Back in March, AOL decided to jump on the social media band-wagon and buy a popular social media website, Bebo.com. According to the Bebo website, they are,
“… a social media network where friends share their lives and explore great entertainment.” For AOL, this is a significant purchase and one wonders whether it will pay off and propel AOL into social media heaven. Bebo, in terms of unique visitors to the site in the U.S., ranks far behind competitors MySpace and Facebook. Even in the U.K. where Bebo was the most successful, popularity has been lagging recently which has caused some higher-ups at AOL to get a little concerned.
One huge advantage AOL will have with Bebo is that Bebo already has a popular instant messaging platform. If integrated with AOL’s instant-messaging, the AOL/Bebo partnership would rival the presence of both MySpace and Facebook as they could potentially reach over 100 million unique visitors. This would make it one of the most powerful social networking platforms ever conceived and would make AOL one of the major players in the battle for social media supremacy.
One problem AOL could face with their expansion of their social media presence is with the advertising. The advertising industry is still not fully convinced that social media sites are the way to go and have been very reluctant thus far with their ad spending on sites like MySpace, Facebook and Bebo. One thing is for sure, however, that over time, the mainstream popularity of social media is on an upward trajectory and advertisers would be missing out in a big way if they didn’t pump up the spending.