Creators Buy Back Bebo for a Fraction of the Cost

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One San Francisco couple has bought back their social media site Bebo, for a fraction of what they sold it for with plans to relaunch. 

By Jessica Schimm (Assistant Editor, Women 2.0)

After having sold their social media site for $850 million, the creators of Bebo, Xochi Birch, and Michael Birch, husband and wife, have now bought it back for just $1 million with hopes of relaunching the site.

Bebo, much like Myspace and Facebook, lets users design their own profile, offers games and apps, and spaces to post photos and watch videos. The social site also allows for online shopping and online dating.

The site, which was used by younger teens in Britain to socialize online, was sold to AOL back in 2008 according to The Guardian. The Birches now plan to revamp the site with the help of Monkey Inferno, their San Francisco-based business that acts as an “incubator” for “cool internet projects.

Once sold to AOL, Bebo began to suffer, Venture Beat reports: “Bebo did not live up to its price, and the business was declining. AOL sold it to digital media investors Criterion Capital Partners in 2010…”

“Bebo never gained any real traction, occasionally popping up with announcements of updates and partnerships. It continued to be deadweight, and in April 2012, the minority shareholders (including Michael and his wife, Xochi Birch) filed a $5 million suit against Criterion for “destroying the site ” (because before then, it was doing so great). Then in May,TechCrunch reported that Bebo filed for a Voluntary Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Petition.”

The Chief executive of Monkey Inferno, Shaan Puri, expressed his excitement as relayed by the The Entrepreneur.

“Most people roll their eyes when they think of successful web comebacks because there really aren’t very many… Bebo hasn’t necessarily evolved with the times. But it has a user base of people who have a lot of love for Bebo, and we feel that there is a real opportunity to make Bebo a great product again.”

“We just bought Bebo back for $1m. Can we actually re-invent it? Who knows, but it will be fun trying…” Michael Birch wrote in a tweet on Monday.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE THE FOUNDER, XOCHI, AS THEY RETHINK AND REBUILD BEBO IN THIS NEW HYPER SOCIAL WORLD? 

 

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Jessica Schimm is the assistant editor at Women 2.0. She is a recent graduate of San Francisco State where she earned a B.A. in journalism, and was the social media editor for her college newspaper. She has developed a strong interest in women’s issues and writes about them on her blog Women Who Run San Francisco. In her free time she choreographs numbers for dance class. Follow her on Twitter @JessicaSchimm.

 

Photo credit: cellanr via Flickr.