Bebo trys to build itself back up
Bebo, the troubled social network that has seen subscriber numbers fall behind Facebook, is hoping to go back to its youthful roots with a new website design.
Bebo website promotion to take on Facebook
Wednesday, April 13th 2011 by Craig Nicholson
Bebo, much like MySpace, has been left trailing by the Facebook juggernaut in recent years. While Mark Zuckerberg’s empire expands to over 600 million subscribers, the youth-oriented Bebo has been left behind.
Now the social network is hoping to go back to its roots with a website promotion, just as MySpace attempted last year. Bebo has redesigned its site, bringing in features akin to those on Facebook which will appeal to younger users. The 110 million subscribers will be able to use emoticons that say Cool, Funny, Sorry or OMG.
These buttons will allow people to express a far greater range of emotions online than Facebook’s “like” function provides for, explained Kevin Bachus, chief product officer for Bebo.
“One of the things that struck me about other social networks is saying thanks to everyone sending condolences on say my mother’s death. Someone saying he “likes” this is limiting and a bit strange,” he told the BBC.
“What we have is a good foundation we intend to build on. This is the first step on the path to express things about emotions and let friends interact.”
Another feature of the redesign reveals Bebo has no plans to directly compete with Facebook, and instead intends to focus on a more niche market. Users will be able to connect to their Bebo account directly from Facebook, although it still wants to attract people who are too young to use the larger network.
Bebo has faced problems since scaling the social media heights to such an extent that AOL paid $850m (£515m) for the company in 2008. Last year it was resold for just $10m (£6m) to private equity firm Criterion Capital Partners.
This latest redesign comes after the site’s founder, Michael Birch, returned as an adviser last year. He has worked with Bebo’s new chief executive Adam Levin on the website promotion.
He explained the philosophy of the new-look social network to the Daily Telegraph: “Bebo is going to be the social network that offers lots of content, games, and just be a place of fun online. That’s what’s missing from the social network space – some fun.”