Friday, March 27, 2009

Is MyLife.com useful to genealogists?

Ancestry.com removed their United States Public Records Index with current names, and other information from their database offerings this week. Their new Public Records Index database page says:

"If you are looking to connect with living people, you can find current public information and more than 700 million profiles on MyLife.com."

I promised to evaluate it last week and have finally found the time to post my findings. Just how good is the http://www.mylife.com/ "people finder" database?

Here is the home page for http://www.mylife.com/. I have a FREE account. A premium account costs $5 per month (with a year's subscription) or $12 per month (for a three month subscription) - these are reduced rates:


A Search box for a person is right at the top center of the page - the user can input First Name, Last Name, Age, and State. In the left column, under the "Find Everyone" heading, is the opportunity to input your own hometown and state. In the right hand column, you can start your own family tree by inputting the names of your father and mother, which takes you to the Ancestry Member Tree page (which is free to input data). In the center column titled "All in One Place" is a chance to find out "Who is Searching For You," "People We Found For You," "Find Everyone You Know" and "Your Contacts."

Everybody needs to be careful with the "Find Everyone You Know" section - if you permit MyLife to access your email address book(s), then everyone in your address books will receive an email saying that you were looking for them and asking if they want to add their data to MyLife.com also.

I resisted doing everything on this page except for entering my own name, age and state into the Search Box to see what sort of information it provided about me. I tried doing this without the Age, and it would not let me search without an age. Here are the Search results for my criteria:



Two matches - both mine. Name, age, city/state and friends/family are offered. Neither one lists any other persons in the family. There are links for "View profile," "Send email," and "Connect for Free." I clicked on the "View Profile" for the first item to see what information is in the database:


Whoa. It offers nothing more for FREE. In order to see what additional information I have to subscribe and give them my credit card number. There is a handy list on the right that defines what each type of subscription offers:

For the FREE subscription, the user gets:

* Get Alerts When People Search For You
* Get Updates on Friends' Activities
* Share/Post Photos
* Create a Profile to Help People Find You
* Search for Anyone

For the PAID subscription, the site offers these additional features:

* See Who's Searching For You
* Find Out Who Is Trying to Reach You
* See Who's Visited Your Profile
* Get Ongoing Monitoring with Search Scout
* Get Expanded Search Scout Results
* Get Alerts on New Search Results
* View Expanded Personal Profiles
* Leave Comments and Messages
* Send Private Emails
* View Photo Albums
* Get free credit to purchase contact info

Well, aren't those features really special? I'm pretty underwhelmed.

Back to the Results screen, I clicked on the "Send Email" link and this email opened up (note my identifier in the header):


I filled in the form with an appropriate note and sent it off to myself. That was several days ago. I checked my new "Inbox" today (on the first page) and it is empty. I think it's because I'm not a paid subscriber.

I made searches for:
* My name Randall Seaver, which is what is in the phone books. It did not find any person with that name in CA.
* My wife: it found her in Chula Vista with my daughters names listed also, but not mine.
* My brothers: it found them in the places they live with their last two wives listed.
* My deceased mother: It didn't find her at all.

My conclusions about the FREE side of www.MyLife.com as a "people finder" tool:
* It might find living people with an approximate age in the city they currently live in. But then, it might not.
* It might find other residents of the household, but they might be wrong and/or incomplete.
* This is not a very good FREE People Finder service.

Obviously, I cannot determine if the PAID side of the web site will do a better job of finding living people and providing an address and a phone number (which is what Ancestry.com's Public Records Index did).

My opinion is that there are better People Finder web sites that can provide names, addresses, phone numbers, household members and ages than the FREE side of www.MyLife.com. For my genealogy research purposes, the free side of MyLife.com is pretty useless.

7 comments:

Joan Miller said...

Thanks for your article Randy. Has anyone tried either Public Records Pro (http://bit.ly/6REFu) or Government Records (http://bit.ly/vAo8L)? I've been tempted but don't know which is best or if there is a better alternative. Public Records will let you do an initial free search but you have to buy in to see more. I would like to hear people's experiences with either of these. Thanks.

van said...

I let my Ancestry account lapse (well technically my credit card was expired, and rather than ask for a new card Ancestry terminated me). I'd been thinking about re-subscribing soon but the loss of public record index is a huge blow and so I'll probably hold off a while.

As for mylife.com/reunion.com, uhh, I'll keep this low-key and just point everyone to this wikipedia article:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reunion.com

Joan Miller said...

P.S. to my above comment. Just realized Public Records >always< seems to find 12 results on the free search no matter what name you enter in....so is it really doing a free search or is that hype?

Howard N Camp said...

MyLife "stole" my contact list and sent unsolicited email using my name. I think there are better alternatives to finding live people - the one I like best is:
pipl.com - try it with Randy Seaver Chula Vista CA and see how many hit you get!

Howard Camp
Lincoln, Nebraska

Anonymous said...

MyLife.com should be boycotted. On my profile they list my ex-husband, neither a friend nor relative. They list 4 residences, they aren't all mine. I have spent 70+ e-mails and two phone calls asking for them to remove the EX (they haven't). I have asked for my entire profile to be removed, they won't remove it. They also have my name on my ex-husband's profile as his Friend/Family (which I am neither). They won't remove my name from his profile either and it still links to the profile on me. I highly resent that they have posted anything at all about me without my consent or permission and when asked to remove it, they won't. What they have posted is libel, as it is completely untrue. There are many, many, online complaints against this company.

Anonymous said...

Thank you. This information was very helpful.

Ajay said...

Thanks for such a nice article Randy.

I think Public Records always seems to find 12 results on the free search no matter what name you enter in....so is it really doing a free search or is that hype?