So much for Bebo as the social network spine of AOL (NYSE: TWX). It didn’t take new Chairman and CEO Tim Armstrong long to figure out that the much-vaunted integration of Bebo with AOL’s AIM, ICQ and other elements wasn’t working — and to start unwinding the People Networks group. But Armstrong isn’t ready to dump the costly social network either. Instead, Armstrong told paidContent, in an interview marking the end of his first 100 days, that he wants to give Bebo space to breathe inside new unit AOL Ventures. (AOL later confirmed that the unit is headed by former Patch CEO Jon Brod.) Armstrong explains in the edited excerpts that follow. (More of the interview can be found on paidContent.org and at mocoNews.net)
Staci D. Kramer: Do you plan to continue things like the lifestreaming efforts, the direction the home page was headed in?
Tim Armstrong: When I came in here, the strategy was People Networks, Media Glow and Platform-A. I think after being here 100 days and listening internally and externally, that our strategy has changed a little bit on the People Networks front. We’re not combining instant messaging with social networking right now, which was actually happening when I got here. We’ve sort of unwound that because it wasn’t successful for consumers. We’re looking at communications as more of e-mail, IM and SMS. On the content front, Media Glow is a core aspect of what we