Pioneering social network Friends Reunited finally concedes defeat

By Shawn Knight
Jan 19, 2016
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  1. Before Facebook, Twitter and MySpace, a social network by the name of Friends Reunited ruled the roost. The service, which went live in July of 2000, aimed to use the budding Internet as a vehicle to reconnect long-lost friends.

    Its creators, Steve Pankhurst and Jason Porter, launched a variety of other services under the same brand including Genes Reunited. By 2005, business was booming and multiple companies were interested in acquiring the portfolio.

    It was ultimately sold to UK broadcaster ITV for £120 million (just over $170 million based on today's exchange rate) before being offloaded to DC Thomson in 2009 for just £25 million.

    Unable to do much with Friends Reunited, DC Thomson approached Pankhurst to see if he would be interested in trying to revitalize the site. Pankhurst accepted and toyed with some ideas but over the following year, he realized most of the active members were simply using it as a message board.

    What's more, of the more than 10 million registered users, Pankhurst said most had registered over a decade ago meaning their contact details were out of date.

    The site also hadn't covered its costs and like any business, that can't continue indefinitely which is why Pankhurst announced a week and a half ago that he is putting the site "to bed." The fact that it has taken news sites so long to even catch wind of the closure is telling.

    Moving forward, Pankhurst will focus on a new project called Liife. The idea, which Pankhurst readily admits has already been done by lots of people, is to plot your life through a series of key moments (think vacations, parties, marriage, kids, job changes, sporting events and so on). What makes Liife unique, Pankhurst says, is that content is limited to people who shared those memories with you.

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  2. hahahanoobs

    hahahanoobs TS Evangelist Posts: 1,600   +411

    Before Facebook huh? Never heard of this site until now!

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