Friendly URLs become available this Friday night/Saturday morning.
This Saturday morning at 12:00 am EDT (Friday night for most of the United States), Facebook will let users create “friendly URLs” for their profiles. So instead of the current facebook.com/blahblahnumbersnumberblah, you will be able to get Facebook.com/yourname or something similar.
A lot of people have pointed to Twitter ‘usernames’ as the next type of domain squatting. Facebook is taking steps to prevent that. First, profiles can never be transferred. Second, the company has a trademark policy. And finally, anyone who created a Facebook account after username availability was announced will not be able to select a username during the initial launch. However, news of the username scheme leaked prior to yesterday’s official announcement, so it will be interesting to see if this latter mechanism is useful.
Facebook friendly URLs will make it easier to put a Facebook URL on your business card or in emails. Of course, savvy users can already just use a forwarding URL to link to their profiles. I think the biggest impact will be for companies with Facebook pages, as they will now be able to advertise them more effectively. In a TV commercial, they’ll be able to advertise Facebook.com/companyname. (A number of big companies already had friendly usernames and URLs prior to general availability.)