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Friends Reunited competitor targets UK

Passado to offer blogging, photo-sharing to Brits

A social-networking site aimed at Europeans has secured €10m (£6.7m) in venture capital funding and will formally launch a UK site in early 2007, along with others in Russia and Italy, the company announced today.

Passado.com offers photo-sharing, blogging and personal website services and is available in French, German, Spanish and English.

Passado said it's different than other social-networking sites since it targets an older crowd and brands itself more as a reunion service. The service, started in 2001 and based in London, is aimed at reconnecting colleagues from school or work and claims to have 5 million registered users.

It has also released figures showing growing momentum for the site. In October, Passado.com had 1.3 million unique visitors, up from 287,000 unique visitors from the same month a year before, according to the latest available statistics from ComScore Networks.

However, Passado faces a couple other strong social-networking sites that focus on reunions or professional contacts, said John Delaney, principal analyst at Ovum PLC.

Friends Reunited claims 15 million users in the UK alone, while LinkedIn counts about 8 million users worldwide.

But the European market has up to 300 million potential users, which means there’s plenty of room for other social-networking sites to gain a foothold, Delaney said.

"Once they [social networking sites] have a bit of momentum, it becomes quite easy to grow them," Delaney said.

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