Friends Reunited rebrands as memory bank for oldsters
Old school is, er, cool
Friends Reunited is relaunching itself as a "share the memories" site, inviting users to remember and post about everything from Winston Churchill to the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Di and chewing on the sickly fruitiness of Refresher bars from the school tuck shop.
The social network was launched in 2000, hit a peak of 15 million members in 2005 when it was bought for £120m by ITV, and then fell into a spiral of decline as it was overtaken by Bebo, MySpace and then Facebook. In 2009, Friends Reunited was picked up by Brightsolid, a subsidiary of Scottish newspaper group DC Thompson, for £25m. In 2011, DC Thomson (which publishes the Beano annual) reckoned that the site had tumbled again in value and was worth about $5m.
The relaunched site puts a heavy emphasis on memories and nostalgia, angling itself as "The place to remember when" and now inlcudes new categories: "What We Wore", "As Seen on Screen" and "What We Ate".
The new homepage features a rolling carousel of photos asking people to remember events ranging from Winston Churchill's leadership in 1945 to Linford Christie's win in 1992 to women getting the vote in 1918.
Brightsolid owns several big brands in the nostalgia and family history market – including Genes Reunited, FindMyPast.com and a searchable digital version of the UK's 1911 census – so giving Friends Reunited a makeover in this direction is not a surprising.
It may appear to be a desperate marketing ploy, but actually the relaunched Friends Reunited has some bang-on-the-money features, including Pinterest-style pinboards allowing people to comment on public photos and pin up their own. And nostalgia is a potent force on the internet, as Facebook itself has acknowledged with its memory-focused Timeline.
Of course the real test will be whether Friends Reunited picks up its membership from the 1.5 million that currently visit the site. We'll keep you posted. ®
They missed a trick, they really did...
by charging a fiver to register so you could contact other people. A fiver! I mean these are people you haven't spoken to or seen since school and there was a bloody good reason for that in most cases! So everyone registered, added their school(s) and then in the comments section tried to enter their email to get past the automated email address stripper they had.
But they could do no more without paying so, as I did, they pretty much never used the site again.
Had it not charged perhaps it might still be going strong today...
Re: Every so often...
me too. The other annoying thing is that at least one of them is someone i have never heard of. The school I've never been to, and I might vaguely recall the other person.
How to rejuvenate this stale online brand...
Maybe they can get some more users by introducing some new spin off sites...
Fens Reunited - The social network for those in the north Northfolk area
Shags Reunited - A handy tool for tracking down the source of that worrying rash
Socks Reunited - An online odd-sock swapping service - users upload pictures of their odd socks in the aim of finding another user with the same type of odd-sock in order to make a pair - kinda like a laundry based dating site
Paris Reunited - Speaks for itself (using single syllables obviously)