Have you ever run a Google search on yourself? If you have, you know that there are literally hundreds of data broker websites that are happy to post your personal information. Everything from your full name, birth year, to your home address, telephone number, and your loved ones. It’s crazy.
The good news is that there are a number of services that can help automate the opt-out process for most of these major sites.
I’ve spent nearly a decade being obsessed with online privacy. As a person with a fairly unique name, I’m sensitive to what shows up about me in search — and spoiler alert: it’s a lot. I’ve dealt with opt-out requests on the vast majority of the data broker sites myself, and I know what it takes to get it done, and keep your personal data off of the internet.
The primary distinction between most of these services is that some are automated and some are not. Not every data broker website has an automated API or opt-out request capability, so the manual services have more coverage.
Next, you’ll need to consider that each service has their own list of sites that they support. If you’re looking to remove a specific listing (say Spokeo) then you’ll want to make sure the service you’re evaluating has it on their list of supported sites.
Finally, depending on how you typically use your name, most services have limits on the amount of name variants that you can remove. So if you have a full first name, a short version, a moniker, or other name that you often use, you’ll need to make sure all variants are covered.
This set of reviews is a bit unique, as we did not sign up for full versions in order to test. The fact is, that we only have one name and we were uncomfortable using fake names (John Doe). So, what we’ve done is simply review all of the service FAQ materials, websites, and speak to customer service where applicable in order to provide details on each of the services.