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Survey: Bebo has worst downtime out of major social networks

A performance monitoring software company says the youth-oriented social network, popular in the U.K., is the most unavailable out of major social networks.

This post was updated at 8:06 PM PT to add comment from Bebo.

Remember that controversial study awhile back that pegged Facebook as having the worst performance out of major social media sites? Get ready for controversy, because a new one just came out that puts youth-oriented Bebo in the top, er, bottom spot, with Facebook pulling in a rather respectable ranking.

Representatives from Pingdom, a performance monitoring software company, posted a blog entry on Tuesday with the results of a study that monitored how much downtime 14 major social networks experienced between January 1 and February 25. Bebo, which is most popular in the U.K. and Ireland, clocked in a total of 12 hours and 28 minutes of downtime. In second place was Microsoft's Windows Live Spaces, with seven hours and 25 minutes of downtime recorded, and Friendster came in third with six hours even.

"More than 12 hours of downtime in less than two months is a lot, and it could possibly be caused by the new open application platform that Bebo launched in December, allowing third-party developers access to its platform, Facebook-style," the Pingdom blog post read. "It could be putting more strain on Bebo's systems than they anticipated."

Bebo representatives did not outright deny the downtime statistics, choosing instead to highlight the site's recent rapid growth and popularity of its developer platform. "Bebo has hit an all-time high in pageviews, capping off a favorable January, as reported by ComScore," a statement from the company read. "Last week, Bebo broke all previous pageview records and has recently enjoyed record-setting demand for two major initiatives launched at the end of 2007. To date, 400 media partners have joined Bebo's Open Media, and 1,300 applications are now available through Bebo's Open Application Platform. Our system is fully operational."

Pingdom monitors sites by regularly calling them up with automated "pings." "Downtime" is defined as when a site is unavailable, produces an error message, or takes more than 30 seconds to load.

Facebook and did comparatively well in the survey, with Facebook reportedly experiencing one hour and 35 minutes of downtime and News Corp.'s MySpace only 25 minutes. But the best performance came from Yahoo 360, more a Web of profiles than a social network proper, which clocked in only five minutes of unavailability.

Messaging site Twitter, whose frequent downtime has become somewhat of a Silicon Valley punchline, was not included in the survey.