Open main menu

MyLife (or MyLife.com) is an American information brokerage founded by Jeffrey Tinsley in 2002 as Reunion.com. In addition to that name, it previously conducted business as Wink.com.

MyLife.com
Information broker
Founded2002; 16 years ago (2002) (as Reunion.com)
HeadquartersLos Angeles, California, U.S.
Key people
Jeff Tinsley (CEO)
OwnerPrivately held
Websitewww.MyLife.com

MyLife gathers personal information through public records and other sources to automatically generate a "MyLife Public Page" for each person, described by MyLife as a "complete Wikipedia-like biography on every American."[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 have over 225 million Public Pages with information about almost everyone in America, 18 years old and over.[2] According to MyLife, a Public Page can only be edited or removed if it is "claimed", a process that involves registering with the website and providing a credit card number or a government-issued photo ID.[3] The site also allows people to search for any person in the United States, read their auto-generated Public Page, and review them.[4]

HistoryEdit

In 2007, according to a company press release, MyLife.com received $25 Million in venture funding from Oak Investment Partners.[5] The company changed its name from Reunion.com to MyLife.com after merging with the search engine company, Wink, in the fall of 2008.[4][6] According to Tinsley, the company's 2008 revenue was estimated at 52 million dollars[6] with 90% of the firm's revenue coming from paid subscriptions.[7] As of 2009, the company had acquired several smaller companies including: Planet Alumni, GoodContacts, HighSchoolAlumni, and MyAddressBook.com.[6] That year, Ancestry.com reported it had begun a data sharing partnership with MyLife.[8]

In August 2007, MyLife described its website as the sixth most popular social networking site with 28 million users,[5] 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,[6] and Tech Crunch characterized it as the fourth largest social networking website for January 2009.[6]

Legal issuesEdit

In 2008, classmates.com was involved in a class-action lawsuit for sending spam emails to people claiming there was "someone looking for them" and then charging a fee to view the information, only to discover there was nobody searching for them; a subsequent 2011 lawsuit against MyLife stated that the company was engaging in the same practices and was simply a rebranded classmates.com.[10][11] The suit also accused the company of false solicitation by offering monthly memberships and then charging member's credit cards at the annual rate.[12] The class action also accused MyLife of spamming contacts improperly gathered from the address books of those visiting the site.[10] 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 when classmates.com agreed to pay a more than $9.5 million settlement.[13]

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.[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 law.[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. 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".[16] The company also is subject to a permanent injunction that prohibits false advertising and unauthorized credit card charges.[17]

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) has revoked MyLife's accreditation, initially giving MyLife a rating of D-, and later an F,[18] stating:

"On March 20, 2015 this company's accreditation in BBB was revoked by BBB's Board of Directors due to recent government action involving the business's customer relations which indicates a significant failure of the business to meet standards of conduct expected of a BBB member."

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Help". MyLife.com.
  2. ^ "Help". MyLife.com.
  3. ^ "FAQ: Claiming Your Profile". MyLife.com. pp. #22–#26. Retrieved 6 May 2018.
  4. ^ a b "Reunion.com, Inc. Company Profile". Yahoo! Finance.
  5. ^ a b "Reunion.com Receives $25M Funding From Oak Investment Partners". Business Wire. April 16, 2007.
  6. ^ a b c d e "Reunion.com and Wink Morph Into MyLife.com". TechCrunch. Retrieved October 31, 2013.
  7. ^ "Interview with Jeff Tinsley, Reunion.com". socalTECH.com. July 22, 2008.
  8. ^ "Huge new content addition for more recent years". Ancestry.com. Retrieved October 31, 2013.
  9. ^ "Too much contact at this Reunion". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 31, 2013.
  10. ^ a b Pierce, Sarah (August 23, 2011). "MyLife.com Scam Class Action Lawsuit Moves Ahead". Top Class Actions. Retrieved 5 December 2017.
  11. ^ "Web Scam Reborn as MyLife.com, Class Says". Courthouse News Service. Retrieved October 31, 2013.
  12. ^ "MyLife.com: People-Searching Website Sued as 'Scam'". ABC News. August 19, 2011.
  13. ^ a b Hudson, Subrina (January 25, 2017). "Reunion.com founder seeks buyer for $7.5M Bel Air estate". The Real Deal: Los Angeles Real Estate News. Retrieved 5 December 2017.
  14. ^ "Mylife.com agrees to tell consumers about charges, automatic renewal". SeattlePi. Retrieved October 31, 2013.
  15. ^ "Washington State Challenges MyLife.com Ads". Consumeraffairs.com. October 12, 2012.
  16. ^ Manatt Phelps & Phillips LLP (May 1, 2015). "Rough life: MyLife.com to pay $1m and face injunction". Lexology. Retrieved 5 December 2017.
  17. ^ "MyLife.com to Pay Over $1 Million In Fines and Refunds". City of Santa Monica. Santa Monica, CA. Retrieved 2015-07-04.
  18. ^ "Mylife.com, Inc. Business Review". Better Business Bureau Los Angeles, CA - Serving the Silicon Valley BBB. Retrieved 2015-07-04.