Former social networking pioneer Friends Reunited has relaunched under new management and with a renewed focus on ‘shared memories’. The new-look site lets users create their own ‘memory boxes’, as part of its emphasis on online nostalgia. These boxes can be shared on various other networks online – including Facebook, where users can add a Friends Reunited app to their profile.
View the relaunch video here:
Launched in 2000, the UK-based firm was bought by ITV for £175m in 2005, only to be sold for £25.6m four years later to online publishing group Brightsolid.
At its peak in the early-2000s, Friends Reunited boasted more than 20 million registered users, however competition from other social networking sites has forced the organisation to rethink its service in order to appeal to the masses.
Working in partnership with the Press Association and The British Library, the site is enabling people to revisit their past whenever they like by sharing information such as newspaper clippings and photographs.
Privacy settings have also been upped, to keep subscribers ‘firmly in control’ of their details, something Facebook has received criticism for in the past.
The service is currently free to use but revenue-generating options are being considered further down the line, including inviting brands to offer their own nostalgic material, such as old cars, to be added to users’ memories.
Income for the site will be provided by advertising, with other income streams likely in the future.
Social media PR expert and Hotwire UK MD Drew Benvie, who lists Friends Reunited as a past client, argues that there is a gap in the market for a network such as Friends Reunited.
“Friends Reunited was the trailblazer of the social web, years before its time and the original social network,” Benvie said. “The social media landscape has changed considerably since then, and with collecting and sharing being the current hot social trend, the trusted Friends Reunited brand may have a big role to play for its target demographic in their digital world.
“Nostalgia is being brought to the forefront as the updated site capitalises on the sharing aspect that this year’s hottest social network Pinterest is utilising, but with a focus on photo albums full of ‘Remember When’ moments which sets it apart from other sites like Twitter that focus on the now.”