Re: Local shop, for local people
I think Bebo was an excellent example of how the UK is not the place for social networking. I'll give you a short history lesson of social networking...
Many years ago (early 2001) some friends and I started the first ever social networking site - the long forgotten EveryonesConnected.com - well before MySpace, Friendster, Bebo, etc. Being based in the UK we found that UK venture capital was too sensible and cautious to invest. The term social networking wasn't even being used and they couldn't see any exit strategy. [Sidenote: Is there one?] Anyone in the US couldn't see past their shores and weren't interested in anything that wasn't physically US-based.
Shortly afterwards the Birches (who ran Birthday Alarm) started Ringo, which I also believe was UK-based. I can't find anything to confirm this so I'm relying on my memory, but I remember that the Birches shut up Ringo, moved to the US and started Bebo. They seemed to immediately get investment and interest. That kind of supported my suspicion that being US-based was essential if you were going to make a financial success of it.