Relaunches are never seen as a positive step. I mean – unless something has failed, it won’t ever need to relaunch. It can just, you know, continue.
Which is why Friends Reunited, once the king of UK social networks, will be on the end of some fairly bad press today; mostly from those who’ll say “PAH! Facebook blew you out of the water”, and leave their analysis essentially at that.
But let’s take a closer look at Friends Reunited have done with their relaunch attempt. (My report is here)
They’ve teamed up with the Press Association the country’s biggest archive of images. Not only this, but they’ve also got the British Library on board, providing the country’s biggest archive of, er, anything.
Where Facebook’s entry for you being born is right now a blue box simply saying ‘born’ – Friends Reunited can offer a host of content from that day: newspaper cuttings, iconic images and soon, they hope, material items.
What car did your dad drive you home in after you were born? Add it. What was on TV that day? Add it. You get the picture (you can probably add that too…).
Friends Reunited’s biggest problem first time round was one of impatience. Had it waited, like Facebook, for the technology to catch up with it – they too could have offered targeted advertising.
As it happened – it was only Mark Zuckerburg’s stubbornness which prevented Facebook from entering its own paid subscription-powered early grave.
The sense I got from talking to Friends Reunited’s new owner Chris van der Kuyl was one of of cautious excitement. He believes they’re onto something pretty good which can be monetised in the future – but only when the time is right.
But of course, the internet – and social media in particular – is an industry built on this painful concept of ‘buzz’. Friends Reunited right now has publicity, but whether or not that will turn to buzz is an entirely different question.
That siad, I do feel this is one to watch – even if you do feel completely out of touch by admitting it.