Facesquatting And The 2009 Facebook Username Land Rush Aftermath

Millions of users counted down the seconds to the launch of the Facebook username land rush on Saturday, 12:01 AM EDT. While many journalists had their usernames pre-reserved, those journalists are still waiting for their usernames to process although Facebook says that they are still in the queue to get processed. The more entertaining portion of the night was a phenomenon called facesquatting: the process of stealing a username that another person or brand wanted to use.

That may not be what you thought facesquatting is. If you thought it was something that has a sexual connotation you would be correct which is why I don’t recommend that you go looking for facesquatting pictures in Google images. One facesquatting image ended up at the top of Digg over the weekend and made it on to Gawker this morning. A gentleman named Mike Pence decided to take the Facebook username land grab opportunity to take his friend’s name, “obiefernandez”. The result was the picture below.

It’s an entertaining image but it’s exactly the type of thing that was expected to occur in the Facebook username land rush of 2009 as predicted by Anil Dash. After 12:01 AM, a number of users began claiming that “/” had become the new “@” as the primary topic of discussion on Twitter had become the Facebook username. More important than the so called “facesquatters” was the fact that most users were able to get their usernames without a hitch.

As Larry Yu of Facebook told Bloomberg, more than 500,000 usernames within the first 15 minutes. Additionally more than 3 million people registered their Facebook usernames in the first 12 hours after the land rush began. It was an impressive showing and as a number of videos circulating Facebook showed, there was a team of engineers on standby to monitor server load to make sure that everything went smoothly.

Days later things are running well and we’ve started searching for some of the more entertaining facebook usernames that were grabbed. Many of them happened to be relatively childish but I’ll include them anyways since the aggressive facesquatters were also relatively childish. Here are 9 usernames that we found to be most interesting:

/thedistrict – I’m not sure why I liked this username so much but I thought having a username called “thedistrict” was interesting. Perhaps it’s because I live in the only real district in the country, the District of Columbia.

/socialmedia – If you want to become the top social media consultant in the world, having a username like “socialmedia” is a pretty good place to start. Then again if you decide to change your name at a later date you may not be too happy that you kept a username that references your past job.

/error.404 – This one is pretty self explanatory. Unfortunately when you go to this page you don’t actually get a 404 error. Instead you end up with the profile of Jon Mulligan.

/moc.koobecaf – This username is facebook.com in reverse and while it’s entertaining, it’s not the quickest this to type.

/upload – If you visit this username you won’t be able to upload anything. You’ll only be able to contact a guy named Daniel Axin.

/preferences – Yet another play on trying to appear to be part of the Facebook website.

/default.aspx – This is probably one of the more entertaining usernames that we’ve found. Default.aspx is the default directory file loaded up on .NET applications. Christine Shipley of RIT came up with this one and has now received plenty of props from people around the web.

/cnnbrk – This person thought that they would try to profit off of the insanely popular Twitter account cnnbrk that was eventually acquired by CNN. Unfortunately the person who reserved this username ended up connecting it with a user profile and not a Facebook Page, making it unlikely that this will turn into anything.

/theusername – I’m still debating whether or not this username is a good one. At the least it’s clever.

Did you get the username that you wanted? What creative Facebook usernames have you found?

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