Optery vs Incogni | Expert review

Optery is a personal data removal service provider. Founded in 2021, it works to remove customers’ personal information from data brokers, almost exclusively people search sites. There’s a lot that Optery does right, but this focus on people search sites at the expense of other data brokers is a major downside.

With more data removal services joining the fray year after year, customers are spoilt for choice. In this review, we’ll take a closer look at Optery’s offering and see how it holds up to the competition.

Cutting to the chase, Optery offers a good service that may well be for you but won’t be for everyone. Read on to get a clear picture of what it offers and how that stacks up in 2024.

Optery overview

Optery offers its individual customers four plans (and four similar ones for B2B customers). We’ve taken the first paid plan as our point of comparison, as the free plan doesn’t include any automated data removals. For completeness, we’re including the other two paid plans in our summary table below.

Starting price for 1 year$3.25/mo$12.42/mo$20.75/mo
Number of data brokers covered**110209317
Types of data brokers covered***109 people search sites (PSS)
1 unidentified
206 PSS1 risk mitigation2 unidentified297 PSS13 marketing1 risk mitigation6 unidentified
Frequency of records monitoringMonthlyMonthlyMonthly
Frequency of progress reportsQuarterlyQuarterlyQuarterly
Billing cycleMonthly or yearlyMonthly or yearlyMonthly or yearly
Money-back guarantee30-day30-day30-day
* We calculated the value based on the cheapest monthly price divided by the number of data brokers covered. Not every broker listed by Optery will necessarily hold your data.
** The Optery website claims “335+” data brokers in several prominent places, but the list of data brokers they provide contains a maximum of 317 brokers (including 6 unidentified ones).
*** We performed this categorization ourselves (Optery doesn’t offer a breakdown by type), some classifications are up for debate.

How Optery works

Optery offers one free and three paid plans, yet joining Optery is a smooth and easy process. Here are the broad strokes:

  1. Create a free account. Start here even if you intend to go with a paid account. You’ll need to provide your first and last name, city, state, and birth year.
  2. Check your exposure report. You’ll find it in your inbox within a few hours of signing up. You can also check your dashboard on the Optery website.
  3. Data removal. Either stay on the free plan and opt out by yourself or upgrade to a paid plan to have Optery do it for you.
  4. Repeated removals. Optery will resend opt-out requests on a monthly basis to any data brokers that haven’t confirmed data removal.

Optery data collection

You’re looking for a personal data removal service to limit your exposure online, so the last thing you need is for a service like this to make the problem worse. Optery, to its credit, requires only the bare minimum of personal data to identify and request the removal of your personal information.

This is all that Optery requires from you:

  • First name
  • Last name
  • Email address
  • City
  • State
  • Birth year.

After signing up, you can add further details to make it easier for Optery to zero in on your profiles:

  • Middle name
  • Aliases
  • Date of birth
  • Phone number
  • Home address
  • Relatives’ names.

Optery data sharing

Optery vehemently denies ever selling data to “any private, public, or government organization(s),” including data brokers. When it comes to the sharing of your personal information, Optery’s privacy policy suggests that it wouldn’t do so without its customers’ prior consent.

There’s good reason to believe that Optery is being truthful, given how consistently it has criticized personal information removal services like Onerep for their involvement with data brokers.

Optery pricing

Optery offers one free and three paid plans for individual customers and an analogous set of plans for companies. The pricing for the individual plans is as follows:

PlanBilled monthlyBilled yearly
Free Basic

The business plans are priced like this:

PlanBilled monthlyBilled yearly
Free Pro
Core Pro$5.00/mo$50.00/mo
Ultimate Pro$30.00/mo$300.00/mo
EnterpriseCustom / undisclosedCustom / undisclosed

Optery’s plans certainly don’t represent bad value for money, but given that each plan includes almost exclusively people search sites (at the cost of other data-broker types), we don’t find them to be such a compelling proposition. People search sites are just the visible tip of the data-broker iceberg.

Optery pros and cons 

Here’s a rundown of the key pros and cons we encountered while reviewing Optery:

• Great people search site coverage
• DIY option in free plan
• Before and after screenshots (for people search sites only)
• Exposure reports (including on free plan, people search sites only)
• Custom removals on Ultimate plan
• 30-day money-back guarantee
• Covers almost exclusively people search sites (representing only one of five major data broker categories)
• Pricing is only competitive at the lowest tier
• Cost per broker increases as the plans get more expensive
• US-only service

Final verdict on Optery

Optery gives every indication of being a trustworthy company and its personal information removal service seems to do what it claims. It’s worth digging deeper into those claims, though, to get a better sense of the value Optery offers its customers.

Virtually all of the data brokers on Optery’s lists are people search sites. The fact that these sites are publicly searchable makes it possible for Optery to offer its customers exposure reports and before and after screenshots. Unfortunately, people search sites are just one part of the broader data broker problem.

Marketing, recruitment, risk mitigation, and financial data brokers are just as important as people search sites—for many, they’re even more important. It’s these other kinds of data brokers that can lead to your insurance premiums mysteriously going up, your loan applications being rejected, and recruitment processes abruptly grinding to a halt.

It’s marketing data brokers, for example, that are most likely to be responsible for a lot of the spam, advertising, and behind-the-scenes profiling that many companies are only too happy to aim your way.

So Optery is a solid choice for anyone who’s interested in opting out of people search sites but doesn’t want to opt out of other kinds of data brokers. We can’t see why anyone would want to leave their profiles up with these other data brokers, though, and recommend that people remove their data from all data brokers.

Optery vs Incogni

Optery and Incogni, at first glance, look extremely similar. Incogni costs a little more per month but covers more data brokers—in fact, the cost per data broker is almost identical at 3 – 4 cents per broker per month. 

The differences between Optery and Incogni come into sharper relief once you take a closer look at the lists of data brokers that these data removal services cover. Optery focuses almost exclusively on people search sites, while Incogni has a mix of broker types. This leads to other differences between the two services.

Optery, for example, sends its customers exposure reports as well as before and after screenshots for successful removals. This is only possible with people search sites (other data brokers don’t make their profiles discoverable or searchable online), so Incogni—with its more varied data broker list—can’t do this.

Starting price for 1 year$6.49/mo$3.25/mo
Number of data brokers covered159110
Types of data brokers coveredPeople search
Risk mitigation
People search
Frequency of records monitored MonthlyMonthly
Frequency of progress reportsWeeklyMonthly
Billing cycleMonthlyYearlyMonthlyYearly
Money-back guarantee30-day30-day
* We calculated the value based on the cheapest monthly price divided by the number of data brokers covered. Not every broker listed by Optery will necessarily hold your data. This value metric comes out to $0.06/broker on the Extended plan and $0.07/broker on the Ultimate plan.

Optery vs Deleteme

Optery is the clear winner when compared to DeleteMe. Optery is both much cheaper than DeleteMe and represents greater value in terms of cost per data broker. Optery covers more data brokers than DeleteMe, although both services focus on people search sites to the exclusion of other broker types.

Optery vs Onerep

Optery trumps OneRep in terms of cost, value, and data-broker categories covered. OneRep doesn’t offer a money-back guarantee while Optery has a 30-day refund period. Optery would always have compared favorably with OneRep, but given OneRep’s collusion with data brokers, there’s no contest.

Optery vs Kanary

Kanary is pricier than Optery and offers almost twice as much value in terms of cost per data broker. Kanary covers 4 data-broker categories while Optery only covers one. Kanary also covers twice as many data brokers on a basic plan. So, in spite of the greater cost, Kanary is worth considering.

Why are data brokers such a problem?

Data brokers are companies that make money by sourcing, compiling, and selling people’s personal information, including yours. There are two main kinds of data brokers: one operates out in the open and is dangerous. The other prefers to stay in the shadows and is perhaps even more dangerous.

People search sites are data brokers that sell your data to anyone who’s willing and able to pay, often enticing new customers with cheap or free trial periods. These data brokers are the tip of the iceberg. You can find them by searching for various combinations of your full name, address, and phone number.

People search sites want to be found. They work by offering whoever’s looking you up a “teaser” of your personal data. They’ll show some basic details, hint at what else they’ve got, and then direct the searcher to a payment page for the full “background report.” They’ll sell to both individuals and organizations.

The remaining data brokers have no interest in being easily discoverable online. They don’t provide teasers for individual records and probably don’t want to deal with individual customers at all, preferring to sell to organizations and in bulk. They mostly stay behind the scenes, and that’s part of what makes them so insidious.

People search sites help scammers, stalkers, and identity thieves ply their trades. Other data brokers help spammers, advertisers, and all manner of institutions and businesses target you in various ways.

Having your personal information in circulation with data brokers can lead to everything from more spam and scam attempts to higher insurance premiums, declined loans, reduced job opportunities, and difficulties renting property.

What is a data removal service?

Thanks to data privacy laws like the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), data brokers pretty much have to stop collecting, repackaging, and selling your data when you ask them. So what’s the problem?

Well, each broker has its own procedure for accepting and acting on such requests and they have no interest in making these procedures easy to find or follow. In fact, many will go as far as they can to make the process too much of a hassle to bother while staying within the letter of the law.

This is one reason why opting out of data brokers manually isn’t really feasible for most people. Before you can follow each convoluted opt-out process, you’ll need to come up with a list of data brokers that have or are likely to have your personal information on file (and up for sale). This alone requires considerable time and effort.

The easiest data brokers to find are people search sites. These companies want to show up in online search results, so all you really need to do is search for your name, address, and/or phone number. Most data brokers will hide in the shadows and deal business-to-business; finding them will require some detective work.

Cobbling together a list of data brokers to opt out from—difficult as it is—is just the beginning. You’ve then got to find an opt-out process for each one and follow it to the letter to submit your data-removal request. All this, dozens of times. That’s hundreds of hours already. Then there are the re-submissions.

Many data brokers will re-add your personal data to their coffers some time after you’ve had it removed. The only way to catch them is to repeat the whole opt-out process a few times a year. A good data removal service will do this 3 – 4 times a year on your behalf.

All in all, the core function of a data removal service is nothing that you couldn’t do yourself. It’s just that it’d take hundreds of hours a year and probably a lot of stress to keep on top of. A good personal information removal service does all this for you and hardly needs you to lift a finger once you’re registered.

Optery FAQ

Is Optery a legitimate company?

Yes, Optery is a legitimate company. It has maintained a solid reputation since its founding in 2021, with PCMag’s Neil Rubenking even giving Optery the tech publication’s “Editor’s Choice” distinction in 2023.

Is Optery better than Incogni?

No, as good as Optery is, it’s not better than Incogni. What “better” means will differ from person to person, but given that Optery focuses almost exclusively on people search sites, many users will find Incogni’s “broad spectrum” approach more effective. People search sites are just the tip of the iceberg.

Is Optery Ultimate worth it?

Optery Ultimate is probably not worth it for the average user. The plan covers 317 data brokers, but almost 300 of these are people search sites, many of them interconnected. The Ultimate plan includes unlimited custom removals, but most users would find it easier to get a more balanced plan elsewhere.

What does Optery remove?

Optery removes your personal information, including your name, address, phone number, known associates, property records, criminal and court records, and much more from data brokers, mainly people search sites. An important limitation of Optery and similar services is that it can’t affect public records.

How often does Optery scan?

Optery rescans its database of data brokers at least once every 90 days, or monthly for paid users. Specializing in people search sites allows Optery to provide screenshots of users’ records each time a scan is performed, something that’s not possible with other kinds of data brokers.

Does Optery sell your data?

No, there’s no evidence that Optery sells your data. It seems particularly unlikely that it would do so, given how vocal it has been regarding, for example, Onerep’s relationships with data brokers. Optery’s privacy policy clearly states that it does not sell user data to third parties.

How long does it take for Optery to work?

Optery gets to work on removing your personal information from the data brokers in its database almost immediately. How long it’ll take for you to see tangible results with Optery depends on the data brokers and their response times. You can generally expect to see results within a few months.

Where is Optery located?

Optery is headquartered in California, in the San Francisco Bay Area, and is incorporated as a C corporation in Delaware, USA.

How does Optery work?

Optery works by contacting data brokers on its customers’ behalf and submitting opt-out requests in their names. This approach works thanks to various state and federal laws that compel these data brokers to honor such requests. Optery needs to collect and share some personal information to do this.

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