Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The last days of Bebo?

Not too long ago Bebo was the bright and shining star in the Irish social media firmament. They trilled loudly about having a million plus accounts, back when Facebook had considerably less than half that. But the worm hasn't just turned. It's fallen into a vat of toxic chemicals, emerged with super Bebo-munching hunger pangs and has just devoured the kids' favourite. Meanwhile school buses packed with migrating teens have been pulling up outside Facebook High in an endless stream. The glitzy shimmer of your own designer skin is suddenly old-skool, and the nu-skool uniform of anaemic fb blue seems to be all that the kids want. Jesus, is this a Heathers moment or what?

I don't think that the kids have just graduated because of the colour scheme somehow. You'd have to give some credit to Zuckerberg's minions for getting the functionality of Facebook to a level where the yoot would want to go there, despite the fact that it looks like corporate fascist design of the most boring kind. Whatever the motivation, be it functionality, peer pressure or both (or perhaps just a superior product), the roll call has been taken and not too many are still hanging around the Bebo gym. (Ok, I've been waiting for someone to call me out on the piss-thin schoolyard metaphor for two long paragraphs and nobody has, so I'm just going to have to shoot my own damn self. Why oh why did nobody shout Stop?)

Daily unique visitors to Bebo Ireland (source Google)

And to Facebook Ireland (source Google)

Google's impassive adplanner analytics paint the sobering story. Barely 30,000 hits shows a plummet of over 200% since January '09. Last month saw the departure of Philip McCartney, Bebo's head of sales in Ireland. It highlights the fickle nature of the younger target market, and the dangerous dustbowl that social media spaces can quickly become. Not that Facebook will be caring too much right now.

Bearing in mind that Ireland was the Golden Child for the platform, it wouldn't fill me with confidence today to be an AOL shareholder. The American mammoth bought Bebo last year for $850 million and despite a hefty redesign early this year it's been tanking steadily since.

Advertisers take note: when you're hot you're hot. Bebo no longer is.

1 comment:

  1. That is quite an amazing stat (down 200%) and has actually inspired a few thoughts in me about the younger generation of today.

    Longevity doesn't seem to be something they allow to happen.