As TechCrunch discovered today, Twitter is now showing a sample of matching usernames/accounts for name-based queries on Twitter.com.
A search for matt mcgee (without the @ symbol) now shows my account and the names of two others above the tweets that match the search query. There’s also a small link to view a more complete set of name search results.
If you’re a celebrity, this should mean a big increase in followers who can now find your account more quickly. But, as TechCrunch rightly points out, this name-based search will also surface many fake accounts that trade on the name of celebrities and other well-known figures. There’s no indication, for example, in the screenshot below that none of the results for bono are actually the U2 singer (who, tech luddite that he is, doesn’t have a Twitter account), nor that the middle match is an impostor.
It also potentially opens the door to more Twitter spam. Some users may take this as invitation to create new accounts, or change their existing accounts, to include popular keywords that might attract a lot of Twitter searches.
ReadWriteWeb suggests that this might be the start of another Twitter ad opportunity — bidding to have your account show up on name-based searches.
There’s more discussion on Techmeme.