Friends Reunited, the popular site based upon the Classmates concept, is now free. From today the UK’s first major social networking website has dropped it’s subscription fees to increase it’s audience.
This is important because Friends Reunited is one of the few social networking websites created with a business model in mind. Friends Reunited was launched in 2000 and purchased by ITV for £120m in 2005. Since then it’s been overtaken by the free and more modern social networking websites of Facebook, Bebo and MySpace.
These websites are easier, with better customisation, and rely upon advertising for income. Though we know this doesn’t always work too well.
So what does Friends Reunited dropping their subscription fees really mean? Not much. I’m going to make a prediction that we probably wont see another major social networking site competing with the likes of MySpace, Facebook and LinkedIn. Instead we will see more niche interest networks, and the gradual convergence of all social networks as we see greater social network portability.