The net result is that instead of having your Facebook profile located at: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=693655025&ref=profile as of this weekend, it could become something sexy like: http://www.facebook.com/mitchjoel.
It won't be a smooth transition and people will do stupid things.
While this is not like being able to buy as many domain names as you would like (Facebook is limiting Facebook Usernames to one per profile), there will still be instances where individuals will try to capture brand names or more generic terms (think www.facebook.com/apple and www.facebook.com/marketing). While Facebook has already made applications available to protect trademarks and IP infringements. It also has language on the website that states: "Facebook reserves the right to remove and/or reclaim any username at any time for any reason."
Is it really worth getting a Facebook Username?
In short, yes... and here's why:
- Consistency - make it point to try and have the same username across all of the platforms so that you are easier to find (as an example: you can always find me as "mitchjoel").
- Google and the other search engines will begin crawling everything (including password protected online social networks), so owning a relevant domain in spaces like Facebook is a smart move. If not for today, then for the future.
- For Facebook to grow, they're going to have to make the platform more accessible. Being able to tell someone verbally that, "you can find me at Facebook.com forward slash Mitch Joel" will make Facebook more spreadable. My guess is that people will start listing their Facebook username on business cards and the like.
- If there's someone out there with a similar name or company name, it would be wise to be the first one to get the Facebook username for yourself.
What do you think about this whole Facebook Username idea? Hype? The real deal? Good for marketing? Meh?