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School reunion site enters top 20

FriendsReunited has not been shaken by recent libel allegations, and has continued to double its number of visitors each month
Written by Wendy McAuliffe, Contributor

The school reunion Web site, which has recently attracted libel allegations from teaching unions around the country, still managed to make its way into the top 20 rankings for the most visited Web sites in October.

Almost every school and college in the UK has registered with FriendsReunited since its launch in May. A new report from the Internet research company Jupiter MMXI reveals that over two million unique visitors (2,094,000) used the site to contact old school friends in October.

"The simplicity of the idea behind this site, the ease of using it and the benefit of finding long-lost school friends has an instant appeal," said a spokesperson at Jupiter MMXI. "With no promotional activity, we have seen the site rapidly achieve a ranking amongst the top 20 sites in the UK for at home Internet users."

The Jupiter MMXI survey comes a matter of days after allegations were levelled at the founders of friendsreunited.co.uk, Julie and Stephen Pankhurst, that they were providing a forum for ex-school pupils to slander the character of teachers. Teaching unions around the country have been calling for the suspension of the site, with a view to taking legal action if the situation doesn't improve. Malicious comments posted on the popular site had included a school governor being labelled a sex offender.

But the number of visitors to the site has continued to double almost every month since its launch, while other Web sites in the same "Directories and Resources" category have remained static, according to Jupiter MMXI statistics.

The amount of time that visitors are also spending on the site has consistently increased in the last five months. In June, people were spending an average of 19 minutes on the site each month, but in September this figure peaked to 41 minutes.

Men have shown greater enthusiasm for contacting old school friends, with 1,156,000 men visiting friendsreunited.co.uk in October. The site has also appeared most popular with 25-34 year olds.

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