Just Delete Me: Ten Years Later


Ten years ago Ed Poole and I launched Just Delete Me. Just Delete Me, as I described it at the time, was:

a directory of urls to delete your account from web services

I wrote three blog posts in first ten days which you can read here:

As I recall we made it over the course of one Sunday afternoon and launched it the day after. The first day it had a decent amount of visitors (~3000) and then seemingly overnight it got picked up everywhere, including some huge sites:

We spent the next week or two frantically merging pull requests for new sites, going from the 16 we started with to over 100 in a very short space of time. We hit one million page views within nine days of launching and I was interviewed by the Wall Street Journal and a BBC radio station (I don't remember which one nor do I have the recording).

A few days after this I added a service to the site and marked it as difficult to delete, then tweeted about it. Within hours I got an email from their CEO (I won't name him but I will say maybe he had a day phone and a night phone) who was annoyed we had marked them as such and wanted to know what he could do to change that. To the best of my knowledge, they never actually did anything about it.

The only way to contribute to the site was to open a pull request on Github which wasn't great for non-developers so I set up a Google form to collect suggestions and links. We got so many pull requests I completely forgot about the form for a couple of months. When I did remember about it and logged in to have a look I was genuinely surprised to see there was thousands of submissions but most of them weren't suggestions for sites. There was hundreds of submissions that included peoples usernames and passwords for various sites (loads of Facebook ones) because they thought the form was a way to get me to delete their accounts. I promptly deleted that form and the associated sheet, I did not want to be responsible for that data.

Thanks to contributors the site eventually had translations into 20 or so languages and grew to have 476 sites listed at the time I sold it. At some stage in the first few months we put Google ads on the site (gross) and it paid my, admittedly small, rent for the next 2 years (not gross).

Unfortunately the person I sold it to let it go stagnant (turns out they just wanted the domain) but someone forked the project, put it up on a new domain (https://justdeleteme.xyz/) and continued adding sites. It now has over 1500 sites and services listed. This forked project also spun off two other projects based on the same premise: Just Get My Data and Just What's The Data.

The original version of the site was built with hopes, dreams, and duct tape a makefile and a whole lot of json files. If I was going to make this exact site today it would be significantly easier with Eleventy data files and I could probably avoid a lot of the merge conflicts we had in the early days with a better data structure. I also definitely wouldn't put Google ads on the site.

Just Delete Me is still my most popular project at least in terms of page views, although the Monzo Pot Image Generator has definitely been more consistent in terms of visits (and ~55k images generated).

Here's every link I collected about the site back then. Given it's been 10 years I'm guessing a lot of these are dead now.