Friends Reunited was a portfolio of social networking websites based upon the themes of reunion with research, dating and job-hunting. The first and eponymous website was created by a husband and wife team in the classic back bedroom internet start-up; it was the first online social network to achieve prominence in Britain, and it weathered the dotcom bust. The website was conceived by Steve and Julie Pankhurst of Barnet, Hertfordshire and friend Jason Porter in 1999. Julie Pankhurst's curiosity about the current status of old school friends inspired her to develop the website, exploiting a gap in the UK market following the success of US website Classmates.com. Friends Reunited was officially launched in June 2000. By the end of the year, it had 3,000 members, and a year later this had increased to 2.5 million. Ex-Financial Times executive Michael Murphy was brought into Friends Reunited as the new chief executive in 2005 and the similar web site SchoolFriends Australia & Findakiwi New Zealand was rebranded and merged with the UK site.
On 18 January 2016, Friends Reunited revealed that it would be closing down the website after 16 years of operation and on 26 February 2016 the site closed down.
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