Internet dinosaur AOL has bought social networking site Bebo for $850 millon. Now I suspect some of you who read this site may have even heard of Bebo, and that can only mean one thing, AOL is now a social networking playa! Personally, I find I just don’t get enough social networking through MySpace, Facebook and Virb, and in fact, a fourth social networking opportunity is just what I have been looking for. But, in all honesty, they say Bebo is big internationally, like Michael Jackson and Hello Kitty.
AOL has made it clear that buying Bebo is a move geared toward international growth, as the youth-oriented social network is wildly popular in the U.K., Ireland, and New Zealand. AOL reported that it has launched “17 international web sites over the last year and has plans to expand to 30 countries outside the U.S. by the end of 2008,” as well as international versions of its home page and some services. Bebo, meanwhile, plans to launch five localized versions of its service this year (France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the Netherlands), and AOL will make it a major part of the company’s international expansion strategy. [CNET.com]
PS Remember MySpace sold for $580 million.