Trying to wipe digital footprints off the Internet can make cleaning your cluttered closet sound like fun.
After all, most Web services and social networks want to hold onto their members, not point them toward the exit. Plus everyone from the National Security Agency to advertisers wants to see what we’re up to these days.
But a new website, justdelete.me, aims to make erasing unwanted accounts easier. From Amazon to Reddit and Flickr to Goodreads, justdelete.me links to pages and online forms that can make digital accounts vanish.
It also grades different Web services by how difficult they make deleting an account, from green for “easy” to black for “impossible.” No matter how hard you try, Pinterest just won’t let you go. (You can close your account, but it’s never deleted.)
Frustration with Skype (hard) and Netflix (impossible) is what spurred a couple of tech users from the United Kingdom to create justdelete.me. But the worldwide desire for help in wiping away unwanted Web accounts caught the developers, one of whom is still a university student, by surprise.
“The response to justdelete.me has been incredible,” founder Robb Lewis wrote in a blog post a day after launching the site.
He’d hoped for a few hundred visitors. Ten days later, Lewis wrote that the site had garnered a million page views from more than 150 countries. The original list of hints for 16 different sites has grown to include intel on more than 200 Web services worldwide.
That’s a lot of digital clutter. □