Facebook usernames – Investors Welcome?

At 9:00PM PST for the first time in Facebook history users will be able to pick a unique user name that will come with a corresponding URL. There has been a lot of speculation about the potential value of these names in the future. While Facebook certainly has no plans to allow users to openly buy and sell their Facebook user names – it’s going to happen.

So what can you do to be prepared? Well, first-off, this is not like a domain name, but it is still a piece of online real estate. The great thing is it’s free – which is also the downside since you’ll be competing with lots of people that most likely want to get the same name as you. For all the people named John, Dan, and Ben – I’m sorry but if you want your name, you’ll most likely get stuck with John00123 or Ben1995.

As an investor I always look at situations like these as potential investments – and you should too! While taking your name might be your first instinct, think of how valuable a “generic” could be in Facebook-land. I don’t want to say much more here as I want to secure my username first before divulging my strategy.

So all you Friday night party animals might want to hold-back on the beer until after 9 because you’ve got an important decision ahead of you. If you’re on the East Coast – 12 on a Friday might be too late to avoid a drunked stupor so watch your typing…then again who knows – typo usernames might be worth something someday too!

{ 14 comments… add one }

  • My name is four letters long June 12, 2009, 6:15 pm

    I hope that the five character minimum restriction is not enforced, at least according to my dreams and wishes. I wonder what the real reason is for Facebook declaring that a name has to be at least five characters. After all there is facebook/ cnn, me, mike, john, tim and many more names already in action.

    As for the generic names, this should be very interesting. Facebook said that generic names like “flowers” or “candy” will be reserved but it is to be seen how many of those names will not be available. After all, even using automated means, they cannot block them all!

  • David J Castello June 12, 2009, 6:51 pm

    Anyone who “invests”in a Facebook sub-domain is asking for trouble. You will be forever at the mercy of the owners of Facebook.com. If you spend x,xxx for a name and they sell the site you’re literally up a creek. If they decide you breached some rule, there is no UDRP to turn to for help. They are under no obligation to you and you have no ownership rights.

    On the other hand, this may a great way of teaching the masses to put their toe in the water and someday graduate to domain ownership.

  • Chef Patrick June 12, 2009, 6:52 pm

    I’m going after my name. Simple and easy as I use Facebook for business and personal uses. I own a few different types of businesses and don’t think I can pick one vanity name to fit them all.

    I doubt I’ll get /Patrick but I’m going to try šŸ™‚

  • Reece Berg June 12, 2009, 7:07 pm

    You need 100 followers to get one right? Man, times like these I wish I had opened a Facebook account..

    Good luck everyone and I hope you all walk away with a few great names šŸ˜‰

  • Bob June 12, 2009, 7:42 pm

    I have read several places that, to get one of these names, you must have 1000 fans (one thousand, not one hundred) and you must have had the account open in May.

    I would have to guess that the qualification or requirement of 1000 fans …..will leave a lot of people out of this opportunity.

  • Brian June 12, 2009, 7:50 pm

    I actually just blogged about this briefly the whole vanity url thing is fun and possibly valuable not really a big deal to me but will be fun to see who come up with what dueto all the buzz

  • Jason Thompson June 12, 2009, 9:54 pm


    I was able to get http://www.facebook.com/domaining

  • Kevin June 13, 2009, 12:54 am

    I wasn’t able to grab /kevin (I heard that users with 1,000+ fans got first-dibs a few weeks/months back), but I did manage to get /selfemployed for myself. šŸ™‚

  • Arbel June 13, 2009, 3:20 am

  • randomo June 13, 2009, 4:07 am

    FB was overwhelmed with hits right at the witching hour … my connection hung for the better part of a minute. I missed the few names at the top of my list, but still ended up a snagging a nice one-word term that a lot of other members probably wanted (not domain-related).

  • Terence Chan June 13, 2009, 5:21 am

    http://www.facebook.com/terence for me

    As David C. highlighted, its good for the common folks to understand the power of URLs and participate in no risk ‘landrushes’ for the feel of it.

  • JF Mayer June 13, 2009, 7:38 am

    Congratulations, Jason – a nice grab!

    Regarding the limit of at least 1,000 followers: read the TOS, that are quite clear – this does not apply to individuals (I got the name I wanted with less than 100 friends), but to groups. And it seems – but this is less clear – that groups with less than 1,000 followers will also be able to pick their names in the near future.

    Anyway, I feel that the way of doing made sense. And I was pleasantly surprised to see how Facebook’s servers handled very well the “landrush”, I did it at the very secund it started (and nevertheless was not fast enough for grabbing my family name!), and there was nothing slow, the verification of name availability was nearly instant. Well-done process.

  • lyn June 13, 2009, 11:18 am

    Actually as far as investment this is a waste of time and money. It just like another extension that won’t re-sell. Or at some point Facebook won’t allow the re-sell. It’s one thing to get it for your business on Facebook. But the average Joe doesnt care that much about the first name/ that much. And then there was .me

  • Jason Thompson June 13, 2009, 2:03 pm

    JF Mayer,

    Thank you! Definitely appreciate the gratitude!


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