Something of a anomaly in the hype-and-bust world of dot-com services. Set up by a husband and wife team in July 2000. Curently it claims 7 million registrations (July 2002) and 220 million hits in May 2002.
IMHO, it's success is down to the following factors:
- You have to tell to see. No invisible lurking means the lists have to swell.
- People are interested. They really do worry about how their life compares to their childhood peers.
- It's simple. Maybe even a little crude in places (with a logo that was composed from the family photo album) but there's no faffing around with flash or whatever.
- It got there first. Classmates (www.classmates.com) had been going for a few years previously but was limited to the US. There are a few alternative sites (e.g. www.myoldmate.net) but these are just not as well known or large as friendsreunited and the thing feeds back on itself.
Sadly, it's often the most interesting people that are missing from the lists, the rebels, dreamers, bohemians and all-round oddballs. On the upside, your life probably now looks at least as interesting as any of your younger contemporaries -- typical entry:
its good to see so many old names. i married steve (snotbag?) a couple of years ago and now have 2 wonderful children amber and will. i now work part-time at the school! i would luv to hear from anybody who remembers me. my email is squiffy1982uk@
Or, the slightly more terse
Work for large financial firm in an IT capacity, based in Slough.
Friends reunited always tries to strip out any e-mail addresses you include in your notes since this is one of the the ways it makes money. A little imagination can always overcome this small hurdle however. Of course this site can also be used to look up ex-girlfriends/boyfriends, housemates, etc, if you're so inclined.
In the future, privacy is off by default.
The massive popularity of the site has spawned multiple varients, including: www.airportstaffreunited.com and www.policemenreunited.co.uk. The site itself has recently expanded to include university, college and workplaces.