LinkedIn’s Class Action Lawsuit Is Waiting for Your Response

Honesty time: who among us activated LinkedIn’s “Add Connections” feature? You know, the one that lets LinkedIn scan your email address book and beg everyone to connect with you?

I did not, because I hate getting those emails.

But now I kinda wish I had, because LinkedIn is planning to pay out $13 million to users who elected to Add Connections.

As Quartz explains:

One of the ways to add connections on the business-minded social network is to sync up your email address book with LinkedIn, see who’s on the site, and click to add them. LinkedIn calls this feature, “Add Connections.” LinkedIn then sends that person an email saying that you want to connect. If that person doesn’t respond, it sends another email. And then another. A class action suit was brought against the company in California, claiming that LinkedIn members had agreed to let the site download its contacts, and send an email on their behalf, but not the two follow-up emails. That small amount of annoying persistence was enough to warrant a lawsuit.

I love everything about this. I mean, I always hated those follow-up emails, because if I had wanted to connect with that person on LinkedIn I would have done it the first time, but I love that LinkedIn members were able to sue, and I love that LinkedIn had to settle with them in court.

Verge explains that the court actually found these repeated emails harmful:

While it’s true that the court didn’t see any issues with the initial emails sent out through LinkedIn’s Add Connections feature, it actually found that users may have been harmed by the second and third emails. That’s probably why LinkedIn has decided to go ahead and pay out $13 million in a settlement.

I know that the legal definition of “harm” is probably not the one I’m thinking of right now, but I love that we have an official record stating that follow-up emails are not only annoying, but also harmful.

Verge also notes that “the settlement must still be approved in court,” but that didn’t stop LinkedIn from sending out emails to many of its users to announce the proposed settlement. If you used LinkedIn’s Add Connections feature between Sept. 17, 2011 and Oct. 31, 2014, you might already have received an email from LinkedIn; if you did not receive this email and you believe you are eligible for some of the $13 million, you can submit your claim.

How much are you likely to receive? As LinkedIn wrote in its email:

The payment amount for members of the Settlement Class who file approved claims will be calculated on a pro rata basis, which means that it will depend on the total number of approved claims. If the number of approved claims results in a payment amount of less than $10, LinkedIn will pay an additional amount up to $750,000 into the fund. If the pro rata amount is so small that it cannot be distributed in a way that is economically feasible, payments will be made, instead, to Cy Pres Recipients selected by the Parties and approved by the Court. No one knows in advance whether or in what amount payments will be made to claimants.

So. Who’s going to try to claim their LinkedIn settlement money?

Photo credit: Sheila Scarborough

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