Best Removal Service: OneRep, Kanary, or DeleteMe?
Apr 7, 2023
Kanary, OneRep, and DeleteMe. How are you different?
Our team recently had a zoom chat with a prospective customer from California. He is a technology leader at a big corporation and had heard a little bit about Kanary. He came to our discussion trying to understand how and why Kanary might be the best choice for him and his family, and possibly his company. We ended up having a great discussion and getting him started on our free trial.
If you’re also comparing options for privacy help, we thought it would be helpful to write up our take on what questions to consider and why they’re important. You shouldn’t take our word for it though. Always try before you buy (we offer a 2 week free trial that includes free removals).
Note: We don’t include price comparisons here because this may vary with different tiers and discounts, and at the end of the day, you want to make sure the service is quality before spending hard earned money.
Where are you based?
Kanary: Chicago, IL & Seattle, WA
DeleteMe: Cambridge, MA
OneRep: McLean, VA & possible non-US locations
Why does location matter?
If you are a US resident it is important to select a service based and operated in the United States. This is important because these companies are subject to US consumer protection laws and regulations. These laws, such as the California Consumer Privacy Act, require companies to take certain steps to protect user privacy and security. Being based in the US may also be an indicator of the quality of support the company provides. Companies that are based in the US may have easier access to technical talent and resources, which can lead to faster and more intelligent support.
Who are you associated with?
Kanary: Owned & operated by Kanaries Inc. We’re backed by privacy experts in tech like Mozilla and leaders at DuckDuckGo and Github.
DeleteMe: Owned & operated by Abine, a portfolio of security and privacy tools.
OneRep: Unknown, has paid data brokers for advertisements.
Why do associations matter?
The people behind a company will make the decisions about how the company charges for services, incorporates feedback from customers, builds products, and shares information. When a company is majority owned by Private Equity or Venture Capital, they are pressured to make decisions for their board to maximize revenues above all else. Having mission-aligned investors can indicate that the company is more likely to respect your privacy and security as you grow with their service. Investors who are aligned with the company's mission are more likely to prioritize the company's values and goals, which can lead to a more secure and private experience for customers.
What is your customer support like?
DeleteMe: Restricts support for only top paying tiers. Charges for additional support resources.
OneRep: Offers 24/7 email support but there are online complaints about their hostile downgrade/cancellation process: https://www.reddit.com/r/privacy/comments/hjndw3/comment/hvmc4ng/
Why does support matter for data monitoring and removal?
Keeping personal data private and secure is complicated and time-consuming. We put our best foot forward with automation but there are inevitable snags like...
a website changing its requirements for removal and asking for a birthdate or ID verification (this is hostile, should be illegal, but it happens)
finding a news article that can’t be removed off the news website but can be removed off of Google search results
We believe a company should offer responsive and helpful support to all customers. A good support team should guide you through the process, help you with research, and answer any questions you may have.
How many sites do you cover?
Kanary: We keep an updated list of sites we cover and aim to be the most transparent, honest, and helpful service when a site changes requirements to make it more difficult for you to remove yourself. We include all sites for all of our members!
DeleteMe: They keep a list on their site that is comparable to Kanary. But, many sites are limited to custom requests and top-tier accounts.
OneRep: Claim to cover 195 data brokers but does not list them on their site.
Why does the number of sites matter?
It does and it doesn’t. Your first concern should be about getting off the first page of Google. Your address or phone number popping up on page 1 of google is most often caused by the top 30-40 data brokers. While we continue to monitor and add support for the long tail of data brokers and harmful websites, the site count alone isn’t a great basis to select a solution. For example, some competitors “juice” their numbers to make it seem like you are more exposed than you really are. Kanary is dedicated to cover the most sites of any competitor while only showing you accurate results.
Do you automatically remove me from Google results, not just the underlying sites?
Kanary: We automatically get Google to clear their cached results about you. Some requests may require your help if we want Google to block a live result from being shown. We work with you on this.
Why does Google matter?
Google is the starting place for most amateur attackers (and some sophisticated attackers) to gather information on a target before taking action. By removing yourself from Google, you buy yourself time, and make yourself a harder target for amateurs to find. Google also matters because they take 3-6 months to remove a result even when its been deleted from the source site. You need to act right away to tell Google to de-index and clear their cache if a source result gets removed. Otherwise, that removal won’t do much - it will still be easily findable on Google. Kanary is the only site that handles this automatically for you.
What happens to my data on your platform?
Kanary: We never share or sell your information. When you leave our service, we completely delete your information. We don’t follow you around with trackers to target you with advertisements. We don’t buy data about you. We are limited in our website tracking, only to understand how people use our product. See our simple policy here: https://www.kanary.com/privacy-and-security.
Why do privacy policies matter?
Trusting a company to handling your sensitive information like name, address, and date of birth is a big deal. It’s especially a big deal if the task is to remove you from sketchy and unwanted sites. The truth is, these sites aren’t respectful of your privacy, so you should be careful when sharing personal information with them for the purposes of removal or redaction or opting out. We always recommend creating alias emails and fake information when sending requests. Unless you are certain the site is law-abiding, do not share copies of government ID or other private information. Kanary does the work for you of reviewing each site, testing their reliability, and assessing the risk of sharing personal details in order to verify identity and complete a removal.