SImitation is the sincerest form of getting rich. MySpace got bought early, on the cheap; Facebook has yet to cash out. Michael and Xochi Birch's sale of Bebo, a social network more popular overseas than in the U.S., to AOL for $850 million has been the best social-network cashout to date. And how did they manage it? Shamelessly copying other sites, Xochi Birch admits to the BBC.Ringo, their first social site, was an unabashed copy of Friendster. The husband-and-wife team sold that off to Monster, the job-listings site, for a pittance — but a pittance that provided the seed funding for Bebo, which Xochi openly says was inspired by MySpace. Copy early, copy often, sell out. (Photo by Auren Hoffman)
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