Facebook to allow unique user URLs

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Steve Chiotakis: The social website Twitter has yet to find a way to make much money on the Web. But apparently it's doing a good job of it for Dell. The computer maker says it brought in more than $3 million in sales over the last two years from Twitter followers who clicked through Dell tweets to buy equipment. Twitter hasn't ruled out charging companies in the future for doing what Dell has done.

Over at social Internet rival Facebook, it's not hardware, but a personalized URL that people will be searching for tonight. And it's free. Mitchell Hartman reports.


Mitchell Hartman: Each of Facebook's 200 million or so users will be able to register their name as a personalized URL. The addresses can't be transferred or sold.

And why is this such a big deal? Well, right now, my public Facebook profile comes up in a Google search as a random string of numbers.

Zeus Keravala: Having Facebook.com/12345 isn't as easy as Facebook.com/bob.

That's analyst Zeus Keravala of the Yankee Group. He says Facebook's new, intuitive Web names will be linked from other sites, embedded in applications . . .

Keravala: You can in fact put it on a business card if you wanted to. And I'm sure you'll see companies advertise facebook.com/bankofamerica or something.

Rafe Needleman of CNET says in time, they could become people's searchable online identity, as well as a universal login.

Rafe Needleman: It gives Facebook more of a power position as a provider not just of a social network but of identity that can be used on other sites as well.

It's a position Facebook can use to drive traffic, and target personalized advertising. Which it needs to do to finally turn a profit, someday.

I'm Mitchell Hartman for Marketplace.

About the author

Mitchell Hartman is the senior reporter for Marketplace’s Entrepreneurship Desk and also covers employment.

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