SEATTLE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Classmates®, the pioneering online social network, is now in its 18th year of business. Classmates, Inc., which launched its website Classmates.com in 1995 to enable people to reconnect with long-lost friends, has stood the test of time and matured into a leading online service for bringing high school classes together.
“Classmates has always been about reconnecting,” said Harold Zeitz, President of Classmates, Inc. “In a world where many of us leave our hometowns to attend college or take a job, it can be easy to lose touch with old friends and the sense of community we get from being someplace familiar. Classmates is and has always been dedicated to bringing old friends together and rekindling the sense of connection that is such an important ingredient of the magic of high school.”
2013 was a busy “Junior Year” for Classmates and saw the addition of several important new features intended to create more ways for members to interact with each other. These new features included innovative ways for members to interact with the site’s massive and growing yearbook collection.
Classmates also added a Birthdays feature that alerts members when schoolmates have a birthday and allows them to send a happy birthday message with a click of the mouse. Another new feature, Classmates Photos, allows members to sync their Facebook photos and share them with their school alumni. Members can also like and comment on class member photos.
In a blast from the past, Classmates reintroduced the I Remember You feature with enhanced functionality. I Remember You allows members to “remember” other class members or identify and tag them with a series of adjectives (e.g., fun, ambitious, friendly or athletic).
It’s heady stuff for one of the Web’s first social networks. Classmates was founded in 1995 by former engineer Randy Conrads as a way to use the power of the Internet to locate friends from high school with whom he had lost touch. The idea of reconnecting with people from the past hit a nerve and the company carved out a place for itself as the Internet became an integral part of people’s lives.
In addition to providing a forum for people to reconnect, Classmates also gave members an array of tools to help them plan and carry out their high school reunion. Tens of thousands of reunions have since been planned through Classmates.
As its popularity grew, Classmates made several forays into other types of media. In September 2002, it launched Connections, a magazine featuring member stories as well as other high school and nostalgia-based content. Classmates TV, a reality show that, like Connectionsmagazine, featured actual Classmates members rekindling lost friendships and childhood crushes, debuted in June 2003.
In 2004, Classmates, Inc. was acquired by United Online, Inc., the parent company of Internet service providers NetZero and Juno. As a vital part of United Online’s Content & Media segment, Classmates has continued to grow and evolve, but its core mission, to create a place where people can reconnect with others with whom they shared one of the most important and life-shaping experiences – high school – never changed.
Stories featuring Classmates members who have reconnected with long lost friends or rekindled high school love affairs have appeared in publications such as People and on national television shows, including The Oprah Winfrey Show. In May 2005, 60 Minutes featured a story about former friends who reconnected through Classmates.com and whose reconnection led to a kidney donation by one former class member to another. The article can be found at http://cts.businesswire.com/ct/CT?id=smartlink&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.cbsnews.com%2Fnews%2Fin-search-of-the-past-05-05-2003%2F&esheet=50812265&newsitemid=20140226005415&lan=en-US&anchor=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.cbsnews.com%2Fnews%2Fin-search-of-the-past-05-05-2003%2F&index=1&md5=1fb419366c10f642933b5f81bf97b5aa.
Classmates’ Yearbook Initiative, which was first introduced in 2010, gives members the ability to view high school yearbooks online at Classmates.com. The company continues to add yearbooks and currently has more than 220,000 digital yearbooks available.
“High school yearbooks hold such a unique place in the American psyche,” Zeitz said. “They are a window into the past, and by enabling Classmates members to reconnect with each other, we help them tie the past and the present together.”
As it enters its “Senior Year,” Classmates continues to evolve, finding new ways to bring people together with names and faces from their high school years. Visit http://cts.businesswire.com/ct/CT?id=smartlink&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.classmates.com&esheet=50812265&newsitemid=20140226005415&lan=en-US&anchor=www.classmates.com&index=2&md5=4a6810e4dd872ec25a666227928047b0 to view the yearbook collection and reconnect with class members and alumni from your school.
Classmates operates the leading online service for bringing members of America’s high school classes together. Classmates makes it easy for its users to find and reconnect with high school friends. Classmates features the largest online library of digitized yearbooks, with over 220,000 available to browse online, so users can tag and share old photos from school. Classmates is a subsidiary of United Online, Inc. (Nasdaq:UNTD). Visit at http://cts.businesswire.com/ct/CT?id=smartlink&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.classmates.com&esheet=50812265&newsitemid=20140226005415&lan=en-US&anchor=www.classmates.com&index=3&md5=6585314273db05e9fe467cc339ad87a9.
About United Online®
United Online, Inc. (Nasdaq:UNTD), through its operating subsidiaries, provides consumer products and services over the Internet, where their respective brands have attracted a large online audience that includes more than 100 million registered accounts worldwide. United Online’s Content & Media segment provides social networking products and services (Classmates and StayFriends) and online loyalty marketing (MyPoints). Its primary Communications segment service is Internet access (NetZero and Juno), including NetZero Mobile Broadband (NetZero Wireless).