Finally after public demand, Facebook allowed users to create custom or “vanity” URLs in 2009. Users were then able to change the current random character URL (i.e. facebook.com/12956t78312qzb) to a custom address (i.e. facebook.com/johnsmith).
In addition to personal pages, any Facebook Fan Page can also get a custom URL.
However, there are restrictions users need to be careful of.
You are only allowed to change your personal URL twice.
- You are allowed to change the random character URL to a custom URL once.
- You are then only allowed to change your custom URL once again.
Fan Pages have even more restrictions on what can be modified.
Once you select a custom URL for your Fan Page you are stuck with it. You can’t change it. The only way to get a different URL is to delete your Fan Page and start all over again.
This restriction is done for security purposes (understandably) to limit hackers/phishers from modifying accounts or creating bogus pages.
However, there is a small subset of users who NEED to change their URLs. I am among that subset. I accidentally superimposed one letter in my URL and now have to live with a misspelled URL (which doesn’t make me look all that intelligent or professional).Although Facebook gave me the disclaimer that once I selected the URL I would be stuck with, I checked it twice and still managed to miss the typo.
I tried to see if there was someone I could call or email about it, and Facebook has NO channel of communication for customer support. You can search forums or speak with other Facebook users, but the company doesn’t really have a helpline to call (1-800-Facebook doesn’t exist – I checked).
I did find a direct line to Facebook online and after “dialing 1” for customer support; I was told “Facebook does not offer phone support at this time.”
What happens to users who represent their personal brands (consultants, actors, musicians) and they change their names? They can’t update the URL if they get married (or divorced for that matter) to reflect their new name?
Also what happens to a business if they merge with another company, incorporate, or completely rebrand? The inability to change their URL is a huge detriment to their brand. The only way to do so is to delete the profile and build a new one – meaning the 4,000+ fans they have garnered will be lost.
Facebook should do one of two things.
1) Have the developers allow for multiple URL changes.
2) Have a customer service representative available to discuss the situation to see if it will allot for a URL modification.
Either way – Facebook needs to relinquish some control so that users can fully customize their pages. Why should we have to deal with invalid URLs that don’t represent us correctly?