Most people outside the Internet bubble world are probably unaware that at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday morning Facebook will allow users to pick vanity URLs:
We’re planning to offer Facebook usernames to make it easier for people to find and connect with you. When your friends, family members or co-workers visit your profile or Pages on Facebook, they will be able to enter your username as part of the URL in their browser. This way people will have an easy-to-remember way to find you. We expect to offer even more ways to use your Facebook username in the future.
Your new Facebook URL is like your personal destination, or home, on the Web. People can enter a Facebook username as a search term on Facebook or a popular search engine like Google, for example, which will make it much easier for people to find friends with common names. Your username will have the same privacy setting as your profile name in Search, and you can always edit your search privacy settings here.
This is effectively like a domain registry but Facebook is wisely preventing domain squatting.
This will likely turn out be a big deal for individuals, SEO and potentially SMBs in terms of digital identity and presence. Most SMBs probably haven’t a clue. But, in fact, Facebook.com/smallbizXYZ could be a total substitute or replacement for a website or a complementary presence that boosts an SMB’s capacity to be discovered online.
People who work with small businesses should alert them to this event to enable them to secure their business names (or individual names) for future marketing purposes.
Update: See Niel Street’s comment below re the TOS and URLs re fan pages and small businesses. It doesn’t preclude using your personal page however.