Bebo Back From the Ashes? Probably Not.

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It’s a strange thing to see the return of a defunct online property. Sites like Myspace, and now Bebo crop up like the ghosts of social media past. But Bebo’s return isn’t just on some early 2000’s nostalgia list — it’s got apps and everything.

According to Bebo’s current front page, 648,000 users have signed up to get new accounts; a tiny number in social media terms. It’s obvious Bebo won’t instantly become a Facebook killer, nor is its staff planning any such feat. Bebo’s staff is taking things slowly, probably to gauge how much time and money to invest in the re-startup.

Bebo has been working with Monkey Inferno, a tech company funded by Bebo’s founder Michael Birch, to develop three apps to work with and around the Bebo main site. The first app announced is a video messaging app called Blab. It kind of sounds like the bastard child of Snapchat and Vine: short private video messages that are deleted after viewing.

And that’s where doubts start to creep in. Why would anyone go back to Bebo when today’s social networks already offer the same sort of services its touting? Facebook has Messenger, Paper and now WhatsApp in its stable. Google has a social network, email, video and video streaming. Using Bebo at this point would largely be a decision made by a small niche. And it’s not hard to see how an empty social network will be a profitless social network.

If an ephemeral video app and an irreverent video are all that Bebo has to offer, this comeback may be very short lived. Myspace attempted a comeback too, and despite a great deal of press, the site is largely limping along in terms of users. While Myspace rebranded itself as a destination for music lovers to be social, Bebo seems to be rebranding itself as pieces of other social networks.

Comebacks can be devastatingly hard to pull off and Bebo doesn’t look like its getting off on the right foot. Today you can log into Myspace with your Facebook account. And with Bebo you won’t even need to download Blab to receive and send videos. This isn’t an attempted coup, it’s more of meek whispering behind Facebook’s back.

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