Facebook is rolling out another new feature that some people might actually want to pay for. But naturally, it’s not charging. Another missed revenue opportunity.
Specifically, Facebook will start distributing vanity user URLs this Saturday at 12:01 a.m. ET. That is, instead of being facebook.com/ profile.php?id=49304583045308, you’ll be able to send around a URL like facebook.com/coolguy.
Facebook will not charge for this feature. But it could! Given how many people spend money on virtual gifts on Facebook (and domain names), we think that millions of Facebook’s users might spend something like $5 — or even $5 a year — for this sort of feature. (Certainly companies and self-promoting users.)
It doesn’t surprise us that Facebook isn’t charging for vanity URLs. It seems like the company is against charging for almost anything, and will happily pass up revenue opportunities left and right. Perhaps long-term that’s a good thing — it keeps the site simple, makes it easier for people to promote their Facebook profiles, and lets Facebook Inc. make bigger bets on potential home runs.
But that’s still some money down the drain. Even if only 5 million people sign up for a $5 vanity name, that’s $25 million in sales — or perhaps another 200-250 employees’ salaries.