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Bebo: The Other MySpace

Jason Lee Miller
Staff Writer
Published: 2006-05-26

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MySpace.com has been the buzzword on the Internet and in the media since News Corp. bought parent company Intermix last August (and also because of the rampant sexual predation associated with it).
But Bebo.com, another social networking site has lit up the UK and Ireland and is close to matching MySpace's success.

Nielsen//NetRatings, comparing the growth of both sites since News Corp.'s acquisition notes that MySpace and Bebo are now the fifth and sixth biggest brands online in trems of total web pages viewed. In April, MySpace had 2.84 million unique visitors, says Nielsen, compared to Bebo's 2.16 million - a difference of only 680,000.

Together, the two sites are "far outstripping" the member community category as a whole. While other member communities are growing at around 12%, MySpace and Bebo have grown 295% and 162% respectively.

"The six months after News Corp bought MySpace saw them and Bebo leapfrogging each other as the most popular of the member communities that centre on user-generated content. Although the last three months has seen MySpace lead the way, Bebo will be looking to swallow up this lead through the £8m investment and the opening of a London office," said Alex Burmaster, European Internet Analyst at Nielsen//NetRatings.

Burmaster was referring to Bebo's recent reception of around $15 million in venture capital from Benchmark Capital, the venture capital fund behind Irish pay-TV group Setanta.

What's very interesting about the two is that membership often overlaps. 1 in 3 of Bebo's visitors also visited MySpace and 1 in 4 of MySpace's visitors also visited Bebo.

Bebo members tend to stay longer, however, and be more engaged in what is happening. Site members logged an average of 429 page views per person or an average of 1 hour and 52 minutes. MySpace delivers 391 pageviews per person for an average 1 hour 28 minutes.

Part of this may be due to one factors: Bebo is more attractive to teenage girls. Fifty-four percent of Bebo members are under 18, compared to just 31% of MySpace, and 56% percent of Bebo's audience is female, compared to 46% of MySpace.

The younger audience at Bebo is building its loyalty early, as Bebo encourages a high level of interaction with people, especially high schoolers and college students, they already know. While MySpace so far has been a haven for those wanting to meet new people, the members at Bebo tend to stick to classmates and friends they already have.

A recent TechNewsWorld article illustrated that teenagers are flocking to Bebo, as the coolness factor of MySpace wears off. It will be interesting to watch if Bebo can overtake its rival.


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About the Author:
Jason L. Miller is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.

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