Bebo, once one of Facebook’s biggest rivals and home to the “Yoof” generation of social networkers has been purchased today for a measly $1 million by one of its original founders, Micheal Birch. This happens three years after AOL sold the company to Criterion Capital Partners (CCP) in 2011 for just $10 Million.
But the most surprising part of this story is the fact that Bebo was originally bought from Birch in 2008 by AOL for a whopping $850 million, which sees the sale and re-purchase of his own site netting Birch a massive $849 million loss.
British-born Birch originally set up the social networking site in 2005 which saw a massive increase in users in its early years, and even competed with Facebook in the dawn of social networking. Bebo was widely known amongst the internet savvy to be the place for the teen (and dare we say ‘tween’) generation to mingle, whereas at the time Facebook was aimed at the Uni students plus age bracket.
Birch announced that he had bought back the website via his Twitter feed;
“We just bought Bebo back for $1m. Can we actually re-invent it? Who knows, but it will be fun trying…”
At the point that Bebo was sold it had 40 million members online which is what AOL was looking to harness, as at the time Bebo came third to Facebook and MySpace. But since then the site has seen a drastic decline in users and has been pretty much abandoned by users and the internet in general.
The same happened to MySpace but after a recent re-launch the site is still struggling to get a grip on its new user base, so the re-purchase of Bebo by Birch is likely to be seen as a gamble. On the other hand, with just $1 Million spent it could pay off for the successful Brit.