Just delete me! Ever wish you could say those magic words online and see old accounts, personal information, history and other details removed from the Internet? If you've ever tried, you know removing your tracks from the Internet is no easy task. However, with a multitude of security breech stories, tales of hacked accounts and stolen identities filling the news — not to mention the daily details we receive about Big Brother programs like the NSA and Prism — I'd say it's pretty natural that many are looking for ways to make their personal information a little more secure. Or, at the very least, remove some of the Internet tracks we've left over years of trekking through the web.
For anyone who has set about trying to remove personal information from searches, websites and accounts we no longer use, or delete histories, you know the task can be daunting. While some websites make it simple to remove yourself from their memory, others can make it pretty near impossible. It was for this reason Robb Lewis and Ed Poole set up a new information-removing help website called JustDelete.me.
"I came up with the idea when I saw this tweet about Skype making it difficult to delete your account. Ed [the designer of the site] also noticed he couldn't delete his Netflix account," Robb Lewis shared with iDesignTimes in an email.
— Aral Balkan (@aral) August 16, 2013
So what exactly does JustDelete.me do? This fledgling site was created out of a Github project with one goal in mind: to expedite the closing or removal of online accounts that hold histories and personal information about you and me. JustDelete.me includes popular accounts listings such as Amazon.com, LinkedIn, Digg, or Ebay. Starting with just 16 sites on day one, the creators have steadily added more sites, with 40 websites currently found on JustDelete.me. The Just Delete Me (JustDelete.me) website is simple to use, and what's even better — it's entirely free. Each website listed is color-coded in green, yellow, red or black, indicating the difficulty level for closing or removing the account and personal information (green = easy, black = impossible). Underneath the name of the website is also a "show info" link which, when clicked, offers a drop-down menu with instructions and details for completely removing the account and your personal information.
Clicking on the name of a listed website will take users of JustDelete.me directly to the account closing webpage, making removal of personal information from the web one step easier. Thankfully, many of these sites are listed in green; however, there are some red sites (difficult to remove) and even a few black sites (impossible). Some of the impossibles include Evernote, Go Daddy, Netflix and Starbucks.
So what should you do if a site listed as "Impossible" is one you really want your information removed from? JustDelete.me creator Robb Lewis offered this suggestion to iDesignTimes.
"Some sites (such as Netflix) claim they need to keep your account details in case you ever want to rejoin. This is obviously not desirable for some people who would prefer all their details deleted ... The best I can suggest for impossible sites is to contact the sites in question and request they delete your data on the basis that you do not agree to the terms and conditions any more. People have suggested that this does work in some cases, but not all."
According to Robb Lewis Facebook and Foursquare are the most popular sites people are deleting. The great thing is, both these sites are listed in the "easy" category. The Just Delete Me website has received far more visibility and traffic that 25-year-old web designer Robb Lewis or co-creator Ed Poole expected. With over 3,000 visitors in the first day, Robb Lewis notes on his blog that visitors have come from over 70 different countries, and one visitor was even an employee at Apple in Cupertino. The traffic flow to JustDelete.me isn't slowing down either. Both Lewis and Poole have tweeted about steady to increasing visitor flow as recently as Monday.
That moment when you wake up and your side project has more twitter followers than you... // @JustDeleteDotMe @rmlewisuk — Ed Poole (@_ewp) August 26, 2013
Big traffic spike. Hello Turkey. pic.twitter.com/5QQz4QU0Oq
— JustDelete.me (@JustDeleteDotMe) August 26, 2013
At this time, Lewis and Poole has no intentions of monetizing JustDelete.me, considering it more of a "side" project.
"At the moment we are trying to add sites that have been added via pull requests on Github and then work through the email submissions that visitors have sent in ... I want to expand the site to include as many services as possible and perhaps create country-specific versions as well".
Whatever their plans, we certainly congratulate the creators of JustDelete.me for their innovative thinking, and for creating a useful tool many can appreciate.