Popular in: Britain
Founded by a British-American couple living in San Francisco in 2005, Bebo, which stands for "Blog Early, Blog Often" tried to position itself as a less crass, more creative alternative to MySpace and Facebook, with tight privacy controls and quirky features such as allowing users to draw pictures on each other's profiles.
In the United States, the site is best known for what has been called "one of the worst deals ever made in the dotcom era" -- its $850 million purchase by AOL in 2008. It was sold to a private equity firm for a fraction of that price two years later. (Of course, the sale was later eclipsed by even more dubious business decisions by AOL.)
But Bebo really hit its stride the British Isles. It was, for a time, Britain's most popular social networking service and the most popular website of any kind in Ireland. But since its peak in 2007, Bebo has been trounced by Facebook, falling to .2 percent of British web traffic in 2010 compared to Facebook's 6.2 percent.
On Jan. 30, 2012, the Bebo website went down -- prompting users to speculate that the site had finally met its demise, with many taking to Twitter, ironically, to share memories of the site. It's back up now, with a spokeperson blaming the outage on a "technical clusterfuck" and promising new products launched at its niche audience in Britain soon.