Like many, I logged on to Facebook at midnight Friday night/Saturday morning to grab my chosen Facebook URL and to reserve some vanity URLs for clients as a way of protecting their brands.  I wasn’t alone – within 24 hours of the launch more than 3 million vanity URLs had been claimed

Over the weekend, I entertained myself by typing in some interesting Facebook URLs to see who had reserved them.  That led to me typing in and to see if both parties had claimed their brand on Facebook.  As you’ll see if you click through, the DNC has claimed /democrats while the RNC does not yet control /republicans

This was baffling to me, as I can’t imagine anyone in the tech space not knowing about the vanity URL land grab, and I knew the RNC had a larger following on Facebook than the DNC (84,000 to 43,000, after looking it up).  So what’s going on?

I looked at it further this morning and solved this great mystery.  It turns out the RNC has invested their resources in building a group instead of a page.  Groups are not eligible for vanity URLs at this point. 

I’m sure the RNC made the decision to create a group instead of a page long ago, when it was unclear what the best practice was for companies and organizations.  Facebook launched new page functionality in February of 2009, and only at that point did it become clear that pages were the way to go.  The key advantage of pages over groups  is that as a page admin you can create status updates like regular users, which then appear in your fans news feeds.  If you are the RNC, these status updates can be a really powerful way to drive action.  With the launch of vanity URLs, the case for pages over groups is now even stronger.

This is sort of a bummer if you are the RNC.  They have outperformed the DNC on Facebook, but are handicapped by their decision to create a group instead of a page.  They have probably gone too far down the group path to switch at this point.  If I were them, I’d want a do over.

About the Author
Todd Zeigler
Todd Zeigler serves as the Brick Factory’s chief strategist and oversees the operations of the firm. In his sixteen year career in digital, he has planned and implemented campaigns for clients including the Pickens Plan, International Youth Foundation, Panthera, Edison Electric Institute, and the American Chemistry Council. Todd develops ambitious online advocacy programs, manages crises, implements online marketing strategies, and develops custom applications and software. He is bad at golf though.