Friends Reunited – are they losing touch?

There was an interesting piece in The Independent on Saturday about the decline of Friends Reunited, the find-a-schoolfriend website that was once hugely popular but is now apparently something of a has-been.

FR was one of the earliest social networking sites – conceived in July 1999 even before the dot-bomb collapse of many of the early Internet start-ups, and launched in the summer of 2000. Initially a free service, it started charging subscription fees for premium services within its first year but still managed to grow rapidly to a million users and beyond. When ITV bought it in December 2005, it was considered by them to be worth £175 million.

Since then, it’s all turned a bit sour. Other social networking models have started to get in on the act, notably Facebook and MySpace, with a strong emphasis on photo galleries, videos and Twitter-like tweeting and messaging facilities. FR’s decision last March to switch from a subscription revenue model to one based on advertising looks to have come too late to restore its dominant position, certainly among younger users – though it may still have a role for those who prefer a more discreet service to Facebook’s in-your-face approach.

Anyway, The Independent reckons that ITV may decide whether to keep or ditch Friends Reunited next month. We’ll see.

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About Kay McMahon

Kay has been an expat for nearly 30 years. She set up the British Expat website back in early 2000, whilst living in London and missing the expat life. These days she spends much of her time lugging computers and cameras around the world. (Dave gets to deal with all the really heavy stuff.)

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