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 OneRep.
Here at Removaly, we prefer to dive deep, providing a comprehensive, 30,000-foot view of these data removal services. Why? We believe that trusting a service with removing your personal information is one of the most important steps you can take to retain and regain control over your PPI (personal private information). For this reason, we try to put competing data removal services on just as trained a microscope as the data brokers and people search websites they help remove.
Below, we dig into what OneRep is, who owns and runs the business, benefits and concerns with their business practices, and in-depth research on how Removaly compares to OneRep on factors such as data privacy, leadership teams, pricing strategies, available free resources for consumers, and the ease of cancellation of services.
What is OneRep?
OneRep is one of the most prolific data removal and opt out privacy services currently online. Started in 2015, this company, based out of Minsk, Belarus, offers removal from 105 (updated March 2021) different people search websites.
Their mission statement is: “OneRep was founded in 2015 with a singular focus: democratizing privacy. We accomplish this through automating the removal of unauthorized listings from people search sites.“
Who Runs This Company?
We aren’t the first data removal and opt out services to provide a deep dive on OneRep. Removaly competitor Privacy Duck has a good initial dive into this company. However, their review of OneRep as a competitor in the data removal space is extremely outdated, hasn’t been updated since 2017, but provides some good base research into this company.
In Privacy Duck’s review, where they delved into the site in 2017, the CEO of OneRep is noted as Dzmitry Bukuyazau. This person used to be listed as the key decision-maker in OneRep’s future. However, any presence of this person from OneRep has been scrubbed, including from his own LinkedIn profile. Instead, Bukuyazau is listed as the Product Manager for a company called BigSiteGroup, noted as “one of the leaders in digital identity verification in the US“.
BigSiteGroup doesn’t have a website, but their business profile on Park.By notes their website as nuwber.com, one of the data brokers that services such as OneRep are supposed to be fighting against.
UPDATE: Someone purposefully went through the process at some point since we first published this comparison to remove nuwber.com as the website for this entity on the Park.By resource noted above. Here it is now. Click here to view an archived version clearly showing the nuwber.com link.
Currently, OneRep lists their CEO and Founder as Dimitri Shelest, someone who has been listed as this role for over five years, yet is not mentioned anywhere in the Team About page until about 2018 or so (note, OneRep has hidden their site from caching services such as archive.org that allow you to view what a website looked like on a previous date). We dive more into Dimitri and other current members of the OneRep leadership team below.
We attempted to discern some information on just how many customers OneRep has. We noticed on their website that on the home page they tout 5,000+ new users joining every month (see below screenshot taken in late May 2021). To our knowledge “new users” would have to be paid users, as there is no free option.
However, when searching their business, their initial “billboard”, i.e. the meta information in a Google search that shows under the page title touts “3,300+ satisfied users across the USA”. See the below screenshot, taken on the same day.
While it may just be that the home page was updated before the meta description of the same page was updated, we struggle with understanding how they could have such a rapid increase in new users without increasing the number of website they monitor. All in all, we are unsure as to how many paid, subscription-opted members OneRep has.
OneRep Pros and Cons
In an effort to provide as much transparency as possible, and to avoid making this comparison guide a thinly-veiled sales tactic, we want to ensure that we note the advantages and potential disadvantages of the service we are comparing Removaly to. Below are some of the benefits of OneRep, as well as some of the concerns that we have noticed about their service offering.
Benefits of OneRep
Some Concerns Regarding OneRep
An Additional Discovered Concern: Continued Patterns of Dishonesty
We were recently made aware of a situation that arose in December 2020 between OneRep and the Committee to Protect Journalists. Based on screenshots and social media commentary, on December 1, 2020, OneRep digital marketing specialist Belarus-based Maria Shishkova sent an email to many members of the CPJ titled Journalists like you are under fire, personally. The body of the email can be found in the screenshot below:
This email went to TechCrunch security editor Zack Whittaker and many others associated with the CPJ. While the marketing effort and offer is not an issue in itself, the context in which it was sent is.
At 12:28pm, Whittaker tweeted the following:
Essentially, OneRep blatantly stated that they work with the Committee to Protect Journalists. However, such was not the case, as was confirmed by the CPJ themselves just a few hours later:
OneRep responded to the notice with the following: “We understand there was a breach of trust and would do anything possible to try and restore it. We made a grave mistake not asking for your permission before mentioning your org (in 1:1 private correspondence). We stand behind our service and welcome any questions about it.” Screenshot of tweet found below.
However, just a few hours later, Eva Galperin, Director of Cybersecurity at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, reported that OneRep was reporting accounts of journalists that Tweeted out the email they had received. Dishonesty and a lack of transparency is not something that data removal services want on their record.
How Removaly Compares
While it may seem difficult to compare two businesses that operate in such similar markets and offer such comparable services, you would be surprised if you start digging. And that is exactly what we did to compare Removaly to OneRep. 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
One of the optional pieces of personal information you provide to OneRep is a scan of the front and back of your drivers’ license. We do not require license-related information when filling out the personal information you would like removed from data broker websites via a Removaly subscription. We have no need for your personal documents with our services.
With Removaly, we don’t ask for this sensitive information upfront. If it is something we discover becomes required for a specific people search site or data broker, we will inform our subscribers and proceed with obtaining that information. Nevertheless, we choose to require less sensitive personal information from you to keep the process as pain-free and unobtrusive as possible.
Currently, for a full scan of your information across 35 data broker websites (and growing), we ask for the following information:
- First name, middle initial (if applicable), and last name
- Address (along with state and zip code)
- Phone number (a completely optional field)
The team image on OneRep’s about page is intimidating for us, a team of two. With what we can assume is their headquarters in Belarus, there appears to be about fifteen individuals on their team. OneRep currently lists five people on their leadership team:
- Dimitri Shelest, CEO & Founder
- Mark Kapczynski, SVP, Strategic Partnerships
- Mikalai Shershan, CTO
- Kristina Goncharova, Head of Marketing
- Oksana Serhiyenia, Head of Product
We were curious into the expertise of these leadership team members, so we dug through some LinkedIn profiles and more to get a better understanding of who captained the ship of one of our main competitors. Here are a few things we found.
In comparison to the above leadership team, Removaly is as straightforward as it gets, which is how we try to make everything around here. We are just two guys with families, who started a data removal service as a side gig after becoming exasperated with both the extensive private information on us that could be found online, and the lack of trustworthy, US-based opt out services.
Removaly is just Kyle and John, from the start. 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. John (that’s me) handles the marketing, social media, content development, SEO, and frontend website for Removaly, including writing guides like the one you are reading now.
Everything we do from the start has been 100% bootstrapped by Kyle and I, and therefore we are not beholden to a profit-centric model to pay back investors. Instead, we are fully customer-centric, focused on the task at hand: removing your private information from the internet.
Comparing Pricing Strategy
OneRep places a strong push into their paid plans, of which they currently offer three as of mid-March 2021: Family, Individual, and Individual+. All of their plans offer the following, per OneRep: Search results, links to exposed sites, auto-monitoring for new sites, opt-out for 101 sites, monthly email reporting, 24/7 email support, and a personal privacy assistant.
- Family: Their family plan is listed as their “best value”, offering opt out services to up to six people in one family. The annual cost for this service is $179.95 (or $15 per month, but paid all at once), and the month-to-month cost is $27.95 per month.
- Individual: Their individual plan is listed as their “most popular”, offering opt out services for a single person. The annual cost for this service is $99.95 (or $8.33 per month, but paid all at once), and the month-to-month cost is $14.95 per month.
- Individual+: This service touts removal from challenging websites that are not mentioned. We contacted OneRep for more information about this service, and they stated the following: “We don’t have the list of challenging websites as this list is individual and is negotiated on a case-by-case basis. However, it usually refers to court records, criminal records, articles with negative content and all additional sites not covered by the basic plan.”. The monthly cost for this enhanced service is $229.95 per month. They also note weekly scans with this service.
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 also are well aware that all email support is 24/7, and we perform close to real-time scans, instead of a once per month scan that OneRep provides, or a once per quarter scan that DeleteMe offers.
Much like OneRep, we offer three levels of Removaly Defender: 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 up to six people ($179.40 billed annually). This pricing is to scan and remove from 35 data brokers and people search websites.
With those numbers, our offerings cost less per scan than OneRep, with far more frequent scanning (daily versus monthly), and a personal touch that we at Removaly pride ourselves on.
Comparing Free Opt-Out Guides
One thing that we are incredibly impressed about with OneRep is their propensity for providing extensive free opt-out guides for those who prefer to save the money and spend the time to remove themselves from these people search websites. Their offerings were the inspiration for Removaly offering the opt-out guides that we currently offer.
However, with such an amalgamation of opt out guides available through OneRep (according to this article they offer free opt-out guides to over 250 services), there is a bit of an issue when it comes to keeping them updated.
These data removal services are constantly updating their opt-out process, URLs, interface, and more. It’s clear to see that many of OneRep’s opt-out guides are outdated and currently don’t work in a step-by-step process as instructed. In fact, OneRep makes it a point to tuck their free opt-out guides way down in the footer of their website, to ensure a stronger, more forceful push towards their premium, paid services.
For all intents and purposes, with a link hidden that thoroughly, it almost appears that the purpose of these free opt out guides is simply to rank organically for opt out related search terms (which they do).
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 Defender.
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
The first thing we noticed when we were doing our due diligence into the customer service and ease of cancellation aspect with OneRep was how convoluted the process was.
Fully unsubscribing from OneRep’s services requires you to call a customer support line, which can only be reached from 9:00am to 5:00pm Monday to Friday. Our attempts to cancel our service before the end of our free trial went unanswered via both email and chat.
Update: Additionally, I decided to try and send them a message via Reddit, as that is one of the points of contact on their website footer. I discovered that their Reddit account has been suspended.
In comparison, 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. For the quick, simple instructions on how to unsubscribe from Removaly, please see our comprehensive Unsubscribe page.
Our Final Thoughts: OneRep vs Removaly
With all of the above, we can confidently say that OneRep does what they say they do, but their process is outdated, their business practices are shady, their company history is questionable, and the location of their free opt out guides are purposefully hidden to make their paid services more front and center.