LAUNCHPAD: Bebo grows up

Michael Birch says he'll 'wipe the slate clean' with Bebo's new incarnation. We'll see.

by Emma Haslett
Last Updated: 14 Aug 2013
You’ve got to hand it to Michael Birch. At least he has a sense of humour.

The Bebo co-founder, who sold the social network to AOL for $850m in 2008 and bought it back for $1m last month, has given more details on what he plans to do with the site. Sort of.

Go to bebo.com now, and you’ll find the original site has disappeared – replaced with a video of Birch himself, explaining what’s happening to it.

‘In 2005 my wife and I launched Bebo,’ Birch begins.

‘As competition with Facebook became fierce, we introduced a new, exciting feature. We called it ‘the whiteboard’ – a creative canvas for unlimited self expression. And Bebo, express yourself you did.’

Then, accompanied by images of a (very slightly) graphic nature: ‘It’s arguable [Bebo became] the single biggest repository of illustrated cock’n’balls ever recorded.’

‘I’m not going to take the moral high ground,’ he adds. ‘I can’t. I drew a couple myself.

‘[But] it’s time to wipe the slate clean. Will it work? Who knows – but one thing’s for certain. It’ll be fun trying.’

Well, quite.

A couple of things worth noting: one, by putting himself as the ‘face’ of Bebo, is Birch aiming it away from its traditional user base?

Back during the brief period that Bebo was A Thing, its users were largely 13 year old girls posting blogs entitled ‘Why I <3 Busted’. By using Birch – a 40-something man – in its video, our inkling is things will be more… grown-up the second time around.

Anyway, we’ll leave you with Birch himself (plus a few friends):



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