Today’s announcement of Benchmark Capital’s £8 million investment in student networking site Bebo marks the start of the teen social networking turf wars.
Given the fickle nature of youth surfers it will be interesting to see how the social networking landscape will change in the coming 12 months. MySpace is certainly not the best piece of social software on the block, so perhaps with additional working capital in the bank Bebo will be able to carry on chipping away at their user-base and come out on top.
The key thing about Social software is that the “social” people bit is a thousand times more important than the “software” techy bit. People use these sites because their mates and people like them hang out in these virtual spaces.
Bebo have a lead on MySpace in this respect in that Bebo is based around Student and School networks (a bit like Friends Reunited), so their social networks already exist and are fairly easy to market to in a targeted way. If Bebo spend their money developing their software functionality, as well as marketing into schools then MySpace definitely has a problem on its hands.