'til it's gone. Ahhh, how true.
Many people have reconnected with friends, acquaintances and schoolmates over the years, on the kiwi website oldfriends.co.nz. But soon they'll have to find a new platform.
Spokesman for Trade Me, Logan Mudge, says it's not a decision made lightly: "We have to focus on what we can and cannot do. We haven't been able to give it the attention it needed so it was time to close." He said it wasn't a financial decision as the site was making a modest income, but rather so that Trade Me could focus on bigger business opportunities in its core areas.
Over the last few months, 600-1,200 users accessed the website daily. In comparison, Trade Me had 848,000 daily users. But saying that, Old Friends had other impressive numbers. These included 1,621,577 members - nearly half the NZ population - plus 2300 schools, 36,000 workplaces, 7100 clubs, 164 marae etc etc. But even those numbers weren't able to be converted into any sort of income. So it's goodbye, Old Friends, coz dollars talk.
Many Old Friends users have tales of reuniting with friends they haven't seen in decades - some have even caught up with childhood sweethearts.
Nothing will be launched to replace Old Friends. Users have been emailed to tell them the website is closing down in mid-late January. They've been urged to download and save any information, photos and data they want kept.
It seems to me such a shame that the service could not have been outsourced to save it. Surely, with the existing infrastructure in place, a couple of part-timers could have maintained Old Friends from a home base...?
Note: Sam Morgan, who founded TradeMe, NZ's largest online auction site, sold it in 2006 to Australian media company Fairfax for over NZ$750 million.