Surprise, AOL Buys Bebo
Word is that Bebo will help AOL expand internationally -- and by "help" we mean Bebo's gonna expand internationally and AOL will point and go, "That's totally US!" This year Bebo plans to breach Spain, the Netherlands, Italy, Germany and France.
Meanwhilst, AOL itself continues to hemorrhage value. Supposedly it's going to shaft half its sales force. Also, ad exec Curt Viebranz just left, and Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes openly admitted they're whoring for an offer. Or in his words, "whatever configuration makes it the strongest and most valuable."
Here are some handy dandy Hitwise stats to hype an already boring story:
o Bebo is 4th in a custom category of 55 social networks, following MySpace and Facebook in February '08. It received 1.15 of all US visits to the category. (Buy hey. WHY WOULD IT have a strong US following?)
o MySpace's share of US visits remains 67 times bigger than Bebo and Facebook's.
o Bebo's share of US visits goes down year after year. Across all categories (US only), it was down 23 percent last week and 22 percent in February.
o Average time spent on Bebo: 30 minutes, 26 seconds. That's slightly more than MySpace (30 minutes, 7 seconds) and Facebook (21 minutes). Hell, we're spending time on Bebo right now. It is prettier and the shows are funnier.
o 22.15 percent of US visits to Bebo last week came from MySpace. Hrm.
o In the UK, Bebo remains the most searched-for brand, ahead of eBay and Facebook.