Coming as a measure against “plagiarism” of YouTube accounts run by the platform’s stars, Google is allowing the page name to be associated with both a custom link and @name identifier to avoid any confusion. The new functionality is currently in the testing stage and is only available to “VIPs”.
Most online platforms, from Twitter and Facebook to Twitch and Steam, require users to use unique usernames associated with easy-to-understand links for identification and a “handle” through which followers can find the content they are sharing. By contrast, on YouTube you can only control the name of your channel, possibly how its link is personalized. But when searching on YouTube, chances are you will be directed to “ghost” pages that mimic that channel.
Complementing the affiliated name, each YouTube channel will be able to have its own unique link, as well as an identifier of the form @name. The short name you choose will appear on the channel page under your full name and can be used by anyone to reference or access your page. For example, another YouTube creator only needs to use the @name form to indicate exactly which YouTube page they are referring to. In addition, the short name will also act as a kind of hashtag that anyone can find you by in the future. And if you add it to newly posted videos, they will be listed in any search started with the @name phrase. In addition, your office will be able to reference your channel by adding @name to comments.
For now, Google is just testing the new functionality, offering the option only in a small circle of the most successful YouTube channels:
“Because we have billions of channels on YouTube, we can’t push a button and let everyone pick a short name for their managed channel at the same time. Since the @name abbreviations have to be unique and every YouTube channel will have one, we decided to enable this option gradually. When a creator will have access to the selection process depends on a number of factors, including overall YouTube presence, number of subscribers, and whether the channel is active or inactive. Everyone will have the option to select a handle by November 14 at the latest.”
In other words, YouTube stars get first pick of the short name, determined by the number of followers. Ideally, the measure will prevent situations where the shortcuts of famous YouTube channels are claimed by their “clones.” Eventually, everyone will be able to set a @name ID, selecting from the remaining unclaimed unique names.