THE GUARDIAN -- June 18 -- Michael Birch's (Bebo Founder) original internet plans were aimed at an older age group - thirtysomethings - but he soon learnt that social networking online depends on finding a focus based on more than age - a classroom, for instance, or a particular hobby. Teenagers are always the early adopters online because they have more time on their hands and less money - and social networks are free.' Bebo spread entirely by word of mouth in schools and colleges, to the point where his site now has 100 million page views every day. Bebo is just a refinement of Ringo, which Birch built in 2003 and sold not long after it reached 400,000 members. That grew out of BirthdayAlarm.com, a successful birthday reminder service using eCards that currently has 40 million users. The real reason Bebo has taken off so fast is because it can be mastered by a 12-year-old. Birch believes we are only at the beginning of things. Social networking sites 'are becoming much more of a utility over time rather than being a pure gimmick', he told the website Online Personals Watch. FULL ARTICLE@ THE GUARDIAN
Mark Brooks: The trick to starting a successful social network is... 1. target an active hive of users 2. get the initial userbase seeding right 3. get the site product mix right. There will be more successful, targeted social networks in the future. There's still space in the market.