With launch of 'vanity' URLs, everyone can claim a piece of Facebook

File this one under self-promotion: By Saturday, so-called 'vanity' URLs will be available for all Facebook profiles and fan pages.

Starting this weekend, Facebook users will be able to claim a customized, or "vanity" URL for their profile or fan page, designer Blaise DiPersia said today in a post on Facebook's blog. Until now, web addresses on the popular social networking site have consisted of an ungainly string of numbers, making it tricky to remember the addresses of individual profile pages. (MySpace and Twitter, by comparison, have long allowed users to customize their URLs.)

"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," DiPersia wrote. "We expect to offer even more ways to use your Facebook username in the future."

Users can begin claiming their vanity URLs at 12:01 AM, EST, on Saturday.

For folks with distinctive names, of course, this is great news. But as Doug Caverly of WebProNews notes, "The John Smiths of the world may want to stay especially sharp... the trick may be claiming Facebook.com/YourNameHere as opposed to Facebook.com/YourNameYourFavoriteColorYourFavoriteNumberHere."

Sam Diaz, of ZDNet.com, is more cynical still:

Hmmm. Should I make a mad rush at that time to grab “samdiaz” before other people in the world with my name (I know of at least two other tech savvy guys with my name, one in Miami and one in Brooklyn) or should I pick a fun user name like “cooldudesam” or “samiam.” The whole idea behind this push is that my friends will be able to find me faster if I have a vanity URL. Maybe I’m just becoming too much of a curmedgeon [sic] but I don’t see the need.
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