For over a year now, Facebook users have been able to choose a custom URL for their profile. Many were enthusiastic to shed the digits that were, by some Orwellian process, assigned to them when they signed up. Now you’ll see any number of things in the address bar while visiting a friend’s profile, some were lucky enough to grab their own names when the feature became available. Now Facebook has begun offering users their very own @facebook.com email address on a “by invitation” basis. This is not just normal, plain old-fashioned email either; Mark Zuckerberg promises a seamless “messaging experience” where email is but “one part of it”.
Early adopters of Google’s Gmail will remember its initial beta release and the overwhelming interest it generated in tech fans looking to score that perfect username before someone else did. Like Facebook’s current email address release, Gmail was initially a by invitation only service. Blogs and forums across the web were flooded by posts with titles like “Does anyone have a spare Gmail invite?” and “How do I get an invitation to Google mail?” Websites such as GmailSwap began popping up where early Gmail users traded their invites for goods and services while others simply sold them on eBay for cash.
It is too soon to tell if interest in acquiring a Facebook email address invite will reach the same levels as it did for Gmail, but there are an ever-increasing number of Facebook users signing up to get an invite through the Facebook Messages page, which can be accessed here. Even if you are still unsure of whether you want to start using an @facebook.com address, it might be worthwhile to reserve a good one while you still can because a “[email protected]” address isn’t nearly as cool as “[email protected]”