People-search sites, Wink to merge

Early next year, the sites will combine their technologies into an "entirely new brand" with the ability to search more than 700 million social-networking profiles.

Social network has made a new friend: people search service Wink. The two have merged in a new deal that promises to make it dramatically easier to find people on the Web.

Early next year, the merger will produce "an entirely new brand," the companies said. The two have not said what its name will be, nor have financial details been disclosed. With the dual technologies of Reunion and Wink, the companies say that they will be able to search more than 700 million social-networking profiles. They'll be able to search profiles on MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn, Friendster, AOL's Bebo, Microsoft's Windows Live Spaces, Yahoo, Xanga, and Twitter--among others.

Numbers from Nielsen last month indicated that, which says it receives 12 million unique visitors each month, is one of the fastest-growing social networks in the U.S. despite the fact that it's hardly on the radar of Twittering blog pundits. Its biggest demographic, according to Nielsen, is those between 55 and 64 who are looking to re-connect with friends and classmates.

"Through this merger, we're redefining the people search space by bridging existing social networks and providing consumers with the tools they need to find, be found, and stay connected," Wink CEO Michael Tanne said in a release. "We're aiming to create an entirely new online experience that simplifies people's lives by making it easy to find and keep up with everyone they know. There will be exciting developments in the coming months as we integrate our strengths and push our business forward."

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