Ex-Channel 4 boss bets on resurrection for Bebo
Bebo, once the UK's most popular social networking site, is relaunching with a new design and extra features that it hopes will reverse the decline in user numbers.
The website's US owner, which bought it from AOL last year, has tapped new advisers and new investors, including the former BBC One and Channel 4 controller Michael Jackson, to help prepare the revamp. Mr Jackson took a stake believed to be between 5 and 10 per cent.
The new look is being promoted with more than a few sideswipes at Facebook, the social networking leader, which eclipsed Bebo in the UK three years ago. Where Facebook users can show their approval of friends' comments and photos by pressing a "like" button, Bebo's users will have other options, from "cool" to "sorry" to "OMG".
Adam Levin, the California entrepreneur who bought Bebo last June, said: "Like is a very generic word. It may do the job for some sites, but we have a younger user base that expresses themselves with much more descriptive words."
Bebo will also soon start giving users more control over which of their friends appear most often in the "news feed", so they can "dial down" friends whose posts are too frequent or too boring – addressing one of the constant complaints about Facebook.
However, Mr Levin says Bebo no longer sees Facebook as a direct rival, and is making it easier to integrate content from Facebook, Twitter and other services into Bebo.
Bebo's user numbers have collapsed from their peak in 2007, when Facebook was just beginning to make inroads in the UK and MySpace was the biggest social networking site in the world. AOL paid $850m for Bebo in 2008, hoping it could match its UK success in the US market. That did not happen and Bebo user numbers went into reverse in the UK, too. AOL sold it for less than $10m.
Despite an uptick after the sale last year, Bebo has continued to lose users in the UK. According to ComScore, monthly visitor numbers fell from 5.7 million in January 2010 to 1.9 million a year later.
- 1 Woman and two children killed by mob in riots over 'blasphemous' Facebook post in Pakistan
- 2 Christians: The world's most persecuted people
- 3 The secret report that helps Israelis to hide facts
- 4 Danish TV reporter is all business up top, all party down below
- 5 Denmark bans kosher and halal slaughter as minister says ‘animal rights come before religion’
Woman and two children killed by mob in riots over 'blasphemous' Facebook post in Pakistan
Israel-Gaza conflict: The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The missiles were tragically real
Danish TV reporter is all business up top, all party down below
Syria conflict: Syrian and Turkish Kurds unite to battle Isis threat - ‘We shoot them like sheep, but next day double the number return’
Ross Burden dead: MasterChef and Ready Steady Cook star, dies aged 45
The secret report that helps Israelis to hide facts
A day in the life of Vladimir Putin: The dictator in his labyrinth
A new Russian revolution: The cracks are starting to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Were 'Poor Doors' added to mixed developments so wealthy residents don't have to go in alongside social housing tenants?
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
Opponents of Israel's military operation in Gaza are the real enemies of Middle Eastern peace
iJobs Money & Business
Data Governance Manager (Solvency II) – Contract – Up to £450 daily rate, 6 month (may go Permanent)
£350 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently looking...
£500 - £560 per day: Orgtel: Java Developer FX - Banking - London - Up to £560...
£350 - £400 per day + competitive: Orgtel: My client, a leading bank, is curre...
£26000 - £30000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Account Manager - (Produc...