Capturing an Infringed Upon Facebook Vanity URL or Username
As a brand manager, it’s critical to “own” your trademarked brand on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites. It’s way too easy for someone to create an account and impersonate you online. With smaller brands especially, this can lead to customer confusion, loss of business and have an overall negative impact in your brand.
Our customers in the legal industry know all too well the pains of brand hijacking when it comes to domain names, and now we’re starting to see it happen more and more on Facebook with vanity URLs (also known as usernames).
What is a vanity URL?
A Facebook vanity URL is when facebook.com is appended with simple text at the end of the URL. Typically this text is the exact name of a company, product or brand.
Even we recently had to contact Facebook in the hopes of capturing a vanity URL for one of our online brands that was being infringed upon. This person had taken “servenow” and were using it on their personal profile as their username. I’m guessing the offender was not intentionally infringing, but it was important for us to go through the proper channels to claim what was rightfully ours. Fortunately, Facebook has created a fairly simple process for notifying them of said infringements and subsequently capturing your trademarked name.
Facebook vanity URL taken? Here’s what you need to do.
The timing of this post is interesting as the form and link I’m about to share seems to have changed since I went through this process a couple of weeks ago.
Start by going to this link:
(It’s probably best if you are signed in to Facebook)
You’ll get a form that looks like the following, if you select the same radio buttons that are highlighted below.
The difference in the process now compared to when I did this is the addition of the trademark-related questions. I think they were literally added today. But, I’m sure it filters out a lot of noise to their legal department.
Once you fill out the form, give it a couple of days and you’ll receive an email from Facebook (or at least that’s what happened in our case).
The email stated that the username had been removed and it was available for us to capture, at this URL.
For some reason, when I tried to grab our username it was not available. But, after some patience and a couple of emails back and forth, they just went ahead and assigned it to our page.
I have to say, having tried to communicate with companies like Google, etc in the past from a customer service perspective, I was pleasantly surprised by the customer service afforded by Facebook. Clearly, they are committed to make sure that their customers are happy and represented properly with their world.
Trent Carlyle is the CTO and co-founder of LAWgical. Trent works alongside the technology and marketing teams, developing products that help our clients grow their businesses and operate more efficiently. You can follow Trent on Twitter at @trentcarlyle.