United Online, the Parent Company of Classmates.com, Launches MemoryLane.com

Farrah Fawcett was one of the site's "hottest" searches on launch day.

Wednesday's kick-off showcased some of the $8 million worth of entertainment content dating back to the 1940s, with highlights of Johnny Carson's TV career to be featured soon.

As the parent company of Classmates.com -- which 57 million Americans have used to reconnect with their school chums -- United Online knows how to turn nostalgia into a profitable business. They're hoping they'll do it again with MemoryLane.com, which launched Wednesday.

The company said it spent $8 million lining up rights to movie, radio and TV clips, still photos, newspapers and magazines dating back to the 1940s in order to create what CEO Mark Goldston calls "the largest archive of nostalgic content on the Internet."

United, which also owns Juno.com, MyPoints.com, NetZero.com and florist FTD, intends on making money with MemoryLane by taking a cut from every DVD it sells through partner Amazon.com, as well as via ads and subscription and per-transaction sales.

Example: A user may peruse the first 10 or so pages of any issue of Look or Life magazine (they have them all), but the whole thing is for subscribers only, or available for a .99 cent transaction fee. Subscriptions can be had for $2.50 a month with a long-term commitment, and Classmates subscribers are getting the MemoryLane upgrade at no extra charge.

On Wednesday, the "hottest" searches included Ronald Reagan and Farrah Fawcett. Reagan's offerings, for example, include 23 audio snippets, 138 photos and 23 videos.

Some other popular content Wednesday included scene's from movies like Breakfast at Tiffany's, Easy Rider, Big Jake and Blade Runner.

"This is a treasure trove of Americana," Goldston said. "And if you see what we've got in sports, it will knock you out."

Goldston said MemoryLane's latest acquisition is highlights of Johnny Carson's TV career, which hasn't yet been posted.