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June 30, 2009

Facebook Username Landrush Debacle

Recently Facebook allowed people to register "vanity plate URLs" as their usernames. If you wanted and nobody else had claimed it, you could be "JennyDeluxe", or whatever struck your fancy.

At midnight Eastern time, Facebook members could pick user names for their profile URL’s that actually make sense, in place of the previous nonsensical numerical ones. (The numerical addresses look like this — — which is also the Facebook page explaining the procedure.) To prevent name-squatting, people will not be able to sell or reassign usernames.

To say that it was a circus is to underestimate the land rush. As the registration system slowed down with the onslaught of requests, and as "not available" responses grew after the first easy claims were staked out, wits realized that Facebook Username can be abberviated "FU" and twitters on #FUFacebook become a trend.

As more and more common names were snatched up, frustration grew and blogs about The Facebook Username Debacle multiplied. Anil Dash blogs,
A white guy named David discovers every variation of his name on Facebook is already taken, realizes he will never get a representative username, and finally reconsiders the condescending contempt he's always had for black people who give their kids unique names. This tiny bit of racial reconsideration is the only unequivocally good news to come out of the Facebook Usernames Debacle.
That is one of the funniest things I've read about geeks and race. Admittedly, it's a narrow focus.

Tuesday: Firefox 3.5 available for download. This was originally called 3.1 a long time ago, but so many changes - most notably a much faster Javascript engine - have been packed into this update, they decided to go to 3.5.


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