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U.K.-based social network Bebo is set to roll out ad-supported
widgets - small web applications that users can embed into their
profiles - in an effort to make advertising more relevant to its
members.

Bebo VP of Sales and Business Development Jim
Scheinman calls it "engagement marketing," designed to combine web ads
with user-directed viral marketing, reports AdWeek (via MarketingVox). "To the Beboer, they don't look at it like advertising but great content," he said.

Already, Bebo
allows users to choose from three photo-sharing widgets (for Slide,
Photobucket, and Rockyou). Ad-supported widgets will take many shapes,
like interactive games. The widgets could be classified as branded
utility, a marketing tactic.

Bebo had 1.4 million unique users in November, according to
Nielsen/NetRatings, and is aiming for 30 million by end of 2007. It
currently offers just one ad unit per page, like Facebook.

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ON:Bebo Launches Ad-Supported Widgets via @jpenabickley