Friends Reunited is relaunching itself as a "share the memories" site, inviting users to remember and post about everything from Winston Churchill to the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Di and chewing on the sickly fruitiness of Refresher bars from the school tuck shop. The social network was launched in 2000, hit a peak of …
What FR used to have was a structured way of tracking down old friends from school and Uni, based on time and place. And that is pretty much a really useful tool. If only Facebook still offered that; it used to but it seems to have gone as far as I can tell
Ah, so that's why I got an email from them last week telling me that they were getting rid of their WeeMee™ avatars.
I like the 1966 Charles & Diana screengrab. That year ticker on their homepage seems to get out of sync very easily...
Help Ma Boab!
Dundee outfit (and rather conservative) DC Thomson is of course the company that also brings you such delights as the Sunday Post, People's Friend, The Scots Magazine and The Friendship Book of Frances Gay. So all this nostalgia stuff is old hat for them. At one time they published "The Bimbo" magazine, strangely enough not a celebrity obsessed mag on who's had new Bulgarian funbags or who's been seen with whom this week. Crivvens!
Penguin as the brewers of Tactical Nuclear Penguin are just up the A90 from here (and you'd need a few to wade through the Peoples Friend)
Nostalgia aint what it used to be!
The worlds first? (probably not as I cant be bothered to google, but the term amused me in Alastair Reynolds new tome.)
Failure to monetize
bought for £120m
picked up ... for £25m
worth about $5m (or £3m, to keep the units comparable)
and the same pattern will unfold for every social site if it can't figure out how to produce something it's followers value (i.e. will pay for), as opposed to simply use 'cos it's free. The biggest threat that FaceBook presents to the IT sector is that it WILL float the majority of its shares (not merely the token effort announced so far) and that WILL suck $100Bn from the daft, rich and easily led investors. Soon follweed by a FR-style plunge off the financial cliff. I have no problem with fools and their money -- but it's the knock-on IT doom that's sure to follow which concerns me.
I feel quite nostalgic about Friends Reunited.
Every so often...
I get a mail from them. It is always identical, and it always ask if I know the same two people. I
They need to change more than their name.
Re: Every so often...
me too. The other annoying thing is that at least one of them is someone i have never heard of. The school I've never been to, and I might vaguely recall the other person.
Nothing Fails like Failure
Let's repeat the tried and tested formula
How to rejuvenate this stale online brand...
Maybe they can get some more users by introducing some new spin off sites...
Fens Reunited - The social network for those in the north Northfolk area
Shags Reunited - A handy tool for tracking down the source of that worrying rash
Socks Reunited - An online odd-sock swapping service - users upload pictures of their odd socks in the aim of finding another user with the same type of odd-sock in order to make a pair - kinda like a laundry based dating site
Paris Reunited - Speaks for itself (using single syllables obviously)
I preferred it in the old days when there wasn't all this nostalgia.
Left my coat at home actually cos it's so sunny
They missed a trick, they really did...
by charging a fiver to register so you could contact other people. A fiver! I mean these are people you haven't spoken to or seen since school and there was a bloody good reason for that in most cases! So everyone registered, added their school(s) and then in the comments section tried to enter their email to get past the automated email address stripper they had.
But they could do no more without paying so, as I did, they pretty much never used the site again.
Had it not charged perhaps it might still be going strong today...
Re: They missed a trick, they really did...
Agreed, seems a lot of these Web 1.5 social media companies still haven't learned the greatest lesson about making it easy to connect and share with others.
FR seemed to be one of the worst though for trying to monetize it. Walled gardens do work, but separating each plant with a smaller wall didn't.
Hard to see how they can recover against the insurmountable 'good enough' giant which is Facebook...
One way might be to open up their census database, allow people to explore and build family trees. Then maybe they can monetize extensions to that - e.g. newspaper clippings from the date, 'old photo' cloud storage, discount travel/hotel tickets to go see important place where ancestor lived/stood etc...
Account now deleted.
FR was the only "social media" website that I have ever used, well I created an account if that can be considered as used..
At the time the Social Media sites were not too popular and I think that there was no real "tracking" or selling of information behind the users back, at least not to the scale that it is nowadays.
A couple of people contacted me and I realized very quickly how boring the conversations become. Everything seemed to be based around work and family, kinda makes you writhe.
The problem was that you couldn't "delete" your account, all you could do was block the emails and requests.
Today because El Reg reminded of the FR, I connected and successfully "deleted" the account, the option now exists( it may have done for several years but I didn't connect because the damned thing published your last connection date which meant your "friends knew that you were still alive).
I am quite happy that I did not get sucked up into the void of the Facebooks et al. Anyone that has written there life story on one of those sites must be bearing a "regretfull" grin today.
I can't really put my finger on it but I just don't see the justification and need for Social Media sites. To me it's something to do with people not wanting to feel "left out", "being unworthy" or "hoping for some kind of instant recognition".
Pass the sauce
I felt for a while that it could either be cut down to a simple enough service to be profitable from ads alone, building volume that way - the hosting requirements, done properly, should be trivial - or ... bolt on massive amounts of shiny tat in the hope eventually someone will buy it for more than you paid? It worked once, with ITV, but I can't see it happening again.
Having said that, DCT were only interested in the Genes Reunited bit anyway - the rest wasn't much more than baggage along for the ride. A shame they didn't try spinning it back off as an independent little startup to cut overheads and experiment some more; this approach looks rather like a Frankenstein job, trying to bolt the leftovers they have lying around from other commercial work to make FR bigger and shinier - the last thing it needs.
I remember the dotcom collapse
and when there was nothing on ITV except X-Factor
Chatters made homeless - our community distroyed
I was really gutted when Friends Reunited closed its chatrooms. Me and my friends have been happily chatting there for years. We have had lots of fun times in the chatrooms and it was a tearful, an of an era feeling for us on Monday the last day before Friends Reunited changed.
Luckily another site has come to our rescue, AllJoinOn.com. They have recreated our chatrooms and we have all recamped over there!