath the yellow box. Don’t worry. Just hit the “Set a username” text with a mouse click and select the page you want to set your name for.
2. What should you choose as your Username
Well, if you are a company or a brand I would try to get the brand name. If you have several generic words in your brand title you should probably stack them all together (stackthemalltogether) just as I did with my username. You are allowed to use A-Z, 0-9 and (.) dots. I would generally stay away from the dots if you don’t have a good reason for using them.
Don’t worry about someone else snapping the name with the dots cause as Facebook writes it;
“It is important to note that a period (“.”) does not count as a part of a username; therefore, names like johnsmith55, john.smith55, john.smith.55, etc. all constitute the same username.”
3. How to change a Facebook Username
It is virtually impossible to change the username of a Facebook Page. If you pay them enough money they will do it however. Contact your local Facebook representative and put some green on the table and they’ll help you out. If you are a business it is really worth the hustle to get a sales rep on your side from Facebook.
For personal profiles it is a bit easier. You can change your username once. Read that one more time. You can change your Facebook profile name ONCE. This means that if you change it once and want to change it again… well, then you are virtually screwed. I am sure the money talks here as well, but I suspect you shouldn’t push it without a hefty cushion…
Anyhow. this is how you do it. Click the “Account” tab in the top right of your screen. Find the “Account Settings” option. Then just browse through the display that pops up and find the Facebook Username. Click the “Change” option.
There you go. Now, once you change it once, you cannot change it again. FOREVER NAMED!!! And if you have a Facebook page, that’s your problem from the get go… haha.. so I guess you should see this change as a bonus.
4. Copyright infringements (intellectual property)
If you get pissy that someone else has snapped your name I feel you should bite the dust and go cry to someone who cares. Facebook, who relies on this as their business, and are a legal entity in the US of Legal lawsuits, think differently. Thus, if you want to claim that someone has stepped on your toes and stolen your name, or is using your brand/intellectual property, you should go fill in the Username Infringement Form.
5. Transferring your Facebook Username to another page
Again, this is not possible to do for normal people without crazy reasons or cash for this purpose. The same holds if you delete a page. Your Facebook Username does not become available to register on a newly created profile. This is done as a “seccurity measurement”. This is fine for me. But if you are a bit creative like I am, you can find ways to fool the system.
One way is to file an infringement report against yourself. I have not tried this method, but who would argue. When you get the e-mail from Facebook (yes they e-mail you, or just nick the name from you and delete your previous stuff), you wouldn’t argue against the claim that you had made against yourself. Remember to use two different profiles when working in this dirty, shady and immoral manner.
6. Can Facebook nick my Username at any time they want
The simple answer to this is YES. The more complicated answer to this is that they do have the legal right and they do not care about any moral implications this might concern. They are Facebook and they can do whatever they want with Facebook. I think they are the only real people out there actually. They do what they want with their product. If their tests say its the right thing to do, then they do it. They don’t care if 10% of the members complain. Even though 10% of 400 million is a lot of people, it still wouldn’t hurt them.
However, Twitter has been quite evil in stealing names as well, so I guess it is a trend amongst the trendy. Twitter is actually worse as they steal names if you happen to have a name that someone else owns the top .com domain for. This means that if you are cucumber36 to all of your friends and someone registers that domain. The person is able to take your Twitter username in a snap. Thus you’ll have to live with being cucumber37 for the rest of your life. But hey… that’s twitter :). Facebook actually contacts you if the infringement isn’t to apparent.
7. Some other quick facts about Facebook Usernames
Now, as I wanted to use the number seven as it has proven to be my lucky prime number, I will list some quick questions and answers in a list here. If you have any other questions than the ones listed in this post. Please pass me an e-mail or write a comment.
- Has your account been hacked and the hacker choose a username you don’t like… you can report this infringement here
- If you find a username abusive you can report the person at the bottom left of the profile page “Report this page/user”.
- Can I use wickeid characters from strange languages – Not at this time! (but they are looking into it)
- If I change my username, does this effect my privacy settings – No, not at this time. (haha… that’s what they say.. my question is naturally… WHEN WILL THIS HAPPEN????)
I guess that’s it. Again, please ask questions if you happen to have any. All the best of luck with your Vanity URL.
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