When Facebook announced that it will copy MySpace and allow custom names of profiles, we wondered will Facebook be fair and actually enable people with real names to get their names reserved, or will they actually screw the pooch?
The answer unfortunately, is the latter. Facebook decided to cheat, yes – that’s the word – cheat on their self-imposed rules and regulations. A colleague of ours, Will Smith – editor-in-chief of Maximum PC got robbed of his chance to register his name as facebook.com/WillSmith, but the "honor" went to a fan page for Willard Christopher Smith Junior.
One would think than an actor proud of his heritage would actually start to push for his name credentials as he grew older, but we were wrong on that. Sorry, Will Smith [the actor], we don’t have anything against you personally, but Facebook openly exploited their own rules and that is something that doesn’t sit well with us.
Will [Editor-in-Chief of Maximum PC], even though you’re not the only Will Smith in the world [named Will Smith, that is], we feel for you. You didn’t even get the chance to try and register the sub-domain for yourself.
We do understand Facebook – it cannot allow to have all the cyber squatters taking/stealing all the names of celebrities and generate traffic that way, but why insist on those rules when they don’t apply to everyone? It’s not that Facebook didn’t have the power to register all the celeb sub-domains at 00h00m01sec at the launch of custom name registration. The question here however, is a little bit different and much more problematic that it seems at first. The question is – if you have an identical name that a celebrity took while he was going up the ranks, should you give up your name and your identity because "you have the same name as the other guy"?
Regardless of the name Will Smith, the cases are numerous – Bill Gates, for instance. Personally, I know a Bill – not William – Gates. I also happen to know a Michael Jackson. These guys suffer all the possible and impossible jokes on their name, plus gazillion people contact them on social networks asking "for the real guy". It is demeaning and it takes a lot of time to explain that your true name is "bill gates", "michael jackson", "will smith"… and nobody will even give you any credit.