Growing Amount of Users Turning to People Search When Social Networks Fall Short

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While Facebook's numbers continue to grow, it remains a reality that not everyone is on Facebook. So where do you turn to find people that you're looking for online when they don't have a Facebook account, or even if they do, but Facebook's search results don't do the best job of providing the result you're looking for? An increasing number of people are turning to sites that are dedicated to this type of activity - people search. 

WebProNews exchanged some dialogue with Jeff Tinsley, CEO of MyLife, one such site that is on the rise in terms of unique users, and not only are people using the site, but they're paying for it. "You might think, 'Everyone is on Facebook.  Why would I ever pay for people search?'" the company tells us. "We're finding that consumers are willing to pay for specific content that is free from clutter – and when it comes to people search, this means a public directory that is free from unborn babies, cats and other crazy profiles that you might find on a free social network."

It is true that while Facebook is all about connecting people, its search functionality still leaves a bit to be desired. Plus there's the fact that there is more than just Facebook when it comes to a person having an online presence. "We have more than 2x the number of people that can be found in the United States vs. Facebook and more than Twitter/LinkedIn Combined," Tinsley tells WebProNews. 

MyLife created the below infographic that shows how much U.S. data some of the big social networks like Facebook and Twitter have, and what it has in comparison:

MyLife Illustrates People Search Data in U.S.

"You might be surprised that is the leading people search site in the U.S., with more than 230MM records of Americans available," the company says. "When it comes to running a business, MyLife has used the subscription model to quietly built $60MM in revenue in 2010, and is poised to grow 40% in 2011." 

Another thing that seems to be luring users is a tool that lets them know when their online presence is being sought after. "More than 2.4m people are registering at MyLife every month, with many being drawn to our unique 'Who's Searching for You' service that will show you who is searching for you and alert you via email when there are new searches."

"MyLife offers a highly specific people search service [and] provides members one place to find all the people that you need in your life, going well beyond friends alone," he adds. "We're finding that mega networks like Facebook primarily focus on connecting friends and improving your social life. Our goal at MyLife is to connect people for reasons of value - be it dating, career oriented goals like job-seeking or hiring, reconnections and local services, which is launching in just a couple of months." 

Of course a lot of people are just ending up at MyLife by way of search engines. They're searching on Google, for example, and it is a site like MyLife that ends up being the result that matches their query. "Close to 10 million people per month are visiting MyLife per month after starting their original search at Google and other search engines," Tinsley tells us. "And because we have the people that users want to find, the number is growing every month." Compete's numbers would seem to confirm this

MyLife says it gets its data from public records, the web and user-contributions. The company has been the subject of some controversy in the past, but this has clearly not prevented the site from growing.

Chris Crum
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.

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