Mastodon Incogni: Is it worth it? – Sascha Wübbena

Incogni: Is it worth it?

We all leave traces on the Internet and in our daily lives. That should be clear to everyone. And we should also realize that our personal data is not always treated kindly. Information such as names, addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth and e-mail addresses are stolen, sold and misused. That’s why the phone occasionally rings because of supposed competitions or surveys, and that’s why there’s so much spam in your inbox.

You can’t really do anything about it. You can say on the phone that the number should be deleted from the list, but you have no feedback whether this has actually happened. Furthermore, you can click on “Unsubscribe from newsletter” (if available) in a spam e-mail, but unfortunately this usually confirms the e-mail address and makes it even more valuable for resale. And then there are the so-called data brokers, i.e., exchanges that collect and sell data on a large scale. Would you think of such a company off the top of your head? Exactly, I wouldn’t either.

A very cool approach

You may have been made aware of the Incogni service while watching YouTube. Various influencers are or have been advertising it. This made me prick up my ears because it’s precisely what you want and what you might be willing to spend money on. But what does Incogni do?

Incogni has a long list of such data brokers. They have set themselves the task of writing to their paying customers on their behalf and arranging for their data to be deleted. And of course, they invoke the GDPR (European General Data Protection Regulation), which gives every EU citizen the right to insist that their data be deleted. If I imagine having to search for such data traders myself, having to write to them myself and then having to keep track of whether the request has been complied with: the thought alone makes me lose interest. That’s why I’m more than enthusiastic about the idea Incogni is pursuing.

The website is kept simple, and you can find your way around fairly quickly. You register and enter some information about yourself (address, telephone number and e-mail address). This information is used to identify you to the respective retailers so that you know which data is to be deleted. And as soon as registration and payment have been completed, you are ready to go.

One or two responses from data brokers arrive relatively quickly by email. This is usually just a confirmation of receipt of the deletion request. However, the real music plays on Incogni‘s clear dashboard.

A nice, clear graphic that tells me how many companies no longer have any data available. But in an expanded view under “Detailed view” it goes into even more depth. Here is an overview of two requests that have already been completed:

The question now arises as to what “Completed” and “Broker suppressed” mean. This is also quickly explained:

Completed means that the deletion request was followed up and there was a positive response. In other words, data was deleted, or no data was available.

Broker suppressed goes one step further. This also confirms that data has been deleted or not found, but also that no more data will be recorded by me in the future. This permanently prevents information about me from being stored and processed.

So far, it all sounds pretty good. The requests were launched on 12 April and now (less than two weeks later) there are numerous responses. And some more are sure to follow.

Stopped halfway

But let’s move on to what I don’t like. And what I find infinitely unfortunate and really spoils my enjoyment of such a service.

Limited data reference. As already described, I naturally have to provide some information so that the brokers know which data they should delete. However, Incogni only allows me to enter ONE address, ONE phone number and ONE email address. But I have several e-mail addresses and telephone numbers. And I might also want to have former places of residence deleted. Unfortunately, this is not possible at the moment.

Inconsistent number of brokers. Incogni states that they currently have 170 such data brokers in their portfolio. And they are particularly proud of the fact that everything is automated. If this is really the case, why have only 42 cancellation requests been sent? There is simply a lack of information in the dashboard. And if Incogni only sends a certain number of requests per month, then it would make sense to include a note. Why not display a complete list of brokers and then indicate that the requests will be started later?

Not enough helpful information. If a cancellation request is already given to companies, data information would be very intriguing. When a process is completed, there is no information about whether data was available or not, and if so, what data was processed. It might be cool to know what the source was. I would like something like this because it would help me to be more aware of where I disclose personal information and where I might not.

No service for order refusal. What happens if a broker does not respond, does not delete data, and thus violates applicable European law? Nothing for Incogni. And that’s what I mean by “stopped halfway”. Because this is where it gets exciting and stressful for us customers. If there were appropriate services that could also take over this part, that would send a clear signal to the data traders. And that would be something I would be happy to continue paying for regularly.


You can tell that two hearts are beating inside me. On the one hand, I’m really thrilled that this service exists. And unfortunately, such a service is becoming increasingly necessary if you want to have some control over what happens to your data. On the other hand, there is still so much that is missing. For example, the ability to enter multiple addresses and e-mail addresses. But Incogni says it is working on this. In my opinion, that’s the least that needs to happen.

The service costs money. If you opt for an annual plan, you currently (as of April 2024) pay €78.00 per 12 months (50% discount). If you want to pay monthly and also cancel, you have to pay €13.00. You have a 30-day money-back guarantee, which in my opinion makes no sense at all because you can’t make a comprehensive judgement after one month.

After two weeks, I can’t say whether I will renew my subscription next year. But I can continue to observe the current year and will then decide in good time. And who knows, maybe something else will happen technically at Incogni.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *