Facebook has officially announced it will launch personalised Web addresses, known as vanity URLs, this weekend. In a post on the Facebook blog, the rules are laid out for you to choose personalised Web addresses for your profile and pages you administer.
It seems like another move by Facebook to open up its 200 million-strong network. Traditionally, Facebook's USP was its status as a walled garden, designed for people with real-world ties to make contact using their real names. Your profile's URL is currently a string of numbers, unlike say, MySpace. The result is it's hard to find you from outside the network, requiring potential friends, suitors and stalkers to use their own names -- in theory -- and search within the network, providing greater safeguard against harassment.
In some ways we'll miss the numbers system. This Craver, upon signing up to MySpace, discovered that the URL he wanted to match his existing blog name had already been taken by an Oklahoma gun nut with a penchant for autoplaying metal and animated gifs. We don't think we can cope with that kind of heartbreak again.
Of course, being the ahead-of-the-curve bleeding-edge thought leaders we are, CNET already has its own URL. Facebook warns that once you've chosen your URL, you're stuck with it forever and ever, so choose wisely. To avoid cybersquatters signing up to take advantage of the announcement, anyone who has signed up recently may be prevented from grabbing their own URL. With Twitter recently introducing authentication for celebrities, cybersquatting is certainly a hot issue at the moment.
The Great Facebook Vanity URL Gold Rush begins at 12:01am Eastern Daylight Time on Saturday, 13 June -- that's 5:01am for us. Whether you stay up late or rise early is up to you...