Are you looking for a real in-depth review of Incogni? Or for the best alternative to Incogni?
|Europeans often prefer a service that is headquartered and available in Europe, such as Incogni.
|U.S. citizens often prefer a service that is headquartered in the United States, such as Optery
|Attractive and Intuitive User Interface
|Lack of scanning and visual screenshots, such as those provided by Optery
|No Affiliate Partnerships with Data Brokers
|No Family plans or Business plans, such as those provided by Optery
|Monthly and Yearly Billing Options
|Lacks coverage for many of the most popular data brokers
|Offers product bundle with other security and privacy tools
|Indiscriminate “batch and blast” opt out process
If you’re selecting a personal data removal service, we’re confident after reading this review you’ll save yourself loads of time and money in your search for the best product for your hard-earned money.
💡 Important Note to Current Customers of Incogni:
According to PCMag.com, one of Optery’s strengths is the free Optery Exposure Report. Existing Incogni customers can create a free Optery account and review the results of the free Optery Exposure Report scan to test Incogni’s performance and double-check Incogni’s work. Based on our research and testing, Optery finds ~50 exposed profiles for customers of other personal data removal services on average.
Incogni is a European based service, jointly owned by Surfshark, which is based in the Netherlands, and its parent company Nord Security, which is based in Lithuania. Incogni benefits from their parent company’s large marketing budgets, and the internet is filled with paid posts and affiliate marketers promoting Incogni, but for the reasons listed in this review, we believe Incogni’s product lags behind Optery in the market today.
In this review, packed with screenshots, charts, and detailed examples, we review Incogni, unpack the major differences with Optery and discuss why we’re 100% confident Optery is the smartest choice you can make when it comes to choosing a personal data removal service for yourself, your family, or your business. We believe Optery wins across the board on Affordability and Value, Data Broker Coverage, Exposure Reporting, Removals Process and Reporting, Flexible Billing Options, Support for Families, Support for Businesses and Data Security. Read on for a deep dive into most of these areas.
Last Updated January 2024. If you find incorrect or outdated information let us know at email@example.com and we’ll investigate right away.
Table of Contents:
- Introduction – What are Personal Data Removal Services?
- Incogni Company Profile
- Incogni Subscriptions & Pricing – Affordability, Value & Data Broker Coverage
- Incogni Scan – Exposure Reporting
- Incogni Removals Process and Reporting
- Incogni Flexible Billing Options
- Incogni Data Security Credentials
- Incogni Review Conclusion
🕵️ Introduction – What are Personal Data Removal Services?
Numerous companies collect and sell our personal details online, often without consent. This data, often from public records, includes sensitive information like home addresses, phone numbers, emails, and more. These entities are typically referred to as data brokers, or sometimes “people search sites”. They include well-known names like WhitePages, Spokeo, and BeenVerified.
Data removal services like Incogni and Optery help people remove their information from data broker sites. Opting out, or removing your information, from data brokers can help reduce the risks of stalking, identity theft, phishing, and spam. Different data removal services have different advantages and disadvantages.
This Incogni Review, which compares Incogni vs. Optery, assesses these two data removal services based on the criteria below:
Affordability and Value
Data Broker Coverage
Removals Process and Reporting
Flexible Billing Options
Support for Families
Support for Businesses
Data Security Credentials
⚖️ Incogni Company Profile
Surfshark was founded by Vytautas Kaziukonis in 2018. The company is based in Amsterdam in the Netherlands. Surfshark’s first product was a VPN of the same name. The company has since added more digital privacy products including search, antivirus tools, and in 2021 Surfshark released Incogni, its personal data removal service.
In 2022, Surfshark merged with Nord Security, another prominent VPN and data privacy company founded in 2012 in Lithuania.
What do people like about Incogni and what should you be aware of?
📈 On the Positive Side
If you’re based in Europe or Canada, and would like an affordable privacy and security bundle with basic personal data removal coverage, then Incogni is a good choice. While Optery provides international coverage for Optery for Business customers, there is currently a waiting list for individuals desiring coverage outside of the United States. Incogni is currently available outside the U.S., including Canada and the EU. Check their site for the full list of supported countries. Source.
However, for customers desiring maximum protection, Optery’s Ultimate plan offers far greater data broker coverage and more robust features and functionality as compared to Incogni. If you’re unsure, just create a free Optery account to try it out and compare.
💡 Optery provides international coverage for Optery for Business customers, but has a waiting list for individuals desiring coverage outside of the United States.
Additionally, the Incogni product is straightforward, user-friendly, and easy-to-use and understand. Incogni has simple pricing with both monthly and yearly billing options: $12.99/month or $77.88 per year. Overall, the Incogni app provides a clean and user-friendly customer experience, which is reflected in generally positive customer reviews online.
📉 On the Negative Side
Based on our research, and as described in more detail later this review, there are concerns that Incogni delivers its opt out requests to data brokers indiscriminately without first validating that your information is already present at the data broker. This can result in sharing your personal information with a data broker that may not have had it otherwise. In the majority of cases, Optery first validates that a data broker indeed has your information in its possession, before submitting the opt out request.
💡 Incogni does not cover many of the most requested data brokers, such as WhitePages.com, Spokeo, True People Search, Instant Checkmate, BeenVerified, and many others. We believe this leaves Incogni customers more exposed than Optery Ultimate plan customers, often leading to a false sense of security.
Based on our research, and as of the time of writing this review, Incogni does not appear to have any scanning, monitoring, or screenshot verification functionality whatsoever. In contrast ongoing scanning, monitoring and screenshots are a core part of Optery’s free and paid subscription plans. Without these, customers must trust Incogni’s efforts blindly, as they provide little accountability within the Incogni product itself.
At this time, Incogni does not accept multiple emails or name variations, nor does it offer plans for families, businesses, or API integrations. Optery, however, provides all of these.
Incogni does provide email support, but we could not find live chat support.
Finally, Incogni does not cover many of the most requested data brokers, that many people consider “table stakes” for a modern personal data removal service, such as WhitePages.com, Spokeo, True People Search, Instant Checkmate, BeenVerified, and many others.
We will dive into each of these pros and cons below in the body of this review.
📦 Incogni Subscriptions & Pricing – Affordability, Value & Data Broker Coverage
To summarize, Incogni offers monthly and yearly plans for $12.99 per month or $77.88 per year and this covers approximately ~150 data brokers. On the surface, this may seem like a good value option. However, upon closer examination, if personal data removal is what you are looking for, it is our view that you can get far better value with any one of Optery’s three subscription plan options: Core, Extended, or Ultimate – depending on what type of coverage you are looking for.
💨 Incogni Data Broker Coverage
Incogni covers approximately ~150 data broker sites. To Incogni’s credit, Incogni provides an easy-to-understand list of data brokers on their website that appears to be a straightforward and accurate representation of their coverage. Unlike DeleteMe, whose “Sites We Cover” page we believe is misleading as detailed in our DeleteMe Review, Incogni clearly states which data brokers are covered right on their website. Incogni also categorizes and ranks the data brokers based on risk and type, which is a nice touch.
Digging into the list brings us to an important point about Incogni. There is surprisingly little overlap between the data brokers covered by Incogni and those covered by competitors like Optery and DeleteMe, and they only recently began adding People Search Sites. PCMag.com pointed out this difference in their Incogni review as well:
We compared Incogni’s list of the ~150 data broker sites it covers with Optery’s list of the ~275 data broker sites it covers, and also cross referenced that with the list of data broker sites in the California Attorney General’s Data Broker Registry. Out of the ~150 data broker sites covered by Incogni, only ~55 overlap with Optery and the California Attorney General’s Data Broker Registry. In other words, ~60% of the data broker sites Incogni covers are not what would be considered “typical” or the type of “usual suspects” data brokers that even the California Attorney General’s data broker registry tracks. In fact, since most of the sites Incogni covers are not even tracked on the California Attorney General’s data broker registry, they may be of questionable value to paying customers versus the data broker sites covered by Optery.
We asked ChatGPT to “Name the most popular people search sites”, and then reconciled that list with the list of sites covered by Optery and Incogni. Based on the data in the chart below, Incogni has massive gaps in coverage of the most popular people search sites as compared to the far more comprehensive coverage Optery provides.
|Most Popular People Search Sites from ChatGPT
If you are not interested in removal from the most popular people search sites, and you are more interested in removal from niche marketing databases that most other personal data removal platforms do not cover, then Incogni could be the right solution for you. Many of the companies Incogni covers are not covered by Optery or other popular data removal services. Optery does see some of its more privacy conscious customers combine personal data removal services for maximum removals coverage when there is a low overlap across data removal services. As we can see in the list above, even though Incogni may cover non-standard data brokers that other services don’t cover, they are clearly missing some of the more popular and requested ones.
💡 “Coverage” is relative. Even though all data removal services offer “data broker coverage”, what “coverage” entails is not the same. Optery conducts automated scans, provides annotated screenshots, and performs rescans monthly to verify removal. Incogni and other data removal services appear to “batch and blast” opt out requests indiscriminately, and do not seem to offer any meaningful verification or scanning and monitoring technology.
🏷️ Incogni Pricing
Incogni’s monthly plan is $12.99 per month and their yearly plan is $77.88 billed up front for the year. On the pro side, it’s great that Incogni offers Monthly and Yearly billing options. Many companies do not offer the flexibility of monthly plans and instead try to lock customers into year-long contracts only. Monthly billing allows customers to test out a service without making a long-term commitment. Optery also offers both Monthly and Yearly subscription options, and provides the option to Pause your subscription at any time.
Incogni makes pricing clear and easy-to-understand with one plan and one list of the data brokers it covers. We find this refreshing since many personal data removal services conceal the list of sites they cover, or use misleading marketing tactics to embellish or inflate the scope of their coverage. Fortunately, Incogni does not engage in these regrettable tactics.
On the negative side, Incogni does not have options for Families, bulk plans for companies, or API integrations. Also, our research indicates Incogni does not support multiple name variations or email addresses. It appears that Incogni only supports the name and email address you sign up with, even though many people have multiple email addresses and names (e.g. some women may have both a married name and a maiden name). This can often make it difficult to eliminate all instances of exposed data for customers that have multiple name variations and emails.
🧐 How Does Incogni Compare with Optery in Coverage & Value?
Incogni’s straightforward pricing and transparent listing of covered data brokers are commendable. However, due to Incogni’s lack of coverage of many of the most popular people search sites, lack of Family plans, lack of Custom Removals functionality, lack of screenshot evidence proving their work, lack of ongoing monitoring and scanning technology, lack of support for multiple names and email addresses, we believe customers can find more value in an Optery Core, Extended or Ultimate plan subscription, depending on the customer’s needs. Optery’s product covers all of these areas and more.
Optery offers a range of plans starting at $3.99 per month, or $39 per year to $24.99 per month, or $249 per year, covering 110+ data broker sites to 315+ data broker sites and Unlimited Custom Removals respectively.
Optery’s services include monthly automated scans and removals, unlimited name variations (for Extended and Ultimate subscribers), Custom Requests (for Ultimate plan subscribers), and detailed exposure and removal reports. Optery allows customers to switch between different plans and terms, offers a family plan with discounts for additional members, Business plans, and an API plan. Additionally, Optery has a patented search technology and the most advanced data broker scanning software in the world. We believe this flexibility, coupled with its data broker coverage, makes Optery the more attractive option regardless of your needs.
As noted earlier, comparing Incogni’s coverage to Optery’s is tricky because of the differing concepts of coverage and the non-standard data brokers Incogni covers. Nevertheless, let’s attempt to compare each service in terms of Price and Number of data brokers covered.
|Incogni vs. Optery
|Price (per month)
|No. of Data Brokers Scanned
|No. of Data Brokers Removed
💡 Incogni’s Concept of “Value” – In this service comparison by Incogni, Incogni introduces its novel metric, “Value”, which is a price per data broker. Optery, who was awarded “Editors’ Choice” by PCMag.com over Incogni as the most outstanding product in the personal data removal category in 2022 and 2023, and the “Next Big Things in Tech” award for Security and Privacy by Fast Company in 2023, is conspicuously absent from Incogni’s comparison of the “top data removal companies” 🤔. We take this as a compliment that Incogni does not wish to voluntarily compare itself to Optery.
The Optery Extended plan is the closest plan to Incogni’s plan. It covers data removal from 205+ sites, provides profile visibility at 200+ sites, and costs $14.99 per month. In comparison, Incogni’s plan costs $12.99 per month, which covers approximately ~150 sites.
Optery also offers the Optery Core plan, which covers data removal from 110+ sites and provides profile visibility at 200+ sites. It only costs $3.99 per month. While this plan covers fewer data brokers compared to Incogni’s plan (110 for Optery compared to ~150 for Incogni), it is 75% cheaper than Incogni’s plan.
The Optery Core plan even beats Incogni according to their own “Value” metric, coming in as the least expensive per data broker, less than half of the cost of Incogni.
In addition, Optery offers a Free Basic plan that is free of charge. With this plan, you get profile visibility at 200+ sites, including screenshots. This can be useful for quality-checking the work of other data removal services such as Incogni.
📊 Incogni Scan – Exposure Reporting
Automated technology for scanning data broker web sites is a critical component of data removal services. Unfortunately Incogni does not provide any automated scanning technology in its product at all. Based on our research, it appears Incogni immediately sends removal requests to the data brokers it covers without first confirming the existence of your information at the data broker beforehand. This is an important point for data removal customers, as it can lead to the unwanted dissemination of your personal information to data brokers unnecessarily.
On the plus side, even though Incogni does not have a free tier or offer a free scan, similar to Optery, they do offer a 30-day money back guarantee. So consumers can sign up for an Incogni account, try out the service, and get a full refund if they cancel within 30 days.
💨 How Does Incogni Compare with Optery in Exposure Scanning & Reporting?
Optery offers the most comprehensive exposure scan results on the market with its patented search technology. Optery was the pioneer in providing a free report with dozens of screenshots of exposed profiles, as well as screenshots of before-and-after photos proving its work completing the removals. Furthermore, Optery’s exposure scans identify more exposed profiles than any other service, including Google.
Optery scans over 200+ data broker sites and discovers an average of approximately ~100 exposed profiles per user. When customers of other personal data removal services (e.g. Incogni, DeleteMe, etc) create a free Optery account for the free Optery scan, Optery finds ~50 exposed profiles the others have missed per user on average. Optery typically generates reports within ~30 minutes after the free sign up. These reports include real-time screenshots that demonstrate where your profile is exposed, providing tangible evidence of Optery’s effectiveness. Furthermore, Optery offers full and complete access to all the exposed profiles in the report without even requiring a credit card or a paid account.
Users can retrieve the results of their free Optery Exposure Report scan by clicking on the screenshot thumbnails from the Optery dashboard.
Clicking on a screenshot image thumbnail will open the image in a large and detailed screenshot with a red box around where on the data broker page your information has been located by Optery:
You can also visit the Optery Reports page to download the full Exposure Report in PDF:
Optery’s Free Basic account provides free self-service tools to submit your own opt-outs at the places where you have been found. This makes Optery useful for anyone, regardless of their ability to pay.
Because it does not currently offer any scanning technology, Incogni puts the burden on the user to find their own exposed information and validate removals.
📊 Incogni Removals Process and Reporting
🔧 Removals Process
The core function of a data removal service is to process data opt outs and removals. As noted, Incogni does not seem to perform any scans (although it is possible there may be scanning mechanisms that are not shared with the customer). Lacking the critical scanning function, it appears Incogni skips straight to submitting opt outs and removals. Immediately after signing up for an Incogni account, we were shown 112 removal requests had been sent. There was no indication of matched profiles, which again implies no scan took place.
After an additional ~10 minutes, Incogni indicated an additional 15 requests had been sent:
After checking back a few days later, Incogni reported 128 requests had been sent (an additional 10 requests), with 97 in progress and 31 completed. The fact that Incogni seems to send over 100 opt-out requests within 10 minutes of signing up indicates Incogni most likely automatically submits removal requests with no manual intervention or scanning or validation beforehand, and is effectively batching and blasting opt outs indiscriminently.
When you sign up for an Optery account, Optery uses your name and other info to find matches for your information among the millions of other profiles posted online. Optery’s scanning is fast, usually taking ~30 minutes, but it is not instant.
There are two issues with indiscriminate requests like these: Firstly, they expose more information than necessary. Secondly, indiscriminate requests are a low-cost low-impact way to process opt-outs, akin to a bulk email tool, *but* in this case, are priced comparably to more advanced and thorough approaches such as Optery, which includes patented search technology and industry-leading humans + machines opt out processes.
The main issue with blind requests is that they expose unnecessary consumer information. Some data brokers require the sharing of sensitive personal information to process the removal. While a data removal service may need to pass along this information in some cases, Incogni seems to handle this by sending opt-out requests to every data broker on their list, whether your profile is present or not.
Incogni assures users that it’s legally prohibited for data brokers to misuse the information provided in opt out request [source]. However, given the shady nature of data brokers, it’s wise to minimize the sharing of personal information. Optery, on the other hand, takes great care to only expose the minimum necessary information for profile removal.
Based on our research, the Incogni removals process appears to very basic and essentially bulk sends emails to the data broker opt out email addresses for its customers. Incogni does not appear to approach opt outs from a more sophisticated perspective with scanning technology and a multitude of opt out processes depending on the data broker.
🔭 Removals Reporting
For all personal data removal services, scanning and removals can take time. Because most data brokers do not process removal requests instantaneously, it can often take 30, 60, or even 90 days to see a significant difference in your exposure level. As a personal data removal service customer, it is important to track progress with regular status updates on your removals. Different companies address this in different ways. In the case of Optery, Optery provides configurable Removals Status Updates via email, real-time updates in the Optery app dashboard, and recurring Removal Reports with before-and-after screenshots both via email and downloadable from the Optery dashboard.
Incogni offers a dashboard that displays the number of requests sent, requests in progress, and requests completed.
Incogni also provides an “activity log” that lists completed requests, as well as a “detailed view” that provides additional information about the specific data broker. However, unlike Optery, there is no confirmation or screenshot to verify if your specific information was found or if a scan was conducted.
While the Incogni dashboard is easy to navigate, is visually appealing and gives the impression of real-time updates, there is no way to easily verify if the removals have actually been processed unless the customer manually performs searches for the information on their own at the data brokers themselves. It seems that it is the customer’s responsibility to manually check these websites to confirm their information has been removed.
📺 Incogni Lacks Screenshot Verification
Similar to the majority of other personal data removal services, Incogni does not provide visual evidence of scanning or removals via live screenshots. Incogni provides other reporting mechanisms. Visual proof via screenshots are the gold standard for removal verification, which is why Optery provides them. However, without screenshots or direct links to data broker profiles, users must trust that Incogni has: 1) correctly identified the matching profiles and 2) has correctly removed the profile on the customer’s behalf. Without screenshots or direct links to profiles, there’s no way verify your information was removed (or even found in the first place).
On the plus side, this problem is not unique to Incogni. Most other data removal companies do not have screenshots and no other company besides Optery offers the breadth and depth of before-and-after screenshots results. This is partly why PCMag awarded Optery their coveted “Editors’ Choice” award in 2022 and 2023, and why Fast Company awarded Optery their “Next Big Things in Tech” for Security and Privacy in 2023.
💳 Incogni Flexible Billing Options
Incogni offers straightforward pricing with monthly and yearly billing options. While Incogni does not provide a Family plan, they have expressed on their Help Desk that it is a priority.
Additionally, Incogni does not currently offer plans or an API for businesses. It is worth noting that Incogni’s monthly billing option is a convenient feature that sets them apart from most other personal data removal services that only offer a yearly billing option. However, customers should consider the limited coverage of data brokers and the absence of a Family plan option when evaluating the value of Incogni’s services.
🚀 How Does Incogni Compare with Optery in Flexible Billing Options?
In terms of pricing and coverage with flexible billing options, we believe Incogni falls short compared to Optery. Optery offers a Free Basic plan for self-service removal tools and a range of paid plans starting at $3.99/month and also provides maximum flexibility with Family plans, Business plans, monthly and yearly billing, the ability to pause your subscription at any time, and bulk purchases for developers via an API. Optery caters to every niche in the market with a multitude of plans and options. Therefore, customers looking for comprehensive protection and a variety of options may find Optery to be a more appealing choice.
Optery provides flexible Monthly or Yearly plans without lengthy contracts. You can pay month-to-month and pause or cancel at anytime. Optery also allows easy upgrades or downgrades between subscription tiers (Free Basic, Core, Extended, Ultimate) and plan terms (Monthly or Yearly) with pro-rated billing.
Optery for Family allows you to add and manage unlimited family members. To be clear, there is additional cost for each additional family member account managed. Discounts increase as more family members are added. Get 20% off all plans for 2 members, 25% off for 3 members, and 30% off for 4 or more members.
Optery also provides Optery for Business to small businesses and large enterprises with volume discounts based on the list pricing found on the Optery Pricing page. Users can create a free Optery for Business account and start using it right away, or they can contact Optery support for a live demo and to discuss custom pricing with our Sales team.
Incogni Data Security Credentials
Data security credentials are perhaps the most overlooked factor when choosing a personal data removal service. When selecting a personal data removal service, it’s crucial to choose one that prioritizes the security of your information and adheres to the highest data security standards.
💡 Through close analysis of Incogni’s web site and documentation materials, we found no evidence of Incogni having completed industry leading security audits such as the SOC 2, Type 2. Although we cannot say this for 100% certain, it does not appear Incogni has completed a SOC 2, Type 2 security audit.
💡 The majority of personal data removal services available on the market today have not undergone the rigors of an AICPA SOC 2 audit and lack verifiably robust data security controls and standards.
Unfortunately, we found no evidence of Incogni having SOC 2 certification. SOC 2 (System and Organization Controls 2) is a widely recognized auditing standard that focuses on the security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, and privacy of data within a company. Being SOC 2 certified means that a company has undergone a thorough evaluation of their controls and processes to ensure they meet these criteria.
While the lack of SOC 2 certification does not directly indicate a problem, it does indicate potential increased risk of data being mishandled or exposed due to the lacking of a reliable and industry standard third-party security audit.
How Does Incogni Compare with Optery in Data Security?
Firstly, Optery has publicly posted a detailed “Statement on Data Security” since Optery’s inception in 2021: https://www.optery.com/how-we-secure-your-data/
You can learn more about Optery’s data security practices from Optery’s Statement on Data Security, including that Optery has completed its AICPA SOC 2, Type 2 security audit, and makes its audit report available to select Optery for Business corporate customers under NDA.
Incogni Review Conclusion
Based on the analysis we’ve performed and that is summarized in this review, we believe Incogni falls short compared to Optery. While Incogni has an intuitive and visually appealing dashboard, and provides a straightforward and accurate representation of its coverage, it lacks the breadth of coverage across the most requested data brokers, it lacks robust features such as before-and-after screenshots for data removal verification, Family plans, and the ability to support multiple names, cities and states, and email addresses. We believe this ultimately limits the effectiveness of the Incogni personal data removal product as compared to Optery.
Optery’s exposure and removals reports include screenshots from sites with the user’s data, demonstrating successful removal and providing verification. Optery also offers monthly automated scanning and removals, a “humans + machines” approach to data removal, support for multiple names, past cities and states, and email addresses, and advanced features such as automated submission to the Google Outdated Content Removal tool. Optery stands out in data privacy monitoring and removal and we believe is far more robust of a service than Incogni.
Incogni does bundle its data removal service with other privacy and security tools such as an industry leading VPN and password manager, which provides good value and is something Optery does not currently provide. Additionally, Incogni is currently one of the only personal data removal services offering coverage to consumers in Canada and Europe (Optery offers international coverage to businesses, but there is currently a waiting list for individual consumers). However, if you are primarily concerned with finding the most effective and robust personal data removal tool on the market, the Incogni data removal service as a standalone product is more limited than Optery.
Another challenge we found with Incogni is its indiscriminate “batch and blast emails” approach to delivering opt out requests. Incogni delivers opt out requests to every data broker on their list, regardless of whether the user’s profile is there or not. This may expose consumer information to data brokers unnecessarily and raises doubts about Incogni’s ability to deliver a more sophisticated and nuanced data removal service. In contrast, Optery uses patented search technology to locate exposed profiles and primarily delivers opt out requests when it is reasonably certain a matched profile is exposed at the data broker, thereby reducing the risk of inadvertent data exposure.
In terms of industry standard security certifications, Optery provides more peace of mind having completed its AICPA SOC 2, Type 2 security certification, demonstrating its commitment to data security. Conversely, Incogni shares no information publicly regarding any security certifications it has received so we assume this is not something they have completed.
But don’t just take our word for it, Optery has been awarded the coveted “Editors’ Choice” by PCMag.com as the most outstanding personal data removal product on the market the last two years in a row in 2022 and 2023, and Fast Company awarded Optery “Next Big Things in Tech” for Security and Privacy in 2023.