The rush to register for a personalised Facebook username saw users of the social networking site registering their preferred names at a rate of 550 per second.

The "virtual land rush" began at just past midnight New York time - which worked out as 5am here in the UK - and it seems within 15 minutes of going live, more than 500,000 user names were assigned.

Larry Yu, a spokesperson for Facebook told Bloomberg about 1 million were registered in the first hour and 3 million names were snapped up in the first 12 hours.

Yu also said that the site was successful in handling the increased traffic, "We saw high traffic, higher than usual traffic. Planning allowed us to handle that traffic well".