Talking tech since 2003

Just as expected the Facebook vanity URL gold rush took place early Saturday morning (12:01 AM EST) over 200,000 vanity URL’s were registered in 3 minutes.  The vanity URL’s are permanent – you cannot change them later on so I thought carefully about what username I wanted (as I’m sure most other people did as well).

So what was the problem?  I originally was planning on obtaining the username “Jeffrey” since a.) jeff was taken already and b.) it had to be 5 or more characters.  Much to my dismay at approximately 9PM EST Friday night I found out that a Facebook employee had just nabbed Jeffrey.  I was a little upset, but, what can you do?  I then considered “jeffw” which would be short and sweet as well as sensible, plus it wasn’t taken yet (and still isn’t).

When the countdown completed I quickly went to grab the username “jeffw” and this is when the problem arose.  It wasn’t available.  What?  How could it not be available?  It’s 5 characters and it no one has that page.  Why can’t I have it?  Disappointed yet again, I quickly decided to take “jeffweisbein“.  As you can see, I wasn’t the only one with this problem.  Michael Arrington and Louis Gray both were not able to take their respective usernames on Facebook and they both wanted to use their full names – still no go.

My only guess in the case of Michael is that since he was offered “mikearrington” by Facebook early and decided not to take it because he wanted to try and grab his username for himself with his real name (Michael) that Facebook locked down anyone from grabbing anything with his name for impersonation reasons (which evidently stopped even the real Michael Arrington from obtaining the username).

My girlfriend Mandy was able to grab “mandyw“, which I think is pretty neat.  I’m curious though as to why I can’t have “jeffw”, it clearly follows the rules and as far as I know isn’t impersonating anyone.  What’s the deal Facebook?  Did anyone else have any problems obtaining their desired username?

Credit for the post title goes to Anil Dash.


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