Friends Reunited

The ghost of social networks past

Friendster, Bebo, Tribe, Vox—we’ve missed you of late. As today is supposed to mark the end of the world, the virtual social worlds of years past have been much on our mind. 

Where have they gone? Why did they go? Do we even care?

It’s hard to answer those questions without first marveling at what now falls under “social.” A decade ago, blogs and sites like Friends Reunited or Classmates.com were peripheral to our daily digital lives. Today online sociability is the norm: We turn to Yelp reviews when deciding about a restaurant or, when that fails, post on our Facebook walls—“Hey, where can I find good Thai in Philly?” We laugh at cat videos all day long, and we add our IMHO to a long list of responses to ire-inducing blog posts.

Is it too late to save Friends Reunited?

Friends Reunited, the site best known for reuniting old school friends, is preparing itself for a relaunch.

This time, it’s positioning itself as the home of nostalgia online, celebrating “EVERY blast from the past” with a campaign that uses the phrase “Remember when?” to draw people in.

The new site is due to launch in the next few weeks, and encourages you to search for anything you can remember. You can “find, collect and share the memories you love with the people that were there too”.

Social network emails fall foul of spam filters

Emails from social networks are marked as spam 100% more often then those from other sectors, and in the case of Friends Reunited, one in four of its emails failed to reach the inbox. 

According to Return Path, the deliverability issue is partly a result of spam complaints from recipients, which suggests that social networks need to take a closer look at the issue. 

Friends no more: ITV finally dumps Friends Reunited

When times are good, the internet is responsible for memorable stories of rapid riches. But economic downturns are different. Even through parts of the internet economy have held up well, relatively speaking, in this economic downturn there are a growing number of gold to lead stories.

The latest such story: ITV’s sale of Friends Reunited to DC Thomson for £25m after down-to-the-wire negotiations with a number of suitors.

Reports: ITV looking to end friendship with Friends Reunited

In December 2005, ITV purchased social networking pioneer Friends Reunited for £120m plus an earn-out of £55m. At the time, Friends Reunited had 46m registered users, an impressive number that made the husband-and-wife creation one of the largest social networks in the world.

As competing social networks like Bebo and Facebook gained prominence, Friends Reunited stuck to a subscription model. And despite losses in users and traffic, the service pulled in £22m in 2007, making up a hefty chunk of ITV’s online revenue.