Bebo (www.bebo.com), Located in San Francisco; with over 40 million registered members viewing billions of pages monthly, it is the largest social networking site in the UK, Ireland, and New Zealand, and the third largest behind MySpace and Facebook in the US. Officially launched in July 2005, received the 2006 Webby Award People’s Vote as the best social networking site in the world.
Our people can boast demonstrated records of success in viral online marketing and social media, having come to us from such companies as Google, Ringo, Tickle, BirthdayAlarm, Friendster, Organic, Yahoo, and MTV.
From its $15M initial round of funding back in early 2006 (from Benchmark Capital) Bebo has enjoyed positive cash flow since day one.
Our recent merger with AOL will bring tremendous opportunity by combining Bebo’s fast growing user base with the social graph of AIM and other assets.
Third place in the U.S.—really?
Depending on the metric, you might make a case for it being #4, but to displace Tagged? Really? Not to mention, completely pissing on the hard work I did there. 😉 Besides this slight isn’t exactly going to make me jump ship from my new job back to my old one—just with a different color scheme.
(In reality, I think the blurb is just outdated since AOL’s recent “merger” with Bebo occurred around the time Tagged hit profitability: 18 months ago. Someone just needs to update things.)
(Okay, I’ll admit my Bebo-bias comes from Bebo being one of the OpenSocial launch partners. Sorry, but I implemented open APIs long before Open Social launched and helped design a key lynch-pin of what makes OpenSocial work, and you shut me out? Damn straight I’m holding a grudge—maybe if you talked to me I could have pointed the mack-truck security hole in the launch.)
I remember the early days of Bebo, mostly because Birthday Alarm was a Plaxo partner back in the day (2003-2005). As near as I can piece together, Birthday Alarm was the main product, and then they built a social network called Ringo which they sold off to Monster via Tickle in 2004, then started to build another social network, Bebo, which was just a better Ringo, and launched almost immediately afterward. In fact, I think at one time both Bebo and Ringo had the same offices.
It boggles the mind.
Then again, it boggles the mind that Ringo would go into morph into a photo sharing site, given they were owned by Monster.com—LinkedIn was just around the corner and Plaxo would have been a force if they ever had thought to get into social networking. That definitely needs to go into the “What were they smoking?” web-based business chapter of a future b-school textbook.
Both times, they seeded the Ringo and Bebo database using their Birthday Alarm users. You could fault them, but in many ways, this is no different from how MySpace started. Not sure if JumpStart did the same with Tagged and hi5, but, if not, they should be faulted for missing that—it has always the case that the rich get richer.
In any case, Ringo and Bebo were some serious paydays. All I can really say is that Plaxo was stupid for missing that gravy train.