In a somewhat surprising move, AOL has shelled out $850 million dollars to acquire social networking site Bebo. If you add Bebo's 40 million users worldwide to AOL's customer base for AIM and ICQ, AOL can now boast 80 million unique users. And AOL can show those 80 million users advertising while they're on their service. I imagine it's a little gloomy at both Facebook and Google this morning.
“Bebo is the perfect complement to AOL’s personal communications network and puts us in a leading position in social media,” said Randy Falco, Chairman and CEO, AOL. “What drew us to Bebo was its substantial and fast-growing worldwide user-base, its vision of a truly social web, and the monetization opportunities that leverage Platform-A across our combined global audience. This positions us to offer advertisers even greater reach and marketers significant insights into the desires and needs of consumers.”
In a perfect synergy, Bebo users can now inadvertently invite a bunch of strangers over to their house to trash the place by announcing it on their page when their parents are away, and their parents can complain about the mess their kids made through their AOL accounts when they get home.