There are many many people who would like you to register for their web app or service. And lots of reasons why you should think carefully before doing so. One of the reasons is the fact that some of these sites don’t give you any option to unsubscribe, so once you’re hooked you’re theirs for ever.
Which means they have your email, name and whatever other information you gave them on registration. For ever. To do with what they wish. But there is a way to avoid the worst of these if you install the free AccountKiller SiteCheck bookmarklet in your web browser of choice.
This handy little tool will give you, at the click of a button, a reading as to how easy or hard it is to delete and de-register from a particular account. What’s more you get a link to the page describing exactly how to do it, which is very useful.
The site itself keeps a database of lots of online sites and services, graded by ease of account deletion. If it’s a black box it’s ‘blacklisted’, meaning there’s no way to delete an account, blue is whitelisted meaning there is a clear way to delete, and grey tells you there is possibly a way (e.g. sending them an email) but it’s not very obvious, and you may have to jump some hoops to get it done.
The bookmarklet is something we think should probably be baked into the major browsers as default, so you at least have a fighting chance when trying to decide whether to sign up to a service. But in the meantime, play safe with this little gem on your browser bar.