Bebo relaunches with design refresh

Teen social networking site Bebo has relaunched with a homepage refresh and new features in a bid to reverse its decline in users.

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The site was bought in 2008 by AOL for $850m (£417m) but is was sold for just $10m (£6.2m) two years later as it struggled to compete against rivals such as Facebook and failed to provide a return on investment.

Its monthly UK visitors fell to 1.9 million in January 2011 compared to the 5.7 million it was achieving in the same month the previous year, according to comScore.

It was bought by US-based Criterion Capital Partners who have revamped the site with new innovations including “emotion markers” to comment on friends’ news feeds and photos. The “cool”, “funny”, “sorry” and “OMG” markers work in a similar way to the Facebook “like” button.

The site now has customisable profile designs and is making it easier to integrate content from other rival social networks such as Facebook and Twitter into Bebo. Bebo also launched an official Twitter account last week.

Other changes include a drop-down box featuring notifications about recent activity or new messages and a new personal “feed tab” on users’ profiles similar to the feed that appears on the Bebo home page.

However, some users have already flocked to the site to complain about the redesign, with some of the objections appearing automatically on the Bebo’s homepage.

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