Before Facebook really hit the mainstream there were only a few sites you could consider “social networks”. There was of course MySpace, Bebo, and Face Party, to name a few, but most of these were oriented at a younger generation. There was one site though which had a purpose: connecting long-lost friends.
Think of Facebook as it is today, but without the timeline full of pointless shares and status updates. That’s what Friends Reunited was, before Facebook became the go-to-place to find friends you once had.
Unfortunately, despite once being the best place to find long-lost friends, Friends Reunited just isn’t as popular as it used to be. In a blog post charting the history of the site, co-founder Steve Pankhurst revealed that due to the site not covering costs and most of the data on the site is years out of date, he, “believes it’s time to put FriendsReunited to bed.”
The site began back in 2000 and its sole purpose was to have friends reunited, as the name quite obviously reveals. There were no timelines, no status updates, just users adding information on where they went to school, where they visited, and where they lived, in order to provide matches and hopefully reconnect friendships.
In 2005 due to its sheer popularity, the site was purchased by UK broadcaster ITV for $250 million before being sold in 2009 to DC Thomson – Mmmhm, the same DC which publishes comic books like Batman.
Unfortunately due to the evolution of social networking as we know it, Friends Reunited never managed to recapture what it had in 2000, and despite a number of changes to its core principles, it’s just best it gets put to rest rather than letting it die a lonely death.
It’s not the end for Pankhurst however, as the team behind the site are hard at work creating something new, something called Liife, a place for people to share pictures of events among a select group of friends. You can currently sign up to get early access.