'Memory Lane' Site Runaway Success; INTERNET: Phenomenon Continues

Article excerpt

Byline: JOANNE ATKINSON

THE website phenomenon of 2001 continues to go from strength to strength.

Friendsreunited, which helps people to look up their old schoolmates and college friends, now has more than four million users.

Since its launch in October 2000, the site has been a runaway success story. Old flames have been rekindled, engagements announced, a marriage has taken place, babies born, and one man has even been reunited with his cat that his friend borrowed in the late 1980s.

Organisers Julie and Steve Pankhurst started the website from their spare bedroom of their home in Barnet, North London, when Julie decided she wanted to track down some of her old school friends.

The couple are currently in talks for an official Friendsreunited TV gameshow, and reunions have been taking place across the country as a result of people using the site.

"We're amazed at the continued growth of Friendsreunited, " said Mr Pankhurst. "It's just unbelievable - everyone seems to at least heard of the site, if not used it themselves.

"I think the beauty of it is that it's something everyone can relate to - because everyone went to school and are interested in what their old friends are doing."

Running the site has taken over the lives of the Pankhursts. Mr Pankhurst gave up his job as an IT consultant in April 2001, and they now both work "more than fulltime" on the internet business. …