Get ready to stake your name on Facebook, because it looks like vanity URLs might finally be on their way.
“I am not a number, I am a person.” was a famous line from the television series The Prisoner, and it seems that mantra may be finally coming to Facebook after all these years. According to TechCrunch, a source has informed them that the popular social networking site is preparing to finally let you choose the address of your profile instead of having something like http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=502499893 (my own), you may finally have something like http://www.facebook.com/yourname. There are possibilities the URLs may have more info than that, but you get the general idea.
As you can see by looking at the current URL above, it has been cumbersome to print your Facebook address on a business card, or to just tell a friend verbally, “Yeah, just go to impossible-to-remember-URL and send me a friend request!” While this certainly hasn’t stopped the Web site from growing to astronomical membership, it has kept from being easy for one to promote themselves on the site. Part of the beauty of MySpace (yes, I said “beauty” and “MySpace” in the same sentence) and Twitter has been the very short URLs that you can pass on to others. All anyone needed to know was a username, and that is all it took to find you on those services. I can honestly say I never said to anyone, “Yeah, just go to Facebook and look for 502499893.”
The only disheartening part of this rumor is that TechCrunch also points out that Facebook recently conducted a poll where they asked users if they would be willing to pay for a vanity URL. So there is every chance that this may end up being a pay situation, but we can certainly hope that it won’t be.
Whichever way this ends up going, make sure you keep your eyes open for the announcement so that you can grab the URL that you want.