Gold star for school reunion Web site

Friendsreunited.co.uk is now one of the fastest growing Web sites in the UK

A three-month-old Web site that reunites old school friends has become one of the fastest growing Web sites in the UK, according new research by the Internet monitoring company NetValue.

Friendsreunited.co.uk grew from 97,000 unique home visitors in May to 542,000 unique visitors in July. The service -- which allows old school friends to get in touch with one another -- offers free registration, but NetValue reports that one quarter of its visitors in July also went on to make a secure connection and pay the £5 fee required to contact other members.

"A good idea can still take off at enormous speed on the Internet," said Alki Manias, analyst at NetValue. "This success story shows the power of word of mouth on the Net."

The success of school reunion sites in the UK reflects the popularity of similar sites in the US, where classmates.com was visited by 16 percent of all home Internet users during July.

Britons spent an average of 29.9 minutes on the site in July -- a significant increase on the 20.7 minutes that visitors were spending on the site in May. Friendsreunited appears most popular with the 25-34 age group, accounting for 44.2 percent of the site's visitors in July. Surprisingly, recent school leavers and university graduates made up a minute 3 percent of visitors to the site in the same month.

Forty percent of the site's visitors were women. This mirrors the 41 percent of female Internet users in the UK, out of a total of 14 million home Internet users in Britain.

See the Internet News Section for full coverage.

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