|Headquarters||Los Angeles, California, U.S.|
|Jeff Tinsley (CEO)|
MyLife (or MyLife.com) is an American information brokerage firm founded by Jeffrey Tinsley in 2002 as Reunion.com. In addition to that name, it previously conducted business as Wink.com.
MyLife gathers personal information through public records and other sources to automatically generate a "MyLife Public Page" for each person. A MyLife public page can list a wide variety of personal information, including an individual's age, past and current home addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, employers, education, photographs, relatives, political affiliations, a mini biography, and a personal review section which encourages other MyLife members to rate each other. MyLife claims to provide public background data on over 325 million identities. Public pages can be edited or removed by email/phone request without paying. The site also allows people to search for any person in the United States, read their auto-generated public page, and review them.
In 2007, MyLife.com received $25 million in venture funding from Oak Investment Partners. The company changed its name from Reunion.com to MyLife.com after merging with the search engine company, Wink, in the fall of 2008. According to Tinsley, the company's 2008 revenue was estimated at 52 million dollars with 90% of the firm's revenue coming from paid subscriptions. As of 2009, the company had acquired several smaller companies including: Planet Alumni, GoodContacts, HighSchoolAlumni, and MyAddressBook.com. That year, Ancestry.com reported it had begun a data sharing partnership with MyLife.
In August 2007, MyLife described its website as the sixth most popular social networking site with 28 million users, while a 2008 article in the Los Angeles Times criticized the company's "aggressive marketing approach." In February 2009 ComScore reported the company's website as having 18.2 million unique visitors that month, and Tech Crunch characterized it as the fourth largest social networking website for January 2009.
In 2011, a lawsuit against MyLife stated that the company was engaging in false advertising practices, similar to what was alleged in a 2008 classmates.com class-action lawsuit. The suit also accused the MyLife of false solicitation by offering monthly memberships and then charging member's credit cards at the annual rate. The class action also accused MyLife of spamming contacts improperly gathered from the address books of those visiting the site. U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken ruled to consolidate the 2011 class-action lawsuit with two other fraud class actions against MyLife. The lawsuit was ultimately dismissed.
The Washington State Attorney General's Office also began an investigation in 2011 stemming from concerns that the company's TV advertisements may have violated the state's Consumer Protection Act, which prohibits unfair and deceptive practice. According to State officials the company resolved the issue by making an "assurance of discontinuance" and paid $28,000 in attorneys' costs and fees.
In 2015, after a joint investigation by the Santa Monica City Attorney's Office and the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office, the company was again sued, this time for allegedly violating California Anti-Spam law. Investigators found that MyLife was tricking consumers into giving the company their personal identifying information, and later their money, through false and misleading ads. MyLife agreed to a court judgment under which it would pay $800,000 in penalties, plus $250,000 in refunds to customers, a ruling referred to as "the first major prosecution of an online business for violations of California's automatic renewal law". The company also is subject to a permanent injunction that prohibits false advertising and unauthorized credit card charges.
In July 2020, the US Department of Justice, on behalf of the Federal Trade Commission, issued a complaint against MyLife and Tinsley alleging the company violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act and used misleading billing and marketing practices. The lawsuit mentions that the company deceived consumers with "teaser background reports" which made false claims of information about arrest, criminal, and sex offender records.
Ratings and reviews
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) rates MyLife as a 'C' with no accreditation as of November 2020[update]. Formerly, the BBB revoked MyLife's accreditation, initially giving MyLife a rating of D, and later an F.
MyLife has been criticized for the difficulty of "opting out" and having personal information removed from its website. There has also been criticism related to their marketing tactics which entice potential customers to sign up for a membership.
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- Manatt Phelps & Phillips LLP (May 1, 2015). "Rough life: MyLife.com to pay $1m and face injunction". Lexology. Retrieved 5 December 2017.
- "MyLife.com to Pay Over $1 Million In Fines and Refunds". Santa Monica, Calif.: City of Santa Monica. Retrieved 2015-07-04.
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- Graham, Jefferson (December 9, 2019). "Your data has been sold to websites like MyLife and WhitePages. Here's how to remove it". USA Today. Retrieved November 3, 2020.