If you are one of the over 200 million people with a Facebook account, there’s no doubt that you’ve heard all of the hype over Facebook usernames and vanity URL’s.
These initially became available for both personal profiles and fan pages at 12:01am EST on June 13, 2009. I for one was among those who stayed up late on a Saturday night to get a vanity URL for my own personal profile.
Like many others, however, my fan page was fairly new, and did not meet the initial requirement of having 1,000 fans in order to get a fan page username. That would come later…
The Second Wave = Mass Confusion?
This past weekend, on June 29th, Facebook opened up the second wave of fan page username registration. However, it didn’t come without a bit of controversy and confusion…
First, there was no time listed, just a date. I’m sure I’m not the only one who assumed the second wave would start at 12:01am, just like the initial landrush. Well, you know what happens when you assume something, right? It turns out, the second wave wouldn’t start until 11:59pm that night.
Reports also started floating around in regards to the fan page requirements. Initially, fan pages needed a minimum of 25 fans in order to be eligible for a username. No biggie – I had about 120 at this point, so I was not concerned.
Late Sunday afternoon, however, Facebook changed their tune… the minimum requirement was raised to 100 fans. I’m sure this made for a LOT of unhappy campers – although I realize it is all in the name of preventing cyber squatting.
In addition to this, the Facebook help pages made mention of possibly verifying your account with a mobile phone.
Users will be required to have a verified Facebook account, which may require mobile phone authentication. This decision was made to prevent people from creating new accounts just to take advantage of reserving a username.
Not As Easy As It Sounds
I thought I took care of that earlier in the day by activating Facebook mobile through the Account | Mobile link. It was as simple as sending a text message with the letter “f” to FBOOK, receiving a confirmation code, and entering it into the account settings. I tested this and all was well. Ready to get my username!
Think again! 11:59pm rolled around – I went to the username page, entered my cell phone number to be faced with this:
Sorry, that phone was recently used to verify another Facebook user and is not currently eligible for mobile verification.
WHAT?!?!?! You can imagine my distress! What do they mean my cell phone was used to verify another Facebook user? Yes the number was used – but it was used to verify MY account – an account that I’ve had for well over a year, so why is there question of my identity now?
I tried repeatedly to enter my cell phone number… I even tried in vain to use my Skype and Gizmo numbers in order to get a new confirmation code sent. Heck, I even tried my main phone number forwarded to my cell phone, LOL. Apparently Skype and Gizmo can only send SMS messages – not receive them.
Facebook Bugs and Known Problems
This is apparently either a “Bug” or “Known Problem” – see the screenshot below…
Crazy Hair-Brained Scheme #1
At this point I was desperate to secure my username and was willing to try just about anything to get it. So crazy idea #1 hit – if they won’t verify my real cell phone number, I’ll run to the store in the morning, get a cheapie $19 prepaid phone, activate it, then verify my facebook account with the new number.
Cake, right? NOPE!
Apparently Facebook has a limit – you can only request 5 confirmation codes before it cuts you off. It would have been nice if they notified you of this somewhere on the page, so I wouldn’t have wasted codes on numbers that likely weren’t going to work!
So $19 later, I’m faced with this:
Sorry, we have already tried texting 5 codes and they all seem to have failed. Please click here to get help.
Absolutely nothing that I tried at this point worked, and the help files didn’t do much other than tell you to “click here” again to fill out various support forms and bug reports. And trust me, I filled out as many forms as I could!
To make things worse, in searching for help on the issue, I came across many posts on the Facebook forums with complaints of people waiting months without any response from Facebook support.
NOT the reassurance I was hoping for!
Crazy Hair-Brained Scheme #1 = Success! (sort-of)
While this tactic didn’t work for me, because I had already hit the 5 code limit, I am happy to report that it does work for other people!
A good friend of mine experienced the exact same problem that I did – but lucky for her, she hadn’t reached the 5 code limit on the account she was trying to verify.
She unfortunately had to spend $35 on her cheapie pre-paid phone and plan, but it worked! She was successfully able to secure her Facebook fan page username!
Crazy Hair-Brained Scheme #2
My friend was now set, but it seemed that I was completely out of luck. Then it hit me… I remembered that you could add other people as administrators for your fan page.
I had recently setup a Facebook account for my husband – of course, he’s not a techie like me and could care less about the whole vanity URL thing. And as the universe works, since the usernames were not a big deal for him, he was able to verify his account and secure his username without ANY issues whatsoever!
Well, it’s my husband… his account is verified… I trust him completely… so…
What if I named my husband as an admin, and let him pick the fan page username?
Not the perfect situation, but it would certainly secure the name that I so desperately wanted to have.
So, I logged into my account, assigned him as an admin… logged in as him (with his permission, of course)… proceeded to the username page… held my breath and…
Crazy Hair-Brained Scheme #2 = Success!
Yes, this is a crazy work-around – something only a crazy obsessive compulsive personality could come up with, LOL. And of course you would only want to do this with someone that you completely trust your fan page account with.
But it worked! I was able to register my fan page username while logged into his verified account.
I was also a bit worried what would happen if I removed him as an admin, but I’ve since done so, and the username remains in tact.
Few And Far Between?
While it seemed that everyone and their mother were posting their shiny new fan page vanity URL’s, it felt as though I was the only one having problems.
I did see a few tweets of people not being able to verify their account, but I don’t think they went to the lengths that my friend and I did to secure our pages. But, if it happened to at least the two of us – and the mobile number error I received was a “known problem” then I’m sure we were not the only ones.
So, yes, it’s a crazy work-around, but if you run into issues verifying your account and are willing to do whatever it takes to get a username for your fan page – one of these solutions might be right for you!
Smooth Sailing or a Nightmare?
So… did you secure your fan page username? Was it smooth sailing for you, or was it a similar nightmare? I’d love to hear your story, especially if it was a not so fun one like mine!
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