Adam Levin

What's next for Bebo

September 15, 2010: 2:29 PM ET

AOL sold it for 1/85th what it paid for it. Now it's got new leaders who seem to be sure of only one thing: AOL is to blame for all their troubles.

From left: Bebo CEO Adam Levin, Chief Products Officer Kevin Bachus

One day you're in, and the next, you're out.

At least that's how social media works. The Facebook of today invariably becomes another Friendster, a faded A-list property whose best days are behind it. But what about the rising stars who never fulfill their potential? At least one, Bebo, now under new ownership and with a management team of tech veterans, is hoping that redemption is still possible in this world.

When AOL (AOL), then a division of Time Warner (TWX), snatched up Bebo in 2008 for a shocking $850 million, the social landscape remained somewhat fluid: MySpace was king of the hill -- though Facebook would surpass it in April of that year -- Twitter was still taking off, and a crop of networks like hi5 and Tagged held promise. At the time, Bebo was the second largest social network in the UK, which goes a ways to explaining why AOL was willing to spend so much cash (about half of Time Warner's total cash holdings in the first quarter of that year) to buy it. More

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