Way, way back in the year 2000, Steve Pankhurst and Jason Porter co-founded a social networking site in the UK called Friends Reunited. In the days before Facebook, the site gave old friends the opportunity to find one another and reconnect.
It was a success, too. It exploded, attracting over 23 million users before being sold to iTV (for $250 million) in 2005. It was sold again, for just $31 million this time, to a Scottish company in 2009. Despite Facebook’s seemingly overnight success, Friends United users were surprisingly loyal and stuck around for quite a while.
But now, after 16 good years, the Washington Post reports that the owners have decided it’s time to move onward and upward.
In an recent post on Medium.com, Pankhurst cited a number of reasons for the decision, one of which is, of course, the stiff competition from Facebook. Another is that much of the user information is so old that it is almost certainly out of date.
“Whilst it’s sad,” Pankhurst says, “I believe it’s time to move on and put Friends United to bed.”
But don’t worry. If you’re a fan of the site or the creators, they’re busy cooking up something new – a social media site that allows users to chart their lives through pictures and memories. You can even catch a sneak preview online.
RIP, Friends United!