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Why does Optery combine "Removed" and "Not Found" into one Removals Protection status?

Your Optery dashboard displays several Opt Out and Exposure Risk Statuses for each data broker such as Search in Process, Personal Info Found Exposed, Submitted, and Removed / Not Found.

We have combined the "Removed" and "Not Found" statuses into one status and sometimes customers ask us why we combine these two statuses.

Removing hundreds of thousands of profiles from data brokers is complicated work, and combining these two statuses dramatically simplifies reporting and tracking. In a perfect, simplified, and short term world, we would separate "Removed" and "Not Found" into two separate statuses. However, below are some examples of how this would cause challenges in the messy and complicated real world. For this reason, we combine "Removed" and "Not Found" into one status to keep things more simple and straight-forward.

Optery performs multiple different scans for customers to ensure we remove all instances of a customer's profile across different city, state and name variations. For example, let's say you've lived in five different cities in the past, and you have two different name variations (e.g. John and Johnathan or Kris and Kristine). For a single data broker, we might remove you from two different city and state and name combinations (e.g. John Smith in San Francisco, CA and Johnathan Smith in Los Angeles, CA), but then not find you with three other searches (e.g. John Smith in Chicago, IL and Johnathan Smith in Indianapolis, IN). In this case, for the same data broker, it is simultaneously true that you have been "Removed" and "Not Found".

Some customers are in such a great rush to get their profiles removed, they actually are submitting opt outs to data brokers at the same time we are. They want to get the personal information removed from the internet ASAP, and their rationale is that they will use both Optery and their own efforts simultaneously to hit the problem from different angles to get rid of the profiles ASAP. In this case, a profile might be found on the first scan, but then removed by the customer immediately, and before we have a chance to submit the removal request ourselves. In this case, Optery did not remove the profile, but it is no longer found.

Optery makes it really easy to upgrade and downgrade and pause subscription plans on a monthly basis and it is not uncommon for removals activity to happen during gaps in coverage. For example, if the plan was active for 6 months, then downgraded or paused, and then reactivated 3 months later. Since some data brokers can take weeks, or even months to comply with an opt out request, removals could be completed during the inactive months. When the plan is re-activated again 3 months later and the scan indicates the profile is "Not Found", it may be unclear if Optery's removals requests during the initial 6 months affected the removal, or if it was manual efforts by the customer during the gap in coverage.

Data brokers are constantly refreshing their databases and it is very common for Optery to remove a profile from a data broker, only for it to re-appear 6 - 9 months later. In this case, the profile was removed in the past, but is now found again.

To summarize, there are many "edge cases" where tracking "Removed" and "Not Found" as two separate statuses becomes very complicated and impractical for us to sort out at this time. Our product development resources are currently focused primarily on maximizing breadth and depth of removals at this time. We plan to address this request in the future, but have no timeline currently for when this should expected.

Updated on: 19/12/2023

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