When I commented in an earlier post, I didn’t even realise that the number of subscribers was tracked on a daily basis. But according to the Guardian, it turns out that Benchmark Capital (a venture capital fund) must have a large swingometer in their offices.
On Saturday, Bebo had a 12.52% share of the market, taking a lead over MySpace (12.28%).
While Bebo retained a slight lead on Sunday, MySpace accelerated past them into the lead again on Monday. Executives across the social networking industry are probably sitting biting their nails awaiting the arrival of Tuesday’s analysis on their Crackberries.
The one constant is that general trend is upward - more and more people are active in online communities.
But it was only when I did a quick Google that I discovered that Benchmark Capital have a really good reason to micro-track this emerging market, reason enough to make a big publicity splash in the papers to mark Bebo overtaking MySpace for the first time. Something the Guardian didn't mention in yesterday's article.
While News International are pumping money into MySpace, and pushing the investment in a differentiated MySpace UK portal, a certain Benchmark Capital poured US$15 million into Bebo on 22 May – and are obviously keen to see some early growth to derisk their investment.
This follows their earlier attempts to kick start some of the other competitors in the social networking space - Friendster, WeeWorld and Habbo Hotel - none of which are listed in the top 10 online communities and chat sites (listed by share of UK visits) for Saturday 27th.
(1) Bebo (2) Myspace (3) Piczo (4) MSN Spaces (5) Faceparty (6) Friends Reunited UK (7) YouTube (8) hi5 (9) Yahoo! Groups (10) MSN Groups