ITV has sold its networking site FriendsReunited.com for a fraction of its purchase price after it failed to keep up with the boom in social media, industry experts say.

Under a decade ago, the site was dominant in the marketplace but, through its decision not to abolish fees, it has seen a reduction in member numbers following the introduction of free pages such as Facebook and Myspace.

It was purchased for £175 million in 2005 and sold again for £25 million.

Co-founder of networking site Talkbiznow Martin Warner remarked upon the need for social media providers to match the pace of their users.

"The advent of free sites means that if you are unable to react to member demands and stay ahead of the game, your members will migrate to another site," he said.

A recent survey by the Association of National Advertisers, alongside BtoB Magazine and marketing services firm MKTG, indicated that social media were being increasingly used by businesses as internet marketing services.

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