Monday, May 22, 2006

TechCrunch says Bebo Closes $15M in Financing - was Skype a factor?

Michael Arrington just reported that Bebo, a popular European social networking site has just closed 15M in financing. This is big news, but not for the obvious reasons.

Bebo, if you are not aware is essentially a EU version of Myspace/Facebook and is gaining in popularity very quickly by concentrating on a market not saturated by Social networks like NA. But what is most interesting is Bebo (along with Jyve - disclaimer I work with the Jyve guys) was one of the first social networks to fully and completely support Skype for instant messaging and voice chat rather than developing there own proprietary VoIP/Chat piece.

Skype & Bebo
Bebo and Skype have joined forces to offer an integrated IM client and free calls for all Bebo users.

  • Beboers can Call (voice) or Chat (text) directly with other Beboers

  • See when other Beboers are online and available

  • Skype integrates directly into Bebo, for free

I am pretty confident saying that Skype support was a major (allbeit not the only one) factor in their success. Skype is wildly popular in the EU/UK/EMEA due to high telephony costs. This is great news for the Skype ecosystem, funding is available for innovative and leading edge web applications such as Bebo, and EQO. The lesson learned here is a clear shot across the bow of other major Social networking sites - Skype support = users = traffic.

Jyve will be presenting at eBay Live, June 9-14th, drop me a line if attending and I will gladly set up a meeting time with the team.


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