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Friends Reunited to shut down as co-founder says site 'has had its day'


By Rebecca Stewart | Trends Editor

January 18, 2016 | 3 min read

Friends Reunited, one of the earliest social networking platforms is to shut down as it struggles to keep pace with the likes of Facebook and Twitter.

Steve Pankhurst, one of the site's co-founders today (18 January) said it was "no longer used for the purpose it was built for," and was visited frequently by just "a handful of members".

Originally launched in 2000, Friends Reunited was bought by ITV in 2005 for £175m and snapped up by DC Thomson four years later for just £25m.

In a blog published last week, Pankhurst said: "Two years ago I was approached by DC Thomson. They had decided to concentrate on family history and wind down Friends Reunited but offered a deal where I would take it back for a period and see what I could do with it."

After taking on the site for a trial period, he said that it became clear that users were primarily using the message board functions and that as many had registered over a decade ago their contact details were out of date.

"It felt like that if you were trying to track an old friend down then we, Facebook and numerous other sites had sort of done that," he added.

The business had been "failing to cover its costs" according to Pankhurst, who said he felt he was the right person to "put Friends Reunited to bed".

The developer is now planning to launch a new product dubbed Liife which he says will rival Facebook's "cumbersome" approach to content. Liife is launching in the coming year and will let posters plot their life through a key series of moments from holidays and sporting events to marriage.

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