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Social Site Sued for Harvesting Emails

tagged logoSocial site Tagged.com is facing the second big lawsuit over its registration process in as many months. First NY AG Andrew Cuomo (always a popular figure with social networks!) threatened to bring a lawsuit against Tagged for stealing emails and spamming “millions of Americans,” and now two women from California are suing Tagged for stealing their email contacts.

Okay, so maybe that’s not “big,” but it does stand to set a precedent.

In response to the NY AG’s similar accusations, Tagged founder Greg Tseng explained that Tagged’s registration process is abundantly clear, including several screenshots of the registration process (PDF), such as this:
tagged invite

Which could easily support either of these lawsuits, especially since the California case states

Tagged harvested millions of email addresses from the email address books of consumers. Then, using these consumers’ email account credentials, Tagged sent unsolicited advertisements to the harvested email addresses, making the messages appear as if they were invitations to join Tagged sent by persons known to the recipients.

The complaint says that the site also failed to make it clear that the users were registering for the site or sharing their friends’ email addresses (which doesn’t seem to be supported from Tagged’s screenshots of the process), and that these practices violate the federal Stored Communications Act and Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

To date, no social site has been successfully sued for similar practices. Tagged notes that inviting friends is the lifeblood of social sites’ growth, but often the practice is executed in such a way that looks like abuse.

What do you think? Do these examples look like abuse? Will this be enough to get a ruling in court, or will the case be thrown out like the suit against Reunion.com last year?

  • http://searchmarketingwisdom.com Alan Bleiweiss

    I hope Tagged gets nailed. When I get an email like this that says “Someone sent you blah blah..” It’s one thing, but when it shows the name of a person I really know, it becomes infinitely more tempting to click through.
    .-= Alan Bleiweiss´s last blog ..SEO Sometimes Takes Bloody Determination =-.

  • http://www.howtogetafreegamesconsole.co.uk Free Wii

    They give social sites and others a bad name doing things like that. They shouldn’t be allowed to that so I hope they get whats coming to them!

  • http://www.instantdevotion.com edwin joseph

    This will be a great murmur in the internet.. Whether they are right or wrong, bad news will always be bad news.. In the end, it will be a negative thing on their part.
    .-= edwin joseph´s last blog ..LOOK UP! He’s right where you are! =-.

  • http://www.virtual-coach.com/ Barbara Ling, Virtual Coach

    I generally never click on the Someone Sent You A Site! emails….if someone sends me a site, they generally make it a unique recommendation, not canned.
    .-= Barbara Ling, Virtual Coach´s last blog ..The Stark Truth Behind How To Get 47,397 Followers On Twitter – FREE BONUS report =-.

  • http://www.newtonclass.com Ronald E. Newton

    Didn’t know that building email lists from customers’ address books were that popular! I guess you opt-in to opt-out of pc privacy.

  • bill warren

    I have noticed that tagged.com allows persons to not use their real names or real photos and many of these con people are actually African men posing as white or near white women. I have alerted Tagged about this and I see they do nothing about. Most of those women end up asking for money. I am sick of this kind of fraudulant activity.