Did you get an email from LinkedIn last week – something about a class action suit Perkins vs. LinkedIn? It might have seemed like spam, but it is actually a big deal, says Quartz.
LinkedIn informed its members on Friday that it settled a class action lawsuit for $13 million to pay members who felt that too many emails had been sent on their behalf from the social media platform. LinkedIn also agreed to pay up to $3.25 million in legal fees, and depending on how many members file claims, LinkedIn will pay another $750,000 to the settlement total.
You know that “Add Connections” feature on LinkedIn? It seems innocuous enough, serving up contacts from other connections for you to link to. When you click on “Add Connection” for a specific person, LinkedIn sends an email to that person on your behalf, indicating you want to connect.
If there is no response, LinkedIn sends another email, and then a third. According to the class action suit, LinkedIn members have agreed to let LinkedIn download their contacts and to send the initial email – but not to send the subsequent emails. As Quartz puts it, “that small amount of annoying persistence was enough to warrant a lawsuit.”
LinkedIn members can go to the website for the class action lawsuit to get more information, view case documents and FAQs, or to file a claim. The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California will make its final approval of the settlement after the December 14, 2015 deadline.
We love LinkedIn and its offerings, but we get way too many email and push notifications from the social media site. Among those notifications are the “add connection” reminders cited in the suit. We agree that these notifications are annoying and that we did not expressly give our permission for follow-up emails, but a class action lawsuit? Really? This does not seem like a good use of the U.S. district court’s time.
The lawsuit also won’t help LinkedIn’s bottom line which is already in the red. As of June 30, 2015, LinkedIn had total revenue of $711 million, a 33% increase year over year, but it posted a loss of $81.1 million, compared to $14.1 million profit for the same time last year. With growing losses and a $13.5 million class action settlement, LinkedIn will not be climbing into the black any time soon.
Lesson for other subscription companies: set expectations early, and be sure you clearly outline all of your privacy policies and permissions, so that subscribers and members know exactly what they are agreeing to. Don’t bury these important details in the fine print.
~ Dana E. Neuts, Subscription Insider