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history of social networking
Ajay Bishnoi | 10 Mar 2008

The first social networking website was Classmates.com, which began in 1995 and used the Old Boy Network method of social networking. Other sites followed, including SixDegrees.com, which began in 1997 using the Web of Contacts model. The year 1999 saw the development of two competing models of social networking, the Circle of Trust developed by Epinions and utilised by Ciao.com, Dooyoo and ToLuna and the Circle of Friends developed by Jonathan Bishop, which was utilised on a number of regional UK sites between 1999 and 2001 and flourished with the advent of a website called Friendster in 2002. This is now one of the most dominant methods of social networking in virtual communities, perhaps for the reason that it gives the user control rather than being computer controlled. There were over 50 social networking sites using the Circle of Friends in 2005 when one such online community, MySpace, was getting more page views than Google. Google has a social network called Orkut, launched in 2004. Social networking began to be seen as a component of internet strategy at around the same time: in March 2005 Yahoo launched Yahoo! 360°, their entry into the field, and in July 2005 News Corporation bought Circle of Friends-based MySpace, followed by ITV buying Old Boy Network-based Friends Reunited in December that year. It is estimated that combined there are now over 200 social networking sites using these existing and emerging social networking models.