Tag Archives: San Francisco

BT luvs Bebo

TechCrunch report: Bebo Shuns $550 Million Acquisition Offer

San Francisco based social network Bebo, which recently raised $15 millionfrom Benchmark Capital, rejected a £300 million ($552 million)acquisition offer from British Telecom Group “a few weeks ago”,according to an insider on the transaction. Bebo’s asking price? North of $1 billion.

Sounds like another big media company trying to pay big money for something they don’t understand? Maybe? But then you read something like this:

Hitwise research shows that users of social networking site Bebo generate more than half of all UK visits to VoIP provider Skype.Visits to Skype from Bebo make up 56% of the VoIP site’s total visits.

From mad.co.uk (appears to be subscription only – although I accessed it earler ?!?): Half of Skype visitors come from Bebo as young users adopt VoIP

If you can’t get in to mad.co.uk you can read about the Hitwise analysis (where I think their figures came from) at: Heather Hopkins – Hitwise UK: Skype, Bebo and Vonage – Why Skype Visits are Through the Roof

Heather says:

Earlier this month, Skype and Bebo announced a partnership to take VOIP social. The partnership allows users to host “Skypecasts” with up to 100 participants on the same call and we have already seen a massive impact on Skype’s traffic. Last week, 58% of visits to Skype came from Bebo

Be interesting to see how much real uptake there is of Skype through this.

Maybe their valuation isn’t so crazy after all…

technorati tags:, , , ,

I Hate Viral(s)

I’ve grown to hate the term viral:

  • I hate the fact that it’s overused.
  • I hate the fact that it’s misused.
  • I hate the fact that ‘viral’ appears as a line on media plans.
  • I hate the fact that people now call them virals. With an (s) as if it’s a genre of film like westerns.
  • I hate the fact that clients can be fobbed off with “if we add a ‘send to a friend’ link to it, that’ll make it viral”. Not all of them. But watch out for it, you can spot it.

star wars kidA wise man (Rei Imamoto from AKQA in San Francisco if you must know) said in a meeting: “Viral is a consequence”. A truer 4 words have I rarely heard spoken.

Of course you can do things that might encourage people to talk about something. Or even send it on to someone else. Or blog about it. Or anything else that ‘spreads it’. But that’s just about making something that’s relevant. Something that I want to share because I love it. Something that ticks the right psychological boxes. It’s not about sex, or shock, or violence, or any other crass ‘too hot for tv’ tactic.

Make something entertaining (sure, it could be stupid, sexy, whatever…), something thought-provoking, something that makes someone’s day in a small way. Just make something good. Your audience are the ones who decide if it’s ‘viral or not’. They’re not dumb carriers of your disease. They’re willing participants in the distribution of your content.

Right, what got me started on this little rant? Oh, that’s it. I saw this: TIME.com: Viral Videos that Swept the Nation. And you know what. They’re right, these are viral videos. Videos that ordinary people have decided are great. I would talk about some of them. Others leave me cold.

But the interesting thing is that only 1 out of 8 of them has any (real) connection to a brand. (I’m not including Star Wars Kid as I don’t think Lucas would have signed that one off).

I’ve changed my mind. In the spirit of positivity I like viral. I like the notion of people sharing great things with each other. As long as we never forget that the audience are the ones who decide what is, or is not, viral.