From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
TypeInformation broker
Founded2002; 21 years ago (2002) (as
HeadquartersLos Angeles, California, U.S.
Key people
Jeff Tinsley (CEO)
OwnerPrivately held

MyLife is an American information brokerage firm. The firm was founded by Jeffrey Tinsley in 2002 as and changed names following the 2008 merger with

MyLife gathers personal information through public records and other sources to automatically generate a "MyLife Public Page" for each person.[1] 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.[2] Public pages can be edited or removed by email/phone request without paying.[1] The site also allows people to search for any person in the United States, read their auto-generated public page, and review it.[3]


In 2007, received $25 million in venture funding from Oak Investment Partners.[4] The company changed its name from to after merging with the search engine company, Wink, in the fall of 2008.[3][5] According to Tinsley, the company's 2008 revenue was estimated at 52 million dollars[5] with 90% of the firm's revenue coming from paid subscriptions.[6] As of 2009, the company had acquired several smaller companies including Planet Alumni, GoodContacts, HighSchoolAlumni, and[5] In 2009 began a data sharing partnership with MyLife.[7]

In August 2007, MyLife described its website as the sixth most popular social networking site with 28 million users,[8] while a 2008 article in the Los Angeles Times criticized the company's "aggressive marketing approach."[9] In February 2009 ComScore reported the company's website as having 18.2 million unique visitors that month,[5] and Tech Crunch said it was the fourth-largest social networking website in January 2009.[5]

Legal issues[edit]

In 2011, a lawsuit against MyLife said the company was engaging in false advertising practices, similar to what was alleged in a 2008 class-action lawsuit.[10][11] The suit also accused the MyLife of false solicitation by offering monthly memberships and then charging member's credit cards at the annual rate.[12] The class action accused MyLife of spamming contacts improperly gathered from the address books of those visiting the site.[10] U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken's ruling consolidated the 2011 class-action lawsuit with two other fraud class actions against MyLife. Ultimately, the lawsuit was dismissed.[13]

The Washington State Attorney General's Office 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.[14] According to State officials, the company resolved the issue by making an "assurance of discontinuance" and paid $28,000 in attorneys' costs and fees.[15]

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 laws.[13] Investigators found that MyLife was tricking consumers into giving the company their personal identifying information, and later their money, through false and misleading ads.[16] 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".[17] The company also is subject to a permanent injunction that prohibits false advertising and unauthorized credit card charges.[18]

In July 2020, the U.S. Department of Justice, on behalf of the Federal Trade Commission, filed a lawsuit against MyLife and Tinsley.[19] In the complaint the company is alleged to have violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and used misleading billing and marketing practices. Additionally, 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.[20] In October 2021, a judge issued a summary judgement ruling that MyLife engaged in deceptive acts, as well as violating the Telemarketing Sales Rule and the Restore Online Shoppers’ Confidence Act (ROSCA). However, the judge denied the FCRA claim as well as any claim that Tinsley was individually liable.[21] The company was also banned from engaging in negative option billing as well as implying that someone who has received a traffic violation has a criminal record.[22] As a result, the court awarded $34 million in consumer reparations.[21] However, due to the MyLife's financial position and inability to pay, Tinsley will pay $5 millions and MyLife $16 million.[22]

Ratings and reviews[edit]

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) rates MyLife as a 'C-' with no accreditation as of June 2022.[23] Formerly, the BBB revoked MyLife's accreditation, initially giving MyLife a rating of D,[24] and later an F.[25] From 2018 to 2020, the BBB received almost 14,000 complaints about MyLife.[26]

A key criticism of MyLife is the difficulty of "opting out" as well as having personal information removed from its website. There has been criticism related to marketing tactics used to entice potential customers to begin a membership.[27]


  1. ^ a b James, Christina (March 14, 2019). "How does Mylife work?". Medium. Retrieved August 26, 2019.
  2. ^ "MyLife Launches Online Homeservice Marketplaces "Reputation Score" Profile Rating Solution to Enhance Safety and Trust". Accesswire. February 28, 2019. Retrieved August 26, 2019.
  3. ^ a b Cawley, Christian (March 2011). "What is "My Life" - MyLife.Com?". Bright Hub. Retrieved August 26, 2019.
  4. ^ Buley, Taylor (September 30, 2009). "Recognize That Cute Picture Online?". Forbes. Retrieved August 26, 2019.
  5. ^ a b c d e " and Wink Morph Into". TechCrunch. Retrieved October 31, 2013.
  6. ^ "Interview with Jeff Tinsley,". July 22, 2008.
  7. ^ "Huge new content addition for more recent years". Retrieved October 31, 2013.
  8. ^ " Receives $25M Funding From Oak Investment Partners". Business Wire. April 16, 2007.
  9. ^ "Too much contact at this Reunion". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 31, 2013.
  10. ^ a b Pierce, Sarah (August 23, 2011). " Scam Class Action Lawsuit Moves Ahead". Top Class Actions. Retrieved 5 December 2017.
  11. ^ "Web Scam Reborn as, Class Says". Courthouse News Service. Retrieved October 31, 2013.
  12. ^ " People-Searching Website Sued as 'Scam'". ABC News. August 19, 2011.
  13. ^ a b Hudson, Subrina (January 25, 2017). " founder seeks buyer for $7.5M Bel Air estate". The Real Deal: Los Angeles Real Estate News. Retrieved 5 December 2017.
  14. ^ " agrees to tell consumers about charges, automatic renewal". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved October 31, 2013.
  15. ^ "Washington State Challenges Ads". October 12, 2012.
  16. ^ "FTC Report Shows Rise in Sophisticated Dark Patterns Designed to Trick and Trap Consumers". Federal Trade Commission. 2022-09-15. Retrieved 2023-05-01.
  17. ^ Manatt Phelps & Phillips LLP (May 1, 2015). "Rough life: to pay $1m and face injunction". Lexology. Retrieved 5 December 2017.
  18. ^ " to Pay Over $1 Million In Fines and Refunds". Santa Monica, Calif.: City of Santa Monica. Retrieved 2015-07-04.
  19. ^ Skiba, Katherine (July 28, 2020). "Feds Sue Over Deceptive Practices". Retrieved 5 August 2021.
  20. ^ "Cases and Proceedings:, Inc". FTC. July 27, 2020. Retrieved October 29, 2020.
  21. ^ a b Bryan, Kristin L. (October 26, 2021). "Federal Court Partially Grants FTC Summary Judgment on Claims Brought Against MyLife". 9 (299). National Law Review. Retrieved 2021-10-26. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  22. ^ a b "FTC, DOJ Obtain Ban on Negative Option Marketing and $21 Million for Consumers Deceived by Background Report Provider MyLife". December 16, 2021. Retrieved 2021-12-21.
  23. ^ "BBB Business Review". Better Business Bureau Los Angeles, Calif. Retrieved June 15, 2022.
  24. ^ ", Inc. Business Review". Better Business Bureau Los Angeles, Calif. Archived from the original on March 29, 2016. Retrieved May 17, 2019.
  25. ^ ", Inc. Business Review". Better Business Bureau Los Angeles, Calif. Archived from the original on October 28, 2016. Retrieved May 17, 2019.
  26. ^ Moylan, Martin (May 7, 2020). "Suit alleges firm soils reputations, then seeks money to improve them". MPR News.
  27. ^ 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.