Bebo lets people reserve usernames as it gets closer to relaunching social media service

The site prompted excitement earlier this year when a message appeared on its old web page indicating that it was coming back.

But it gave little information about what that comeback might look like, who was behind it, or when it might be happening.

Now the site has been updated with new information explaining more about the comeback.

It explains that the site is an entirely new project and that – beyond the name and web address – the old information has been lost. “All the original accounts are long gone (probably for the better, though sorry for the old photos!),” the updated page reads.

An “about” page claims that the site is being relaunched by its original founders. Bebo was first launched in 2005, became the biggest social network in the UK, Ireland and New Zealand, before progressing through a number of owners and gradually declining in users.

The website also indicates that the site is intended to recreate some of the design of the original Bebo, and the profile-focused design that was present not just in the first version of the site but in others like Bebo. It aims to join that with the newer design of feeds that is present in everything from Instagram to Twitter, it notes.

“It has been 15 years since the original Bebo was conceived, and over 12 years since it was last a vibrant community. Although there are nods to the original Bebo we are not trying to recreate it as was. This is an experiment to re-imagine what a social network can be today – which is a far more fun thing to do,” a message on the page reads.

“The first generation of social networking sites had meaningful profiles. They were fun. A place you would visit, hang out, interact. They were largely replaced by newsfeeds. The new Bebo marries these two concepts together.

“Profiles are central again. Feeds are used to draw attention to some ch-ch-changes, but the fun is exploring from profile to profile, friend to friend.”

It is currently in a closed beta, and people can only actually see the site if they are invited by somebody who is already using it.

But before it goes properly live, Bebo is giving people the option to reserve their username to make sure it is claimed when they get there.

Smallprint on the page to reserve a username tells users not to take handles that might obviously belong to other people, and suggests that they could be taken off people who do not have proof they should own them.

“Please do not reserve trademarked names or squat on other’s names,” it reads. “Proof of ownersihp [sic] or relevancy may be requested.”