He called it Bebo, a name he chose because it was short, snappy and utterly nonsensical (like Google and Yahoo) so that users could project their own meaning onto it, well worth the ,000 the domain cost.Later he tuned it into an acronym for “Blog Early, Blog Often.” He put the link up on Birthday Alarm, seeding it with just a few members, and it "went ridiculously viral," so much so he took the link down after 7 days. One million people signed up, 300,000 of them on day nine alone.While he’s often viewed as a ponytailed Brit who came out of nowhere to hit pay dirt, the man paid his dues.The first three startups he launched after toiling for six years in London for an insurance company, failed miserably.It also relied on email notifications, but spam was a growing irritation, and people became less likely to respond to clickable entreaties. Birch and his wife tried a babysitting business they thought would be inherently viral because parents of young children tend to know one another. With money from remortgaging their house running low, Birch partnered with his brothers on startup number three, a decidedly non-viral business: online family wills.Birch coded a plugin for Outlook, Microsoft’s email program, which pushed the viral coefficient to .7, but that wasn’t good enough. Borne less of passion than desperation, he wasn’t surprised when it, too, floundered.The site generated revenue from banner ads through advertising networks that took a 30-percent cut, and the Birches added e-cards, since it was natural that users would want to send greetings to their friends.
This pushed the viral coefficient above 1.0, with 10,000 people a day joining.
Initially he had plastered the site with privacy notices (promising not to sell users' emails, etc.) but found it slowed page load times.
Faster downloading led to an up-tick in virality and no one complained about the missing privacy notices. In fact, the rule seemed to be the simpler he made things, the more viral the site became.
This gave him ample time to continue experimenting.
He returned to his very first idea—a self-updating address book, applying everything he had learned along the way.