The Friday Interview: Jim Scheinman,

19 May 2006

Jim Scheinman (pictured) is vice-president of business development and sales at has emerged as a major youth phenomenon, with millions of young people signing up globally. What is the formula driving these numbers?

Bebo has a total of 24 million registered members turning more than two billion monthly page views and this is increasingly rapidly. The formula driving Bebo’s success comes down to a great product that’s easy and fun to use, targeted at school, college and university students. In our active schools and colleges, 85pc of the students visit Bebo every day., along with, and Flickr, is a new generation of web players, entering the game almost a decade after stalwarts like Amazon and Google. How would you sum up the generational differences between the traditional players and a company such as yours?

Amazon is an e-commerce site. Google is a search engine. Yahoo!, AOL and MSN are portal 1.0 companies that are still serving their original functions — pushing news, content and services to their members. Their audiences are, generally speaking, older than Bebo’s demographic. Bebo is about interacting with your friends in a dynamic setting and discovering user-generated content (video, music, blogs); content that as a Beboer you choose to discover.

How does a youth-focused site like police itself in preventing cyber bullying amongst youths?

The issue of online safety is of the utmost importance to Bebo. We take privacy and safety issues very seriously, which is why we were one of the first social networking sites to put up a safety tips link on our homepage and on every single page of the site helping teens and their parents on safety and cyber bullying issues. Further to this, Bebo works with many experts in the field. We have also hired a new chief safety officer who will be working with Bebo going forward.

What impact will the arrival of Web 2.0 have on the internet as a medium and its future?

I believe that Web 2.0 is all about empowering the individual and I feel it has changed the web for ever.

By John Kennedy

Jim Scheinman will be speaking at the Irish Internet Association’s annual congress next Thursday, 25 May, at the Fitzpatrick Castle Hotel in Killiney, Dublin.

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