UK Web Focus (Brian Kelly)

Innovation and best practices for the Web

Have You Claimed Your Personal And Institutional Facebook Vanity URL?

Posted by Brian Kelly on 13 Jun 2009

Short URLs for Personal Facebook Accounts

The Facebook vanity URL landrush began at 9 PM PST (5 am in the UK). I woke up early and claimed my personal short URL for my Facebook page at about 06.30 (actually I wasn’t awake early enough as the obvious short form had already been claimed). Now I won’t divulge this short form of my Facebook ID as I don’t necessarily want you trying to befriend me just because you read this blog. But I now have a much easier way of sharing my Facebook details with people I may wish to befriend in Facebook – previous they had to search through the large numbers of ‘Brian Kellys’ or I had to give them my email address. The short form is much more convenient.

Short URLs for Organisational Facebook Accounts

You can also claim short Facebook URLs for an organisational Facebook page – provided you had more than 1,000 fans before the cut-off date. Again if you are in this position this strikes me as a no-brainer – as described in a TechCrunch article you should go to and log into Facebook. And then enter your preferred name. That’s it.

Earlier this morning I discovered that some of my Twitter contacts had already got a short name for their institution. Mike Nolan announced first thing that his institution has claimed edgehilluniversity and slightly later Matthew Cock took the opportunity to promote a group on the britishmuseum’s Facebook account. Both Matthew and Mike had already made there plans for claiming a short form for their organisational Facebook account. Keele University had also made their plans, pre-registering their institutional name as a trademarked name – but then subsequently encountering difficulties in using this name.

“Somehow Feel Dirty After Minting Fb URL”

Despite the ease of getting such short URLs, a number of my Twitter contacts seems very discomforted with the notion. Now I understand why people may not approve of Facebook, but if they, or their institution, do have Facebook accounts then surely it’s only sensible to make access to the Facebook pages easier?

And in the case of institutional pages which are used to market the institution, then surely we should be expected the marketing departments to have spend 10 seconds or so on a Saturday morning to claim the short name which can, if so desired, be used in marketing materials. And I would hope that rather more time would have been spend in selecting the short name – poppletonuniversity, poppleton-universityor university-of-poppleton, for example. Or perhaps there’s even a case for


So tell me, what is the logic in having a personal or institutional Facebook account and keeping the long form for its address? Or are the tweets I’ve been seeing simply a minority view from the ideological purists (the 21st century equivalent of the Tooting Popular Front?)

Of course, it may be that your institution hasn’t claimed the short name as it doesn’t know who owns the acount! But that’s another matter. Institutional ownership of services in the Social Web is worthy of a post in itself.

Twitter conversation from Topsy: [View]

13 Responses to “Have You Claimed Your Personal And Institutional Facebook Vanity URL?”

  1. Gosh you’re a late riser Brian. Aberystwyth University had its alias by 5:05am. :-)

  2. Isn’t that because there’s not much else to do in Aberystwyth :-)

    BTW I note that you’re URL is I’d be interesting to see the approaches taken to the name. Any particular reason you went for rather than, say aberystwyth-university? Did you have much discussion over the name?

  3. Flanders said

    Yes had dilema over using a URI for my name, e.g. to just use my name as the Fb url, e.g. davidfflanders <- went for latter in the end as I don't know what might come next beyond www. or .me/.com/.org ? Besides isn't the name handle how we mint identity over history anyways, e.g. D H Lawrence, e e cummings, FDR, etc.?

    Though I agree on the isntitution using a http pointer for their identity as it should point towards canonical represtation of the group of ppl and resources that make up that institution? I need to think on this more, but worth discussing with readers of this blog anyways (not that it hasn't been discussed a billion times before) ;)

  4. […] is covered by Brian Kelly – he describes the decision to register a Facebook URL for an organisational Facebook page as a […]

  5. said

    People who can’t get desired Facebook vanity URL can try

  6. Yes, vanity URIs/Facebook names have caused a bit of a fuss.

    I got my preferred name, but following the example of @rossrader I also ensured that *my* vanity domain points to facebook – in my case points to

    This has the advantage that *I* control my identity better [ goes to the right place, for example]

    Who do you want to be the arbiter of your identity?

  7. Hi Steve, so from your own domain you have a link to your Facebook and Twitter pages. I don’t seen how that gives you better control over your identity. Surely users will bookmark or access the Fb or Twitter page?

  8. […] Have You Claimed Your Personal And Institutional Facebook Vanity URL? […]

  9. Largely, it’s an authenticity thing.

    My domain, which is my OpenID, is my link to FB, to Twitter. I control it, and I can move it – and in fact did so, the other day.

    If I rely on Facebook to be my identity provider – as in the vanity URl, I feel they are being the arbiter of who I am (which is why I feel a tad worried about using Facebook Connect rather than OpenID.)

  10. […] Have You Claimed Your Personal And Institutional Facebook Vanity URL? […]

  11. One of the biggest features on Facebook is the photo. This social networking service is now a ‘host’ world’s largest online photo. This makes up for Facebook to develop their newest features are. Most recently, Facebook will introduce features automatic face detection.

  12. […] Have You Claimed Your Personal And Institutional Facebook Vanity URL? June 2009 11 comments 3 […]

  13. Woody said

    haha @ nothing else to do in Aberystwyth! Its not that bad… there’s a pier? hah!

    Anyhow an addition to securing these is using facebook shorturls – you can use and I have also just found out you can use like this: too… thought you might be interested :)

    Post about realising it here

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