What is a "Bebo?" Is it a) a new Internet nickname for Justin Bieber (my first guess) or b) a social network you have never heard of as a result of its stint as an AOL property that was sold at an $840 million loss? According to a lot of unexpected weeping on Twitter, it's the second of these two things. The site unceremoniously went dark and left everybody (including the site's original co-founder) confused about what had happened for several hours before a seemingly drunk company spokesman got around to clarifying that the actual problem was, ahem, "a technical clusterfuck."
Largely forgotten social network Bebo may have shut down today.
Bebo users certainly seem to think that this is the end. The Bebo website is down, and as a result there's a steady stream of sad tweets using the "#bebo" and "#ripbebo" hashtags. And if it's a false alarm, the company isn't doing much to combat that impression - the most recent posts on both the Bebo and Team Bebo Twitter accounts date from November.
And then, a little later, the following hilarious update:
Apparently all the online grieving was over a false alarm. A Bebo spokesperson just emailed me to say that the site was down due to "a technical clusterfuck" - it's not actually dead. He also says that the site still has a niche audience, largely in the United Kingdom, and it will be launching more products soon.
The $840 million loss put Bebo in such dismal company as the late Friendster, and Justin Timberlake's MySpace, on which Rupert Murdoch took a bath of approximately half a billion bucks in June 2011 after having "screwed up in every way possible."