There are a few main data removal and opt out services available online in 2021. Right now, the main options are OneRep, DeleteMe, PrivacyDuck, Reputation Defender, and us, Removaly. In this comparison guide, we are going to focus on Removaly vs DeleteMe.
We at Removaly prefer to make our in-depth research public, providing a comprehensive review of all data removal service competitors in the market. Why is this? We believe that trusting a service with removing you and your family’s personal information is one of the most important things you can do to ensure control over your personal private information (PPI). For this reason, we take our microscope and turn it on our competition, not just the data brokers we are working together to remove your data from their predatory databases.
Below, we dig into what DeleteMe is, who runs and owns the company, advantages and disadvantages found with their business practices, and deep-dive research and comparisons on how Removaly compares to DeleteMe on such factors as data privacy, leadership teams, pricing strategies, available free resources for consumers, and ease at which the services and can be canceled.
This is a long comparison, so if you’re looking for a specific section, click one of the links in the list below to jump to that heading:
- What is DeleteMe?
- DeleteMe Pros and Cons
- How Removaly Compares
- Our Final Thoughts
What is DeleteMe?
DeleteMe by Abine was one of the first data removal websites to hit the mainstream. Founded and funded in 2011, the founders had a story similar to Removaly, where they understood the issues with navigating privacy and personal information in the rapidly evolving digital universe. Per their website: “The ways in which third parties are collecting people’s information is constantly changing, and DeleteMe has continuously evolved to address these challenges for today and tomorrow.“
Unlike some other competitors, DeleteMe is owned and operated in the United States, and runs what we consider to be a high-quality operation. While we have found some causes for concern in our comprehensive deep dive, this service is, for the most part, a well-oiled machine. As they state: “DeleteMe is led by a passionate team, backed by premier investment firms, and supercharged by a strong mission to empower consumers with privacy.“
Who Runs This Company?
DeleteMe was founded by Rob Shavell, Andrew Sudbury, and Eugene Kuznetsov in 2011. As of May 2021, All three remain heavily involved with DeleteMe via parent company Abine. Rob Shavell serves as the chief executive officer, Andrew Sudbury is the chief technology officer, and Eugene services as Abine chairman.
We dig a bit further into each of their available team members in the below section Comparing Teams.
DeleteMe Pros and Cons
We at Removaly strive to provide the highest levels of transparency in our due diligence. To avoid making this comparison guide nothing more than a sales tactic, we want to ensure we note the benefits, as well as potential pain points, of the service we are comparing Removaly to. Below are some of the benefits of DeleteMe, as well as some of the concerns we have noticed about their service offering.
Benefits of DeleteMe
Some Concerns Regarding DeleteMe
How Removaly Compares
While it may seem difficult to compare two businesses that operate in such similar markets and offer comparable services, you would be extremely surprised if you start digging. And that is exactly what we did to compare Removaly to DeleteMe. Below, we have dug into comparisons of data privacy, leadership teams, pricing strategies, free opt-out guide availability, and the ease at which customers can unsubscribe from their subscription.
Comparing Data Privacy AND PROCESSES
DeleteMe has an extremely well-designed backend dashboard for paid users, which was redesigned and launched on April 16th, 2021. However, while there are plenty of cards and pieces of information available for quick view, I found as a subscriber that it lacked the robust data nature that I really wanted when looking into a dashboard, and was instead focused on providing information that was not data-driven, as well as multiple locations for attempted upsell.
In contrast, Removaly’s dashboard for users is highly-data driven, contains only information pertinent to getting your personal information removed from the Internet, and doesn’t attempt to upsell you on any aspect of the data removal process.
About The Main DeleteMe Dashboard
At the top of the DeleteMe dashboard is a dropdown to toggle between users when you have a multiple-user plan. I had an annual, two-person plan through DeleteMe. The top three cards let me know my last report data with a link to view the report, my subscription package and an upsell to the next level of package at a higher cost but a less frequent rebill, and a quick link to update the Data Sheet (which can also be found on the left sidebar).
The second row of cards provides a high-level overview of total records reviewed, total data brokers removed from (for me, it was a total of 37), and the number of data brokers who currently have my information (for me, there were two).
About The Other Dashboard Screens
The sidebar screen options are Dashboard, Reports, Data Sheet, Account, and Family & Referrals. The Reports tab links you to your report archive for each family member, broken out by year, and further by quarter, linking to PDFs. Family & Referrals provides you with a referral link with which you can earn commissions by bringing other users into the service from a paid subscription standpoint.
The Data Sheet tab is important, even if the user interface seems like more of an attempt at an up-sell. As mentioned, I subscribed to the one-year two-person plan, so I received up-sell cards for two-year two-person, and a three-person one year, neither of which I had a want or need for, but still took half the screen.
Co-Founder Note: Removaly is focused on customer service over the pursuit of profitability. As a result, we are not on a constant push to upsell services to existing customers. We only recommend you upgrade to our paid service when there are clear opportunities to save you time in the removal process.
More About Custom Requests
Additionally, DeleteMe now offers Custom Requests, where you can request your entries in specific sites outside their current list of removal options to be deleted.
I tested this service offering out with an instance of CheckThem that I found for my name. Once almost a month and a half had passed without my custom request ever going past “In Progress”. In that time, I also received another quarterly report from DeleteMe, auto-generated from their script and sent as a PDF, that mentioned CheckThem but only that it was in progress still.
Eventually, I decided it was best to unsubscribe. The process to do so was pretty easy, and is covered under Ease of Cancellation below. However, my account remains active until December 2021, as I have paid for the full year in advance. As of writing this paragraph on June 20th, 2021, I am at over two months since I requested the CheckThem opt out, and my request still remains in progress.
Comparatively, when I found the issue with CheckThem and DeleteMe’s slow speed of tending to the custom removal request, I spoke with Kyle about it. In just a couple days, he was able to code in CheckThem into the list of sites we cover with Removaly’s automated platform, and in 24 hours after the site was added, my listing in CheckThem had been removed, and we can do the same for you as a customer of Removaly’s automated service.
This is just one example of how Removaly provides a far stronger user experience overall for our customers. We can add in new data brokers and people search sites as found in an average of five days, and start scans for all existing customers on that data broker site the same day.
Let’s ignore the fact that the six-wide circular profile images under the “Get access to our privacy experts” section are all stock photos, and not actual experts. In fact, we found these six images in multiple other locations on the web:
Instead, we need to head to their About Us page to get the six profiles for their leadership team, the three co-founders of which are outlined below.
In addition to the three co-founders, Joe Sutton acts as business privacy manager, however a few sources we have found, including this and this, note him as the head of DeleteMe. Ravi Shankar is the chief opt-out specialist, but is noted as a Senior Software Engineer at Abine, Inc. on LinkedIn, based out of Karnataka, India. Finally, Will Simonds is noted as the director of content, but on LinkedIn is the Director of Operations.
In comparison to the above-mentioned DeleteMe leadership team, Removaly has an incredibly low-burden, low-stress situation (which is honestly our goal with just about everything we do with this company). We are just two dudes with families of our own, who started Removaly as a side gig after becoming annoyed with the extensive amount of PII that was available for us online, and a lack of trustworthy and timely data removal services.
Removaly has been just Kyle and I from the start, and continues to be just the two of us now.
Kyle is the coding wizard, a jack-of-all-trades digital professional who built the backend of this beautiful data removal service from the ground up, and provided extensive expertise in all aspects of starting, maintaining, and running a successful SaaS business. If there is something with Removaly that involves coding and automation, Kyle is the one pulling the strings and making the gears move.
John (that’s me) handles the end-to-end digital marketing, social media management, content development, search engine optimization (SEO), and the frontend website for Removaly, including writing guides like the one you are reading now.
Unlike DeleteMe, Removaly has received zero funding from venture capitalists or investors of any kind. Every decision we make, and everything we do from day one, has been completely bootstrapped by Kyle and I. Therefore, we are not beholden to profit-centric models for investor repayment. We pride ourselves on being customer-focused, centered on the goal: removing your personal information from the internet.
Comparing Pricing Strategy
DeleteMe places a strong push into their paid plans, of which they currently offer four as of mid-April 2021: DeleteMe for One Person, DeleteMe for Two People, DeleteMe Family Plan, and DeleteMe for Business. These services can be billed on an annual basis, or on a biennial basis (bill every two years).
- DeleteMe for One Person: DeleteMe for One Person is just as it states: their opt out services for a single individual. The annual cost for this service is $129.00, or $10.75 per month, but paid all at once, and the biennial cost for this service is $209.00 charged every two years, or $8.71 per month.
- DeleteMe for Two People: DeleteMe for Two People provides comprehensive opt out services for two people. The annual cost for this service is $229.00, or $19.08 per month, but paid all at once, and the biennial cost for this service is $349.00 charged every two years, or $14.54 per month.
- DeleteMe Family Plan: The DeleteMe Family Plan provides DeleteMe’s opt out services for a family of up to four people. The annual cost for this service is $329.00, or $27.42 per month, but paid all at once, and the biennial cost for this service is $499.00 charged every two years, or $20.79 per month.
- DeleteMe for Business: DeleteMe offers a business/enterprise level plan that appears to be a batch deletion offer available for businesses looking to remove the personal data of their executive and leadership team. Definitely a step up from the offerings provided by services such as OneRep.
In comparison, Removaly is focused on simplicity and transparency. Everything is billed annually, ensuring a clean and smooth process with minimal financial confusion on your part. One payment, and you are good for a year. We perform daily scans, instead of a once per month scan that OneRep provides, or a once per quarter scan that DeleteMe offers.
Much like DeleteMe, we offer three levels of Removaly’s paid service: Premium, Premium Couple, and Premium Family. The costs associated are $9.95 per month for one person ($119.40 billed annually), $12.95 per month for two people ($155.40 billed annually), or $14.95 per month for a family of as many family members as necessary ($179.40 billed annually).
With those numbers, our offerings cost significantly less per site scanned than DeleteMe, with more robust customer service, far more frequent scanning, and a personal touch that we at Removaly pride ourselves on.
Comparing Free Opt-Out Guides
While DeleteMe’s DIY Opt-Out Guide page only features six actual opt out guides as their most requested (Spokeo, MyLife, Radaris, Whitepages, Intelius, and BeenVerified… essentially the “Big Six”), they actually offer over 300 different opt-out guides for users. However, finding these opt out guides proves to be a bit difficult if you don’t know exactly what people search service or data broker you are looking to remove your data from.
To determine their actual load of opt-out guides, I Googled the phrase site:https://joindeleteme.com/help/kb/ “how to remove yourself from”.
However, as I started looking through some of these opt-out guides, a pattern started to emerge that caused me a bit of concern. I noted multiple things that gave me pause.
- While over 300 guides are impressive, many of them are around 100 words or less, a few images, and similar step by step approaches, with minimal additional information, tips, or pointers to help the process go as smoothly as possible. In comparison, our do-it-yourself opt out guides clock in at 2,000 words at the least, ensuring no stone is left unturned and all questions are answered. We do our research and due diligence, as can be seen with this comparison guide alone.
- The end of each guide is a massive, intrusive square area with a huge red button recommending you sign up for their paid service. For some of the guides, 30% of the content is an upsell for their paid opt-out services. They also attempt to upsell their Blur services for masked emailing in many of the opt-out guides.
- Many of these opt-out guides were outdated regarding the links to use to opt out, screenshots for which buttons to click, and what to do with verification emails. It appears that DeleteMe goes into the guides and changes the date of publish to appear more recent date-wise in Google searches, but doesn’t change any of the content. As a result, some of the guides, especially those that are less trafficked, have been basically untouched since 2018 or earlier.
In comparison, Removaly offers fewer opt-out guides overall but ensures that the opt-out guides we do provide are as up-to-date and comprehensive as possible. Removaly’s co-founder John makes it a point to ensure that there is perfect synchronization between our free opt-out guides provided on the front end of the website to visitors looking for a more DIY approach, and the robust automation and backend platform that Kyle developed and maintains as a smooth-running machine.
Our free opt-out guides dive deep into everything you would want to know about these people search and data broker websites, a step-by-step, easy-to-follow approach to searching for your data, and a thorough primer on the process of deleting your information without utilizing services such as Removaly’s paid automated service.
We put our massive free opt-out guides front and center on our home page, to ensure that, regardless of your buyer intent, you have the information you need to keep yourself and your family safe.
Comparing Ease Of Cancellation
When you are a DeleteMe subscriber, the option for cancellation can be found on the Account Subscription page, which can be found here. On that page, there is a simple toggle to turn off your auto-renewal.
When you click this toggle, there is a pop up that says “Turn OFF auto-renew: are you sure you want to turn OFF auto-renewal for this order?” You are also asked to give a reason for your disabling of auto renewal. You are not allowed to hit the Submit button until you fill something out in the message box. Once you fill the box out, you can hit Submit, then the page refreshes and the ORDER DATE and RENEWS dates shown above turn into ORDER DATE and EXPIRES.
Overall, a surprisingly simple process. I also received an email titled “Confirmation: Your DeleteMe Subscription Has Been Cancelled“. It wasn’t intrusive, and said the following:
This email is just a confirmation that you’ve cancelled the automatic renewal of your DeleteMe subscription as of June 13th, 2021. Note: Your subscription will remain active until December 12th, 2021. Didn’t mean to cancel? Click below to login and select the “Renew Now” option.
Much like the simple process to unsubscribe from DeleteMe’s services, we at Removaly want to ensure that if you are unhappy with your subscription, the process to cancel and handle the opt-out process on your own with Removaly Monitoring is as low-hassle as our service offering.
Our Final Thoughts: Removaly vs DeleteMe
Overall, despite a few hiccups I found in my deep-dive research into DeleteMe, I am impressed with DeleteMe’s overall business structure. While I have concerns about the rate at which scans are performed, the security of user data, and the rate at which free opt-out guides are updated with new information, I am confident that DeleteMe is currently the most effective opt-out service outside of Removaly.
Some of the positives I found were their quick response to general customer service requests, their intuitive dashboard interface, and the fact that they are mostly US-based with a strong background in the data privacy sector. Some of the negatives included past data privacy issues with their sister service Blur, quarterly scans instead of a more frequent scanning structure, and a lack of response to any custom requests outside their list of sites they actively remove from.