What do Friends Reunited, dogging and Nazism have in common?

Why, you’ll have to read The Sad, Slow and Entirely Predictable Death of Friends Reunited to find out.

ITV bought Friends Reunited in 2005, by which time it was pretty obvious that free social networking was going to be a big deal: MySpace was already attracting millions of users, and Facebook was catching up fast.

Despite this, Friends Reunited was convinced that charging people to get in touch with other people was a really brilliant idea. Until April 2008 if you wanted to harass your first love or send a cheeky “I’m rich and you’re not! HA HA!” message to your teenage tormentors, you had to pay for it.

Amazingly, a lot of people did: subscriptions accounted for around 40% of the site’s revenues in 2008.