Youtube is rolling out a new user handles feature for all channels. Handles provide new personalized URLs and will make it easier for users to find and connect with creators.

Handles will be visible on channel homepages, search results, YouTube Shorts, and on comments. They will provide all channels with a new custom URL and double as a YouTube verification badge for smaller channels.

Example of a YouTube handle in YouTube Search Example of a YouTube handle on a YouTube Short

Examples of the new YouTube handles from YouTube.

Custom URLs were available to channels with over 100 subscribers. Handles will not have a subscriber count requirement.

A non-personalized YouTube URL: Example of an old YouTube channel url

A personalized YouTube URL: Example of an old personalized YouTube channel url

The new YouTube handle URL: Example of a YouTube handle channel url

Channels with existing custom URLs will have those URLs reserved for their new handle. The option to create a new custom handle will also be available for everyone.

Handles are limited to 30 characters max and must adhere to YouTube’s Community Guidelines.

YouTube is rolling out the new feature over the next few weeks. Channels will receive a notification and email as soon as handles become available in their region.

If no handle is claimed by November 14, 2022 then one will be automatically applied. The option to change to a customized handle after this date will still remain available.

YouTube is calling this “a new way for people to find you and connect with you” because handles will be unique to each creator.

This hints at another problem that handles could solve which YouTube isn’t outright stating: scam bots and comments.

A growing problem for every popular YouTube channel over the last few years has been the proliferation of lookalike profiles. These are accounts that are created with the same profile picture and a very similar account name to the legitimate creator to fool users.

Usually, this is done by replying to comments on a popular video. The comment will say they’ve won a prize and instructs the user to contact them via WhatsApp or Telegram to claim their gift.

These are usually phishing scams. The scammers are looking to collect as much personal information as possible. They focus on targeting banking or financial service information that will allow them to withdraw funds or take control of financial apps like PayPal or Venmo.

There are verification badges for channels that have over 100,000 subscribers on YouTube, but this has done little to reduce the rising number of scams or victims.

Handles should be a win for YouTube, YouTubers, and viewers alike. It addresses the discoverability challenge for new and smaller channels and makes it easier for users to identify and avoid scams.

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