The day has finally come: as of this Saturday morning at 12:01 am, you can claim a vanity url for your business on Facebook. That means instead of having to hand out coupons that look like this:
you'll be able to, instead, just use "www.facebook.com/Nest"
(I'm just using this one as an example because it happens to be on my desk; I don't have any affiliation with them or anything and am merely making up this fictional username to illustrate my point.)
Awesome--right? I know I will be VERY psyched to be able to check my association's page on Facebook without having to type "http://www.facebook.com//pages/The-American-Speech-Language-Hearing-Association/26971470317" every single time.
But it looks like companies and associations with fewer than 1,000 fans as of May 31, 2009 will still be doing a lot of url-typing, because they apparently won't be eligible for vanity urls.
As far as "chicken or egg" situations, this certainly qualifies: a huge challenge as far as getting people to become fans of your company or association's page on Facebook is directing them to the page. I blogged about this a few weeks ago: it can be hard as hell to find pages on Facebook. Most companies resort to "go to Facebook and search for "Company Name"--assuming that there will be only one result. Not the case at all. Take my association, for example--if you do a search for "American Speech-Language-Hearing Association" on Facebook now you get this:
Will the REAL American Speech-Language-Hearing Association please stand up?
Don't despair, though, if your company or association's page doesn't have 1,000 fans; like most things Facebook, I'm sure if enough people gripe about it, they'll relent and let all companies with public profiles claim vanity urls. In the meantime, here are Facebook's FAQs about usernames for fan pages/public profiles.
**UPDATE**Ok, small businesses--the outlook isn't so bleak after all--apparently the 1,000 fan restriction will end on June 28, 2008.