When Bebo founder Michael Birch paid $1 million to buy back the social network he sold to AOL in 2008 for $850 million, skeptics rolled their eyes. But Birch has big plans for Bebo, which was more famous for its ridiculous quizzes and juvenile whiteboard drawings than serious social networking. Birch hints at a new level of sophistication in a YouTube video announcing the network's relaunch. (Warning: We think this video is hilarious, but you might find it mildly offensive...or maybe even NSFW).
Bebo was famous for fun and games, like silly quizzes, skins you could use to customize the look of your profile, and the whiteboard Birch references in his video. The new Bebo won't have any of those things, but it might be better. And it will have to be.
Birch and his wife Xochi founded Bebo in 2005, and it grew to rival MySpace with more than 40 million users. But AOL didn't invest the resources Bebo needed to make it competitive with Facebook and Twitter, and so the site was left to languish until the Birches bought it on July 1.
"Will it work?" Michael Birch asks in the relaunch video. "Who knows? But one thing's for certain: It'll be fun trying."
Old-school Bebo users will be able to download their archives in a few months, and new users can RSVP for an invitation to the new network when it launches. The network is also soliciting feedback from users about what the new site should look like, features it should offer, etc.