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It is only ten years since Friends Reunited launched in Britain, helping millions of Brits join up with old school friends.It was one of the first online social networks to really capture the public's imagination in the UK, years before My Space (and, later still, Facebook) stole its thunder.Husband and wife team The site was the brainchild of husband and wife team Steve and Julie Pankhurst.At the height of its popularity it had over 20 million registered users.The site was bought by ITV in 2005 for £175m and sold to DC Thomson subsidiary Brightsolid earlier this year for a mere £25m.It now attracts around 1.3m unique visitors a month.Ian Maude, head of internet at Enders Analysis, cites the fact that ITV didn't take the site's paywall down quicker was a key reason for its demise, as users began to switch to My Space and Facebook in droves.

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Alice-Azania Jarvis tries the online option – with surprising results.Earlier this year, I left my job at a newspaper to go freelance.Having spent the best part of a decade in an office, I’m now working from home. At the same time, the past few years have seen my non-work social group dwindle.Gone are the lunch breaks with colleagues, the conversations by the coffee machine. It’s not that I don’t have friends, but, as we settle down, we see less of one another.Several now live abroad, and plenty have moved to other parts of the UK.I miss having girlfriends to call for a quick coffee, or to meet after work for a drink.

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