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ITV has finally put all the rumours into perspective and sold FriendsReunited. It's lost millions in doing so and there's no getting away from it - it was a bad deal.

It's worth noting a few details about FriendsReunited. It began as a tiny business putting people back in touch with old school friends, and it grew incredibly quickly at first. With hindsight it's possible to see that limiting it to school and college friends was going to limit its growth. Equally with hindsight you could have told them that charging, even at £5 per year ($10 when the exchange rate is in the UK's favour, I wouldn't want to tie it to a figure with the markets as they are right now). At the time it wasn't obvious that people would move away from it in such numbers - nor did people know that Facebook, Twitter and others were coming. So ITV bought it for almost a fifth of what they're selling it for now.

I imagine they'll be glad to be rid of it. The interesting thing is why the new buyer has gone for it at all. Here I believe the answer might be connected to new owner Brightsolid's ownership of the rights to the online census information. This means a lot of history and a lot of information - which would be really good for genealogists. And this is the point at which I point out that Brightsolid is actually acquiring not just the Friendsreunited site but the Friendsreunited Group. This includes the Genes Reunited site, where a lot of people trying to trace their family hang out.

It's niche, it has a purpose, people know why they're there. I'll just bet it'll be subsumed as an add-on or merged product with census information really soon. And the original Friendsreunited site? Well, it may take off again I suppose - but if I were Brightsolid I'd be offloading that to someone else as soon as possible.

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