Facebook's vanity URL promises to be a test for the fast of thumb

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To judge by the heightened temperature of the blogosphere, geeks across the globe are counting down to the moment when they can own their very own piece of Facebook real estate. At exactly 12:01 a.m. EST, the popular social networking site will allow members to claim a "vanity" URL – replacing the ungainly string of numbers that identifies each user with a name of the person's choosing.

Facebook first announced the initiative earlier this week in a post on the company blog.

“When your friends, family members or co-workers visit your profile or Pages on Facebook, they will be able to enter your username as part of the URL in their browser. This way people will have an easy-to-remember way to find you,” designer Blaise DiPersia wrote. “We expect to offer even more ways to use your Facebook username in the future.”

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Since then, the buzz around the project has soared. That's good for Facebook. But is it good for you, the user? Well, it depends. Assuming you have a unique name – Matthew Shaer comes to mind – you shouldn't be in too much trouble. But if your name is John Smith, your thumbs better be pretty dang quick.

"It's just a matter of me staying up late enough to do it," Amy Belmonte, an office manager from Meriden, Conn., told ABC News.

Others are preparing for an epic battle. Writing on the The Daily Beast, Douglas Rushkoff opined, "This is more than 200 million users, already engaged, simultaneously scrambling in the greatest territory dash since the Oklahoma Territory's land run of 1889, albeit with fewer shotgun injuries."

And then there are the folks preparing to cash in. TechCrunch's Robin Wauters says a company called Assetize "is readying its account username marketplace for the highly-anticipated-in-some-circles unique addresses." The article continues:

Assetize will enable users to buy and sell [these addresses] much like you can with regular website addresses on so-called domain name after-markets. The startup already provides the same service for a variety of other accounts, such as Twitter, Gmail and Ning, and will now be adding Facebook to its roster.

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