Professional networking website LinkedIn has been blamed by four users for accessing their email account and harvesting contact list. The company will face lawsuit in San Jose, California for repeatedly sending spam messages to contacts of users.
LinkedIn has recently started sending lot of email messages to contact lists of its users, asking them to join the network. The same technique has been used by many other social networks, which find this technique as very easy way to grow their userbase exponentially. LinkedIn spokesman Doug Madey has contested the claims and informed that the lawsuit is without merit. He added that the company will fight the lawsuit.
LinkedIn has more than 230 million members and the social network has high percentage of professional users. The users mainly use the website to increase their business friend circle, search for partnerships and also for changing their jobs to better companies.
The current lawsuit by four users of LinkedIn could result in major embarrassment for the company. If the court favors the users, this could also have a lasting impact on other social networks which ask users to share their email address to add more friends to their list of friends. Facebook and Google Plus networks have also seen viral growth with similar strategy. People tend to join networks when their friends send them invite to do so.
LinkedIn and other social networks could be forced to rethink their strategy for growing the userbase by sending invitations to existing members.