Looking for old friends

There’s been a few friends over the years that I have lost contact with. In the last few years, there’s been an explosion of webites and services that, for a fee, will help you track them down. For the most part, I just want to know how they’re doing. One friend was a girl I knew in school. She had a seriously sucky home life (abusive father, divorced parents, slutty uncaring mother, consequently negatively affecting school). While I don’t necessarily want to re-start a friendship, I would really like to know if she’s doing okay. I think of her (and the others) from time to time, but it’s been 20 years now! Should I just give up thinking about them? The fees are usually in the $30-100 range and I COULD afford them, but I don’t know if I should.

Have any Dopers used these services? What were the results?

Have you thought of just searching various web sites that offer directory searches or perhaps Google? I’ve stalked various people just using The Ultimates in addition to checking various high school alumni sites available on the web.
See what you can do for free before paying someone to do the legwork for you.