There are some things that, no matter how hard you knock them down, they just keep coming back, again and again and again. Social media platform bebo is one. Sixteen years after it originally launched, it’s making a comeback in February, and this time it means business…
In case you have no clue what we’re on about, here’s a history lesson: Bebo was the brainchild of husband and wife Michael and Xochi Birch, who sprang it on an unsuspecting internet public in January 2005. The snappy little name was an acronym for “blog early, blog often” and it was soon a smash in the UK and Ireland.
As it reached around 80 million users in 2008, the Birch’s sold it to AOL for a cool $850 million (did they get it in tens and twenties, we wonder?) and scampered off into the sunset, a pair of happy bunnies.
Unfortunately, AOL’s timing was a bit rubbish, as their purchase coincided with the spectacular rise of a then-rather insignificant firm called Facebook… While the story of that platform is history, Bebo’s was still being written.
AOL flogged it to Criterion Capital Partners for a paltry $10 million, and in 2013, Bebo filed for bankruptcy. Cue the Birches, riding in like shining knights, snapped up their damsel-in-distress company for a single dollar (a bargain if ever we saw one) and launched it again under the snappy tagline: “Probably Not for Boring People”.
But, Bebo still couldn’t make the grade against the likes of Facebook and Twitter, so it turned to streaming software and then to esports tournaments, before being bought by Amazon’s Twitch in 2019 for $25 million and was switched off not long after.
But now it’s back in private beta and safely in the hands of the Birches – though if you do have an old account and you manage to get an invitation to take a snoop around, there’s no point looking for it, as everything’s been deleted.
Understandably, the online world was abuzz at the news, and it will be interesting to see how this version of Bebo fares in the growing social media pond that’s already packed some with big fish… We’ll keep an eye on it and let you know.
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