Facebook Begins Rolling Out Free Profile Usernames For Vanity URLs

This afternoon Facebook posted an image of the new Facebook username settings that should be going live shortly. The image suggests that users will not have to pay for usernames and our assumption is that those usernames will be used within Facebook URLs for creating what many individuals now understand as “vanity URLs”. Facebook has not specified yet how this will be rolled out but it’s now clear that they are being rolled out as posted via the Facebook Platform page.

For some unknown reason, the image has been posted to an album titled “Developer Blog Photos”. Would vanity URLs only be available to Facebook developers though? Nope. All users will now be able to easily direct users to their profile via the URL: facebook.com/username. One other thing that isn’t yet clear is whether or not Facebook will enable Pages to also create vanity URLs. My guess is that this could quickly create issues if brands and users are competing for usernames.

I previously suggested that Facebook should auction off vanity URLs but over the weekend I put forth the logic behind making vanity URLs free. The primary reason is that Facebook wants to enable users to follow each other quickly via Facebook by texting in a person’s username. While this hasn’t been publicly stated, it’s a pretty clear motivation as they are looking to stunt Twitter’s continued growth.

While the form is not currently visible for me, a launch appear imminent. Hopefully Facebook does not limit the launch to specific networks. I guess now would be the time to man your computers and refresh Facebook’s homepage until the box pops up!

Facebook has posted on the Facebook blog that the land rush begins at 12:01 a.m. EST via the following URL.