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We’ve written about the Flock social browser a good number of times here at CN including the launch of the 2.0 version. Tonight’s launch of the Flock 2.5 release builds upon the “socialness” of the previous releases.
What I found most interesting in the new Flock release is the ability to drag-and-drop items from one network to another. If you want to share a photo from Flickr to your friends on Twitter, you can just drag the photo to the Twitter window and a message will be created with a link to the image. The Twitter integration continues with the ability to save searches into a sidebar for each viewing. It’s almost as if Flock has integrated a mini-desktop app (e.g. tweetdeck) with the full browser functionality.
The new “Flockcast” functionality is also a great addition. Flockcast allows you to broadcast your items to multiple networks. If you share a Flickr photo, you can select to share the item to Facebook as well. Flock says this can also help bloggers because content uploaded to a blog via Flock can be broadcast to multiple networks at once using the Flockcast option.
Flock has also announced that it has integrated Bebo into the browser. Flock self-reports that the browser is used in over 14,000 cities and over 192 countries and territories.
Lastly the new Flock browser has integrated Facebook chat so you can converse with your Facebook friends directly from the browser. The drag-and-drop functionality I noted above is also available with the Facebook chat option.
The updates should be well received by loyal Flock users as they increase the ability to share content along with usability improvements that should increase overall usage.
Chris Nuttall at the Financial Times has commentary from CEO Shawn Hardin.
After the major launch of “Where It’s At” yesterday, today AOL has announced the launch of the AOL portal to the UK market. Last month we wondered why AOL pushed their big acquisition of Bebo aside to pimp Facebook and Twitter. The good news is that it seems Bebo is one of the top four being pushed in the UK version of the portal service.
It appears in the UK users prefer different types of content than we do here in the U.S. Here are some of the differences between the UK and US AOL portal sites:
UK version of My Stuff – shows Horoscopes over AOL Radio – all other items are the same
UK version of My Networks – here we see the UK version pushing Bebo over AIM and also pushes Twitter to slot 4 while the US version pimps Twitter first (which is a huge mistake) and doesn’t even list Bebo in the top 4.
The content and stories on the UK version appear to be UK-based which is a good thing.
A year ago AOL acquired social networking service Bebo for $850 million. It was one of the biggest acquisitions of the year. I haven’t heard much from Bebo since the acquisition.
This morning I was on aol.com (yes I use AOL) and noticed a large full width banner that reads, “Tweet Tweet! Got a Twitter account? Keep up with your tweets at AOL.com!”
AOL allows you to pull in a variety of other services including Yahoo Mail, Gmail, Facebook and MySpace. Bebo is still listed in the My Networks panel but to see it, you need to scroll over to the right. In the premier slot is Twitter – you need to provide AOL with your username and password to access your Twitter account via AOL.
It’s shocking that AOL has decided to push its $850 million acquisition on the side for the current media darling. At a minimum they should rework the widget to feature Bebo along with the other networks or push out Facebook or MySpace. Basically AOL is suggesting that Bebo isn’t as important as Twitter, Facebook and MySpace.
Brightcove has announced a number of new strategic distribution partnerships today. The companies involved in the deal are: Bebo, Meebo, RockYou, Slide and Veoh. What this deal means is that customers using the Brighcove Internet TV platform can now also distribute their videos on the above named company platforms.
Here’s how Jeremy Allaire, Brighcove founder describes the deal, "The distribution partnerships announced today will make an exciting array of high-quality, premium video content available to be viewed on Bebo channels, shared through viral widgets from RockYou and Slide on Facebook and MySpace, included in instant messaging activities on Meebo, and viewed in full-screen at Veoh’s Internet Television portal."
They also claim that these new distribution partnerships will reach over 300 million viewers. No mention of overlap between the services. At the end of the day, distribution could mean more viewers but could also work to dilute a video brand. I wrote about this topic last week.
Brightcove has signed a variety of partnerships recently including IAC, Fox and Channel 4 in the U.K.
- In January 2008, Bebo had 22.4 million unique visitors worldwide with visitors averaging more than 3 hours and 30 minutes on the site during the month.
- In February 2008, Bebo had 4.8 million unique U.S. visitors with visitors averaging 1 hour and 40 minutes on the site during the month.
- In January 2008, 60 percent of Bebo’s traffic came from Europe, followed by North America with 22 percent, and Asia-Pacific with 16 percent.
- In January 2008, there were 11.4 million unique visitors from the United Kingdom to Bebo, representing the largest proportion of the site’s worldwide traffic.
_________________________________________________________________________ MySpace, Facebook, Bebo January 2008 vs. January 2007 Total World Age 15+, Home and Work Locations* Source: comScore World Metrix Total Unique Visitors (000) Jan-2007 Jan-2008 % Change Total Internet: Total Audience 746,934 824,435 10 MYSPACE.COM 94,769 109,262 15 FACEBOOK.COM 24,840 100,668 305 BEBO.COM 12,741 22,400 76 _________________________________________________________________________ * Excludes traffic from public computers such as Internet cafes or access from mobile phones or PDAs. ________________________________________________________________________ Bebo Regional Visitation January 2008 Total World Age 15+, Home and Work Locations* Source: comScore World Metrix Total Unique Visitors (000) Share of Unique Visitors World-Wide 22,400 100% Europe 13,373 60% North America 4,826 22% Asia Pacific 3,590 16% Middle East – Africa 335 1% Latin America 275 1% ________________________________________________________________________ * Excludes traffic from public computers such as Internet cafes or access from mobile phones or PDAs. ________________________________________________________________________
Below are my live notes from the call discussing the acquisition of Bebo by AOL. This post will remain live until I note that the call has concluded so keep refreshing to see the newest notes — newest content on the top.
9:34 – the call has concluded.
9:33 – question: I am wondering if you have an estimate on when the deal will be complete. Falco – we can only speculate in a short and normal period of time – 30 days or so.
9:31 - question: do we have any financial info? and is there any attempt to build in the U.S.? Falco – there’s plenty of analysts you can source on the multiples, we don’t discuss them, i have to say no comment on that. The U.S. is number 3 is a pretty big deal and why we are so excited about the future opps is the combo and integration of ICQ and AIM with Bebo. There is no other social network that will have that kind of power. Anytime we can prove our case, we get a lot of support for capital into it.
9:30 – question: what do you think Bebo users will think when they hear that they will be supercharged for monetization? Joanna – 2 days ago we launched a new music site and bringing in great content and TW being one of the leading companies we will enhance our value to our users and stay fresh and new.
9:28 – question: what does all of this mean for Yahoo? Joanna – we clearly can’t comment
9:26 – question: when will Bebo in other languages? Google has 5% of AOL today did you speak to Google to close the deal with Bebo? Joanna – we have launched in Poland and into other countries in the next 5-6 months localized versions. Falco – we as good partners will inform Google about this and why it’s such a great acquisition but not a lot of discussion beforehand.
9:24 – question: we’ve seen some resistance by social networking users to advertising. Randy – we spent a lot of time in this area. Our ads won’t disrupt the user experience and Joanna has been a leader in this and it’s one of the reasons we were drawn to this. Joanna – we’ve done a lot of work in the engagement marketing area. We only put one ad per page (allen’s note: let’s watch this after the acquisition closes).
9:20 – question: we are hearing that on first glance that AOL has overpaid. Randy – I think you have to look at our trackrecord and we’ve been prudent in what we’ve paid for past acquisitions. Compares their acquisitions to Google/DoubleClick and Microsoft/aQuantive.
9:19 – question: what does this mean with pre-existing ad deals with yahoo/ms? Joanna – we’ve got a little bit of time before this closes and it’s a bit early to speak about this. We think this deal offers big opportunities for all of our partners. We will be focusing on expansion in 5 new countries in Europe.
9:18 – question: trying to find out more on how you plan to monetize Bebo using platform A. Ron – at the centerpiece will be around the engagement marketing that Bebo pioneered. This is a really new vision for new media and entertainment – basically high engagement.
9:17 – question: what does this mean for the AOL relationship with Time Warner? Falco – I guess the best way to answer that is to say that TW is incredibly supportive for AOL. And now one more time we’ve said strategically we believe this is an important space to be in, they (TW) supported us with a rather big relationship.
9:15 - opening for questions
9:12 - Joanna Shields – it’s a landmark day for Bebo both employees and users. I’ve watched the Web progress into a lucrative advertising platform and the combination will set a new level for the social Web. The future isn’t about delivering more content to more people. She mentions the social graph and things exist on a cultural platform. At Bebo, the real value we’ve created is in the new advertising formats we’ve created. Late last year we launched the open media platform. Open media launched with cbs, mtv and others and now have 400 partners distributing content through Bebo.
9:11 - Grant – mentions "engagement advertising" and we will supercharge the advertising with Platform A.
9:10 – Ron Grant – we are so pleased to have Bebo and Joanna Shields join AOL. This company is really unique and we’ve been talking with Bebo for over five months and are excited about their passion for the space and we share the same vision as they do. They’ve created a unique social media experience and have built a network that lets content creators, users and advertisers connect.
9:09 – Falco – we will be a social media powerhouse. 80 million unduplicated visitors when you count AIM and Bebo. Bebo will be connected to the largest distributed web audience and will circulate traffic from our sites to Bebo and the reverse and have the scale to grow Bebo worldwide. Joanna has impressed me with her vision for the new Web and better ways to connect and develop long-term relationships.
9:07 – Randy Falco – this deal is a "gamechanger" and will help power our strategic priorities across the board. Bebo is the best social media asset out there and has the most engaged audience and has seen great growth since its launch 3 years ago.
9:06 – Trisha Primrose – PR – explains Randy Falco, Ron Grant and Joanna Shields, Bebo President are on the call.
9:05 – Still on hold
9:00 – Hold Music (you’d think in 2008, we might have a selection of music to pick from!)
AOL has announced this morning that they have acquired social networking service Bebo for $850 million in cash. Bebo has 100 employees operating in offices in the UK, San Francisco and Austin, TX. Bebo is the third-largest social networking service in the U.S. behind MySpace and Facebook. For February 2008, Compete shows 3.5 million U.S. visitors to Bebo, 28 million to Facebook and 65 million to MySpace. Techcrunch had the first rumors out about a month ago of someone acquiring Bebo and Eric at VentureBeat had news on Bebo bringing in a bank back in December.
Here are some of the important notes from the conference call:
- Bebo will focus on European expansion into 5 new countries and they are working on localization
- Deal will close in normal time as it has to go thru antitrust in the U.S. (and Europe?)
- 80 million unduplicated visitors when you count ICQ, AIM and Bebo
- Lots of talk on the call about "engagement advertising"
- Discussion about how social networking users don’t care about advertising – they will use the engagement advertising to get past this
What does this mean for AOL? It brings their ad inventory for Platform-A skyrocketing upwards with a youth and young adult demographic. This is a good complement to their current AOL properties which tend to tick a bit further up the age chain. AOL also announced last month the launch of 20+ Web sites in 2008.
Yahoo currently serves ads on Bebo so we will need to see what happens with this relationship. I will attempt to ask this question on the call in 10 minutes. The acquisition also gives AOL an entry point into Facebook and OpenSocial as Bebo supports both platforms.
Bebo claims over 40 million members and is one of the leading social networks in the UK, and is ranked number one in Ireland and New Zealand, and number three in the U.S. Its users are heavily engaged and view an average of 78 pages per usage day. In comparison, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg noted Facebook’s member count at 65 million last week.