Can Friends Reunited Make a Comeback?
Shelley Wyatt, Board Director, Clarion Communications, part of the WPP Group
Browsing the papers today, one survey story caught my eye... ‘we’re at our happiest when we’re 33’. Reading on I saw the survey was commissioned to relaunch one of the UK’s first social networks - Friends Reunited. Hold. The. Page. Surely the bigger story here is: ‘Can Friends Reunited make a Comeback?’
At its peak, Friends Reunited, which helped us reconnect with old school friends, had over 15 million members, me included. The site sold to ITV for a whopping £175m in 2005, only to be off-loaded for a fraction of that (£25.6m), four years later to online publishing group Brightsolid.
Now, Brightsolid have ambitious plans to get the site back into our social repertoire, using the theme of “millions of memories, all in one place” to reignite our interest. Linking with the Press Association and the British Library to allow users to attach newspaper clippings and other historical material to their own "memory box” is a very positive move, but is that enough to create a point of difference and engage in what is becoming a very crowded space?
I’m not convinced. I did load up the home page to have a look, but that stumped me. Enter email address. Hmn. That was about 4/5 email addresses ago and what password was I using back in the early 2000’s? No idea.
Well, time will tell whether the ‘memories’ theme can turn around Friends Reunited’s fortunes. I do wish you luck old friend.