LinkedIn has been fined for using reminder emails to get people to sign up to its professional networking service. The company took it too far and used shady practices to get users to sign up.
The company sent an email to all of its millions of users on Friday, notifying them of the class action settlement related to email marketing. The company was fined $13 million and now has to pay that amount who have ever used its Add Connections facility. The settlement comes from the lawsuit that was filed in 2013 in California but is applicable to users worldwide.
LinkedIn’s Add Connections feature let the users import their email contacts into the company’s system and send invitations to people to join the network. The emails were sent on behalf of the user who sent the invitation. However, if a recipient did not accept the invitation within a certain time duration, the social network sent out two additional emails as reminders, repeating the invitation.
If you were a LinkedIn user between September 17th, 2011 and October 31, 2014, you could get around $10 from the settlement
People who were less familiar thought of these messages as spam. What made this worse was that the recipient thought the emails were continuously coming from the sender, a person they know. LinkedIn’s email persistence without the user’s consent was the cause of the lawsuit. The firm handling the case, Gilardi & Co., state “The Court found that members consented to importing their contacts and sending the connection invitation, but did not find that members consented to LinkedIn sending the two reminder emails.”
Within the emails received, ID numbers are stated that can be used to claim a part of that $13 million. Of course, the amount that will reduce down to something close to $10 after division into thousands of claimants. The amount could have been up to $750 per person had the original lawsuit claim, of causing mental anguish, been accepted.
LinkedIn’s payout will surely deter companies thinking of resorting to shady tactics to promote their brand
Although the payment seems big, it is nothing compared to the benefit that LinkedIn received due to these shady practices and violation of privacy of its users. Despite a successful legal claim against it, the company is yet to admit any wrongdoing.
LinkedIn’s pay-out covers email activity from September 17th, 2011 to October 31, 2014. Claims can be placed here. On the claim form, users must swear that were indeed users of the Add Connections service during this time and can be prosecuted if found guilty of lying. The deadline for filing claims is December 14th, 2015.