Bebo’s gone dark – but it’s not dead!

31 Jan 2012

News of Bebo’s demise appears greatly exaggerated! Technical hitches are understood to be the reason for Bebo going offline last night, which led to outpourings of collective grief on Twitter last night.

Many on Twitter talked knowingly of Bebo’s troubles and sounded sentimental about its demise, using the hashtags #ripbebo and #bebo.

Even co-founder Michael Birch made it sound like Bebo’s death knell had been sounded, tweeting mischievously: “Am super sad that Bebo has actually gone. Some very fun times with very cool people. #RIPbebo – keep sharing that luv!”

However, it turns out that there had been a technical hitch that took the social network offline.

And Birch within hours tweeted: “Hold the press (too late for that), Bebo should be coming back in a matter of hours.”

Nevertheless, the outpourings of grief continue and news articles continue to be written that Bebo is gone. Finito.

Well, it’s not. Although if you visit the site at the time of writing it appears offline.

birch tweets

Birch recently returned to the company he sold to AOL in 2008 for US$850m as strategic adviser. He has also reinvested in the company.

Last year, AOL said it would sell or shut down Bebo because of plummeting traffic, and eventually sold it to Criterion Capital Partners for an undisclosed sum. It has been suggested the sale raised less than US$10m.

Involving direct input from Birch, a new design unveiled in April features the launch of a universal instant messaging platform called BChat.

It also includes a video chat site, integration with Facebook Connect and a new games platform.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years