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Bebo Puts Oracle® At The Heart Of Social Networking


Oracle Database 10g: A Driving Force For Web 2.0 Services

San Francisco, Calif. 25-JAN-2007 Social networking website is one of the largest and most successful drivers in the evolution of “Web 2.0” services, the second generation of Internet-based services that emphasize online collaboration and sharing among users. At the heart of this influential website lies Oracle® Database 10g, described by Michael Birch, CEO and co-founder of Bebo, as its “single most important piece of infrastructure.”

Birch has been wedded to the idea of social networking since 2003, when he recognized that it could achieve what portals could not. Birch launched in July 2005, and since then it has grown to become the largest social network in the UK, Ireland and New Zealand. Every day Bebo’s users upload more than 1.2 million photos, which are stored in five formats and managed by an Oracle database. The website currently has over 30 million registered users and turns over five billion page views a month, a figure which is growing at 20 per cent per month. Birch believes that this growth rate will position Bebo to be a market leader in the US within a year. Already, Bebo has been listed as the most searched-for site on Google (at least among those suitable for polite society), ahead of the current US market leader in social networks. Today, Bebo employs 50 people.

When Birch started Bebo, he knew from prior experience with other sites that scalability was a key issue, and that he needed a database that could easily and inexpensively scale as user demands increased. Bebo started with Oracle Database 10g Standard Edition One, which made it cost-effective to get up and running. Since then it has scaled up to Enterprise Edition on SUSE Linux so it could spread the load across additional processors. Currently, is deployed on two database servers, and it will be moving to three shortly. Eventually Birch sees the site being deployed across four or five database servers.

Reliability was also an important factor. “Oracle Database is stable, and that’s critical for us,” says Birch. “The website has to be up and running all the time, so therefore the database has to be up and running all the time also - everything depends on the database. Oracle’s product is also cost effective because, through features such as index-optimized table capability, it uses hardware efficiently. Not only is overall performance greatly improved, but also a cost benefit analysis shows that I can make great hardware savings by using Oracle Database. Also, our database has to be integrated with our Java applications, so we can take advantage of Oracle’s JDBC drivers to integrate everything. With Oracle, such interoperability is very straightforward.”

“We use Oracle Database because it’s the better product, faster and with better features,” says Birch. “Scalability has also been important for us right from the start. Other social networking sites have run into major problems because of scalability issues, and I am confident that Oracle Database will enable Bebo to sustain the levels of growth necessary to take it where I want it to go - to market leadership and a major role in the evolution of Web 2.0.”

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Bebo is the next generation social network that enables college, school students and alumni to stay in touch with their friends, find long lost friends and meet new people. Officially launched in July 2005, in just over a year, the San Francisco based social network has more than 30 million registered members viewing more than 5 billion monthly page views. According to third party sources such as Nielsen, Hitwise and Media Metrix, Bebo is the largest social networking site in the UK, Ireland, and New Zealand.

Recent Comscore numbers rank Bebo as the third most popular social network in the US, based on uniques and pageviews, and show Bebo to have the highest engagement with 720 pageviews per unique user in August. Bebo is also considered the most ’sticky’ social network as shown by data released in August by Media Metrix:

Total Minutes | Average Minutes per Usage Day | Average Minutes per Visitor
MySpace_US: 10,537,000,000 | 21.8 | 188.9
Facebook_US: 1,973,000,000 | 17.1 | 133.5
Bebo_US: 561,000,000 | 38.4 | 230.1

Bebo continues to grow rapidly in its other core markets and is currently the second and third most popular site in Australia and Canada respectively.

It also secured the coveted ’People’s Voice’ Award at the 10th Annual Webby Awards for ’Best Social Networking Web Site of 2006’.

For more information about Bebo, visit our Web site at


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