I’m a total f**king idiot: a Facebook URL adventure

I’m a pretty smart guy.  I REALLY get the internet business.  I’m also a total f**king idiot.  I think this post will show how both of those characteristics play out to make my life really fun.

Facebook plays an important part of SetJam so within a couple of weeks of starting development, I built our Facebook fan page.  Around that same time, Facebook announced they were enabling “vanity” URLs–that is, allowing people to choose a pretty way they can be reached at Facebook.  To prevent “squatting”, however, they would only allow fan pages with over 10,000 fans to choose their name and would be releasing URLs to fan pages with less than 10,000 fans on Sunday June 28th.  This was going to be the REAL land-grab.

I marked it on my calendar and got back to building our company–smart.  Of course, I somehow set it for the wrong day, so I missed the day–total f**king idiot.  I was so busy on Monday that I never even thought about it.  Then at 3pm on Tuesday I remembered and almost crapped myself.  I immediately went to SetJam‘s fan page editor and couldn’t find anyway to set the URL.  I googled and found the reason why: pages STILL needed at least 100 fans to get a URL!

Now for all you social media mavens out there, you probably think–no big deal, just tweet it out and let the people do their work.  I am no social media maven.  I’m not even social in person!  Nonetheless, my job is to let people know about SetJam, so I wasn’t going to be thwarted.  I squeezed everything I could from my meager social network through Facebook, Twitter, and email.

Due to the AMAZING response of friends, family, and business colleagues we hit 100 fans this morning (about 12 hours after the original request).  So what do I find when I go to select my URL?  Well, I was torn.  The part of me that knows that SetJam is going to be great, just wanted to choose “SetJam”.  The part of me that knows that no matter how great it is, if no one ever finds it, it won’t be great for long wanted me to choose a more Google friendly term.

So what does Google think?  I’d done the research weeks before and these are the stats I was using:

google analytics

Pretty easy decision.  I was going to go for online.tv (FB only allows alphanumerics and “.”).  I type it in–taken.  Watch.tv–taken, internet.tv–taken, web.tv–taken.  This makes me sad–not entirely unexpected–but I’m still a little sad.  My first thought is that the big media companies and well-funded startups I’m competing against snagged the good URLs instantly.  My first thought was wrong.  Not only hadn’t they gotten these URLs, almost NONE of them had even bothered to get a URL yet!  Score one for the entrepreneurs.

In fact all of these URLs were taken by individuals who were squatting on them for no reason.  So much for FB’s attempt to prevent squatting.  Interesting, but what do I do?  My reaction–find something better.  I went back to Google and began doing a broader and more rigorous search.  This is a truncated view of what I came up with:

Picture 11

I like to think that at SetJam we “make online TV easy“.  The fact is that we make watching Movies and TV shows easy (and after beta will be adding music, news, sports, and other live events).  And I’m never one to argue with the people.  AMAZINGLY http://facebook.com/online.movies was available.  Happy ending right?  Check this out.

When I get to the above sentence when I’m writing this post, I go to check what I set SetJam’s permanent URL to (emphasis PERMANENT!), just to double check… because I’m a really meticulous guy.  SetJam is NOT at “online.movies” (in fact it’s still available if you want it for your page).  Somehow in my dyslexic frenenticism, I set the page to movies.online.  Huge mistake?–probably not.  Will it affect SetJam’s success or survival?–not at all.  In fact the whole URL issue is just a blip on my marketing radar.  Does this prove categorically that I am a total f**king idiot?–in SO many ways!

  • http://eastriverbaby.blogspot.com Jessica Lowe

    Its not even a binary! So sad.