I got a notice in my email that I was potentially a member of a class action against LinkedIn. What is the case?
The Action challenges LinkedIn's use of a service called Add Connections to grow its member base. Add Connections allows LinkedIn members to import contacts from their external email accounts and email connection invitations to one or more of those contacts inviting them to connect on LinkedIn. If a connection invitation is not accepted within a certain period of time, up to two "reminder emails" are sent reminding the recipient that the connection invitation is pending. 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 [plaintiffs seem to have other grievances but this is the only one they say the court validated].
You have got to be kidding me. How much time and money has been spent on this stupidity?
So I wanted to tell them to go screw themselves, and that this was not done in my name and I want nothing to do with it. Of course there are simple web forms for joining the class and asking for payment, but to be excluded one has to follow a series of detailed instructions and send a snail mail. Apparently if I do nothing I am part of this fraud whether I want to be or not. I particularly like the last line of the opt-out instructions (FAQ #9)
This request must include the case number of the Action (Case No. 5:13-CV-04303-LHK), your name, address, email address, phone number and signature, and a statement that you wish to be excluded from the Settlement Class. If the exclusion request does not include all of this information, or if it is sent to an address other than the above, or if it is not postmarked within the time specified, it will be invalid, and you will remain a member of the Settlement Class and be bound as a Class Member by the Settlement Agreement, if approved. “Mass” or “class” opt-outs purporting to be made on behalf of multiple persons or classes of persons shall not be allowed.
So mass torts purporting to be made on behalf of a class of persons without even consulting them are A-OK, but mass opt-outs from the class are not allowed.
Postscript: At first I thought the opt-out headache was the plaintiff's attorney trying to protect their fees, but their fees seem set. In retrospect, my guess is the difficult opt-out comes from the defense, because opting out leaves one eligible to sue again and having settled this one, I am sure LinkedIn does not want a second class trying to take a second bite of the apple.
Followup #2: Engadget's reaction to the case: Oh look, free money!
And the sum is likely to be small, though LinkedIn promised to increase the total amount by $750,000 if individual payouts are less than $10. Still, money is money, so if you're willing to swear that the company spammed folks on your behalf, you can apply for compensation here.
I do not know this author's politics, but I can say from personal experience that the majority of the most breathtakingly amoral statements about money I have heard in real life (ie excluding cartoon lines written by Hollywood for business people) have come from Progressives.