Friends Reunited website to close after 15 years

Friends Reunited was a pioneer of social networking when it launched in 2000, but on Monday founder Steve Pankhurst announced its closure.

In an emailed entitled “the sunset of an era”, Pankhurst wrote that “the world is now a very different place” and that Friends Reunited is no longer able to compete with Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

The site, Pankhurst writes, still has a “handful” of users but that its continuation would not be viable.

“It is clear that the site is no longer really used for the purpose it was built for … therefore, it is with a heavy heart, that we have decided to close the service down.”

Pankhurst, who co-founded the service with business partner Jason Porter, was approached by Friends Reunited’s current owner, comic producer DC Thompson, to buy the site back. A trial takeover period did not prove successful.

In 2005, Friends Reunited was bought by the broadcaster ITV for £175m ($250m) but was later sold to DC Thompson for just £25m in 2009.

The site will remain live for another month to allow users to download photographs they may have stored on the service. Whether anybody will be able to remember their passwords is another matter.

People have reacted to the news of Friends Reunited’s demise with a mixture of nostalgia and snark on Twitter (welcome to the internet):

Pankhurst’s new venture is a network called Liife, which will allow users to plot key life events on a chart. Although in a post on Medium, he admitted the idea was “not unique”. However, he hoped the greater element of privacy specific to the service would prove popular.

ITV sells Friends Reunited to DC Thomson firm for £25m

Powered by article was written by Hannah Jane Parkinson, for The Guardian on Monday 18th January 2016 15.36 Europe/London © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010