Zuck off, Zuck: Brit duo's JustDelete.Me nukes clingy web accounts
Bad news if you ever signed up for Gawker or GoDaddy, though...
Two British students have created a website designed to help people nuke their accounts with crappy online services.
The Portsmouth University pair claim to have received one million visits on their new website, JustDelete.me, which launched only two weeks ago.
Their site provides a one-stop shop for anyone looking to manage the amount of information held about them on the internet. Concerned surfers can log on and click though a directory of direct links to the account shutdown pages of services including Google, Mark Zuckerberg's Facebook and 200 others.
The students have also designed an extension for Chrome, which puts a little green dot on the omnibar whenever a user visits a site listed on the delete-me directory. Click on this dot and you're taken straight to the site's account shutdown page.
Each website is given a ranking telling you how easy it is to delete an account, with four rankings ranging from easy to impossible. Sites that are ranked "hard" are accompanied by the extra information needed to shut down accounts.
However, if you have ever spent time inside Nintendo's Animal Crossing community, tried a bit of Couchsurfing, subscribed to blogs run by Gawker Media, managed your life with Evernote or launched a website with the help of GoDaddy, you're outta luck - because the students claim your accounts "cannot be deleted".
The site was created by Robb Lewis (who presumably added the extra letter to make his name look a bit cooler) and Ed Poole.
Lewis said: “After seeing a few tweets about how difficult it can be to delete your Skype account and then hearing that Netflix won’t delete your details at all, we decided to build justdelete.me as a one-stop shop for people like me who get annoyed with the hoops you have to jump through to delete certain internet accounts.
“I think in the wake of the NSA and GCHQ scandals, people are far more aware of what data they are sharing, and leaving, on web services.
“By deleting old or unused accounts users can stop spam emails, reduce the amount of apps that have access to data and generally feel safe in the knowledge that they know what is online about them.”
The site is now gets about 30,000 new visitors a day, we're told, and has been translated into French, German, Italian, Russian and Portuguese.
Lewis added: “The response has been quite incredible and things have spiralled quickly. We started with links to 16 web services and have now added over 200 because the demand is obviously there.
“I can’t believe how fast it has become so popular – I guess there are a lot of people out there who are also frustrated by how something relatively straightforward can be made so complicated.”
The students don't actually know how many accounts have been killed as a consequence of the site's existence. But they do have a plan on how they're going to make money. Well, a bit of a plan.
“We plan to keep adding more services to the site so it is a near-complete directory and we’d also like to develop the translation options and the site usability. In terms of actually making money, it would be great to get long-term company sponsorship," Lewis added.
Dr Rich Boakes, senior lecturer at Portsmouth University's School of Computing, said: “This is a great example of the kind of collaborative open-source project that we encourage our students to create, be involved with and learn from in the School of Computing.
“It illustrates the web’s unique potential as a platform for individuals to not only share knowledge globally, but also to create tools that exploit and help extend it." ®