ITV is reportedly considering selling off Friends Reunited, the social networking site it paid £175m for in 2006. It's unlikely a sale now would achieve even half that. The broadcaster is implementing a series of cost-cutting measures as it attempts to shore up its struggling TV business and cope with massive debt and pension …
Too little, too late
but if ITV sells it, at least we'll see the adverts, which I assume are punted free, disappear from our screens.
Paying £5 or £10 to get in touch with people I've deliberately not kept in touch with since leaving school and college.....seems a waste..!
Paris - because I'm sure she's on FriendFace .... shame http://friendface.co.uk is blocked from work!!
To me this is a bigger success story in terms of perceived value vs actual subtance than Facebook, Skype and other similar overhyped, underachieving, virtually impossible to monetize websites. At least with all of those technologies there is a great wealth of effort gone behind the scenes.
Friends Reunited is basically just a registry of people that are associated with one or more entities (schools, companies, etc). In terms of complexity I can't see how the database or the code can be anything that couldn't be recreated in about a week by a single developer. There is some run-of-the-mill fluff like messaging people & payment processing but again nothing that is particularly onerous.
I can only surmise therefore that approximately £174,999,000 of the valuation was for the brand itself - which in percentage terms must surely make it one of the most successful dotcom enterprises ever?
...they'd just give up the ghost and expire.
They must be skint, just look at the quality (or lack) of their output over the last 3 years. Shabby at best. Coupled with the unbelievably cheap adds for scam phone chat lines you have to wonder how long they're going to be around.
Not long I'll wager, they gave up catering to anyone who doesn't like reality TV years ago.
FR, at least when I joined it, seemed to be better-controlled and moderated than the current likes of Facebook.
From that point of view, the higher quality of information was worth a premium over the freebie free-for-all ad-supported sites.
Stagnate and die
When it was launched, Friends Reunited was a real pioneer, a brilliant and original idea that was well executed. But, along with the rest of the world, when I discovered that I could catch up with long-lost old friends for free via Facebook, while Friends Reunited was still charging, I switched to FB and didn't look back.
Friends Reunited was in a brilliant position and had the potential to be what Facebook is today in terms of market share and popularity. Instead, they took the money-grabbing route - let's call it the Microsoft Way - charging people for what they can get for free from an alternative supplier, and the inevitable seems to be happening.
It's a shame, given that FU was a British invention and FB is the later imitation from over the pond, but that's the way of the world, isn't it?
Some things best left forgotten.
Time to link back to this remarkably prophetic story ?
Used to be good
I loved the original Friends Reunited. I have no interest in the likes of My Face etc.
I can contact the people I want to by the traditional methods.
But in the beginning Friends was fun . If a bit naughty.
Then it got intimidated. And last, it went corporate.
So now it's just a bit pointless and boring.
ITV really did achieve a difficult thing, they turned a potential moneymaker into an overstuffed lemon. Time for some big bonuses?
Just goes to prove the old adage....
To become a small businessman in the UK, just by a big business then wait.
Surely ITV are in a great position to hype FU through a TV show based on it.
Whether it be a standard human interest story format, (where are they now, what do they remember about each other, etc.), or more of a game show, (will your old friends choose YOU to look up?), straight advertising just seems destined to fail.
I think they should reintroduce paid contacting, and then launch the associated show with a relaunch of the site.
As long as it is doing something the free sites can't, (tie-in to a TV show), they should be able to turn it around, (and then sell it FAST!).
I actually went on Friends Reunited quite a while ago. I joined up and I actually paid a fiver to send a message to everyone I knew from school. I then no longer used it. Now, Friends Reunited became free, it was rather useful. However, many that I knew from school since left it. Recently I had a message from a friend who was on Facebook as well. I then found many of my friends had moved over from Friends Reunited to Facebook.
Friends Reunited was a pioneer. If only they had free access from the beginning and added features, it would have been good.
Friends Reunited is dying.
I am surprised it has lasted this long
When I first started using it I thought it was interesting to read what people claimed had happened in their lives - what really annoyed me was people saying the had Jonny ad Mary aged 5 and 7 - how do you get children who don't get older each year????. After a few months I thought - the 'inventors' need to sell that asap and get out of it.
The creators sold it about a year later and still appeared to do well - which surprised me because I thought it had had its day then.
I think social networking will now be with us for the foreseeable, always re-inventing itself, but it has peaked and many of us will never sign up - I have since signed out of FU and never been on Facebook, bebo etc.
Tired, Outdated, slow to develop, DEAD-RIP
Great idea when it first came out - then ITV bought it and did nothing with it. Such a shame. Genesreunited was also interesting but again its slow to develop, doesn't put much data online and now looks expensive compared to other websites such as familyrelatives.com