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ITV sell Friendsreunited site for 25 million
That's a loss of 150 million!

 9:35 am on Aug 6, 2009 (gmt 0)

From the BBC [news.bbc.co.uk]

ITV has sold Friends Reunited for 25m, despite having paid 175m for it. The buyer is Brightsolid Limited, which is owned by DC Thomson, Dundee-based publisher of comics such as the Beano.

Friends Reunited was launched in July 2000 from the spare bedroom of Steve and Julie Pankhurst's home in North London. Its model of helping people to find old friends from their old schools, colleges or clubs attracted millions of users to the site. But more recently, it has been overtaken by social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace and Twitter.

I don't know about 'more recently'. Their problem is that they wanted to charge for participation - add your details for free, but if you want to interect with members/friends, you had to pay.

Once everyone had gotten over the initial novelty of the site, and the media hype (of which there was plenty, including a number of TV programmes) died down, there was nothing left but loads of half finished user profiles from infrequent visitors who didn't want to pay to effectively send someone an email.

Then, of course, social networking sites exploded, and all of them offering free services. Changing eventually to a 'free' business model came too late - nearly everyone had deserted Friendsreunited by then.

I still pop in there but I appear to be the only one in the schools and years I browse through every few months or so.

Wonder what the new owners will do with it..?




 10:08 am on Aug 6, 2009 (gmt 0)

To be fair ITV did do away with the charges but that did not seem to help. I remember thinking at the time that the were buying a pig in a poke. Sometimes I wonder at the intelligence of the people in these big companies who make decisions like these.

The Internet is constantly evolving. Who knows what is going to be the big thing a year or two down the line? It's crazy to put large sums of money into stuff like this. They would be much better getting a team of clever kids together and paying them to come up with original ideas. You could pay a lot of clever kids for 150M. ;)


 2:21 pm on Aug 6, 2009 (gmt 0)

Some executives seem to like throwing huge sums of money around simply to make themselves feel important. 150 million (pounds not dollars) was an absurd figure but there have been many instances of companies paying silly monies for other companies...

Most recently, think Google and YouTube, but I remember when Borland bought Wordperfect and nearly went bankrupt as a result. That was back in the early nineties but I bet there are examples going back centuries if you look for them.



 4:30 pm on Aug 7, 2009 (gmt 0)

Ouch, what a loss!


 4:46 pm on Aug 7, 2009 (gmt 0)

Yes, the moment they made it all paid, it turned people off and they never returned.

What's the incentive to return now it's free?


 9:15 am on Aug 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

I read somewhere the other day that having been bought by DC Thomson they are going to rename it "People's Friend Reunited". :)


 2:08 pm on Aug 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

a clear message for facebook that charging for something that you can get for free elsewhere is not a good revenue model. However good you think FB is, there are sites, less well-known, that offer similar or even better but what they lack are the sheer numbers of users that FB offers. If they start charging, that will change.

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