Unsubscribe.com launched last week and got a lot of attention almost immediately. After a week of using it, I think I can say that it’s definitely something most savvy social networking users should have in their toolbox.
Unsubscribe has plugins for Firefox, Chrome and Safari that interact with the user’s social networking on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Just signing up for the service is worth the couple of minutes because of what it will help you do to scrub those three networks of undesirables you probably didn’t know where there.
Every one of those three networks has developer APIs that allow you to give permission to do all kinds of things. Some need access to all of your data on that network while others are a little less needy. If you’re like me, you’ve probably given permissions to apps you’ve totally forgotten about. But they’re still there.
The hyper-vigilant will have gone through and scrubbed their accounts. I’m not hyper, but I’m vigilant and many have already been removed. A friend of mine tried Unsubscribe as well and he (who will remain anonymous, since he’s not nearly as vigilant) literally had over 40 Facebook apps alone that he hadn’t used in over a year.
The way Unsubscribe works is simple: you sign up for a free account, plug in your Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter account names, and it presents you with a list of apps that have permissions from those accounts. You can look at each social network individually or all at once.
Unsubscribe lists the apps in alphabetical order and gives information in visual form on their access level (to your info), reputation, the last time you accessed it, and their recommendation to you for the app. Each of these info graphics can be hovered over for more information.
You can unsbuscribe from apps through the site (hence the name) either one at a time or by checking them off and doing it in bulk. Getting rid of five apps (for me) took about three minutes individually. My friend with the 40? He reports they were all done in about six minutes using the bulk unsub option.
Just that service alone is worth the time and effort for Unsubscribe. However, now comes the plug-in bit.
The plugin pops up an “Are you sure?” screen whenever you opt to give an app permissions through one of those three networks. This quick reminder includes Unsubscribe’s assessment of the app, what kind of access it’s asking for, etc. You can use that popup screen to safely move away from the app’s signup (giving no permissions) or you can OK it anyway.
This is a very cool service and one that’s very much needed today.