I’ve blocked 61 online stores from using my data, and you should, too

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by cmmcburn

This isn’t your typical frugal win, but I’m too excited about not spending a penny last week to keep it to myself!

I’m sort of addicted to online shopping, and I’ve always struggled with the shopping season (Black Friday, Cyber Monday etc). The mere FOMO of missing out on a one-time sale is terrifying to me and makes me overspend.

Currently, there are over 440 companies that hold my data (see below how I discovered this). Of those, about 80 are online shopping websites. These 80 shops from which I’ve bought in the past are a real weakness for me. They target me like hell and it works well for them. Using my data and purchasing history, they target me with “personalized” deals that make me come back to their sites to shop again. Who knows, they might even sell my data to new online shops as I get targeted with similar things from other sites as well…

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So I decided to fight.

I had two goals:

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  • Reduce my exposure to sales and personalized discounts (so I won’t get tempted),
  • Increase the friction between me seeing a product online and actually purchasing it.

The solution I’ve found is to use Mine. There are plenty of tools that do the same, I chose this one because it has the largest user base (not affiliated with it, do what you wish). These kinds of tools show you which companies have your data and let you send deletion requests, and that’s exactly what I did for most of the shopping websites that hold my data. The exciting news is that most got back to me after a few days confirming they deleted my data!

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Here are the results from cleaning my data:

Company Category # Have My Data # Requests Sent # Completed Deletions
Technology 90 8 6
Shopping 79 65 61
Entertainment 59 10 10
Social 21 2 1
Other 160 28 18

No joke, I literally deleted 75% of the shopping websites that have my data! F*ck these targeted ads. I only kept some essential sites — like Amazon and eBay — but unsubscribed from their mailing lists. I promised myself that I would only go to these websites with specific intent.

This also helps me with my second goal as I will need to set up a new fresh account if I want to shop with the deleted stores again (which means more friction).

So all in all, for the first time ever, the total amount I spent during the Black Friday week is $0.00. It’s pretty good to feel in control again.


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