Law Street Media

LinkedIn Sued for Overcharging Advertisers, Inaccurate Metrics

Person holding tablet with LinkedIn app open

Simferopol, Crimea - May 25, 2014: LinkedIn is a social network for search and establishment of business contacts. It is founded in 2002.

Drew Krisco and Livly, Inc. filed a class-action complaint against LinkedIn Corporation on Friday in the Northern District of California because LinkedIn allegedly overcharged advertisers and misrepresented the reliability of its advertising platform data.

The plaintiffs noted that in a Nov. 12 blog post, LinkedIn stated that “[i]n August, our engineering team discovered and then subsequently fixed two measurement issues in our ads products that may have overreported some Sponsored Content campaign metrics for impression and video views.” Subsequently, according to the complaint, LinkedIn disclosed that “these ‘issues’ impacted hundreds of thousands of LinkedIn advertisers, undetected, over the span of at least two years.” In particular, the plaintiffs averred that advertisers overpaid for LinkedIn advertisements because they relied on LinkedIn’s purportedly inaccurate advertising metrics, which were used to reach target audiences. The plaintiffs stated that advertisers can use their own metrics to a degree, but for other information they must solely rely on LinkedIn for accurate metrics. Meanwhile, the plaintiffs also proffered that the plaintiffs and putative class have “paid for an unknown number of ineffective ads, losing out on the opportunity to serve effective ads that would have fulfilled the purposes of the advertisements.”

Moreover, the plaintiffs claimed that LinkedIn has “downplay[ed]” the impact of this issue and the full extent of damage and harm is unknown. Furthermore, the plaintiffs argued that there is no “conclusive proof that these problems have been fully rectified” and the plaintiffs are not sure “that other unknown ‘measurement issues’ may not lurk in its vast system.” Consequently, the plaintiffs contended that if they had known about the aforementioned issues they would have placed ads on another platform.

According to the complaint, plaintiff Krisco, who is in the real estate industry, purchased LinkedIn advertisements to promote job opportunities. Livly, a software and mobile app development company, purchased LinkedIn advertisements “to build brand awareness and drive potential customers to its website.” Both plaintiffs became aware of the issue in November, but are “unaware of the details of what ads were impacted, when any issues occurred, or the full nature of the damage [they] suffered.”

LinkedIn allegedly violated the California Unfair Competition Law because of its “failure to properly audit and verify the accuracy of its advertising metrics before disseminating them to Class members[, which] is unfair, deceptive, untrue and misleading, and constitutes an unfair and fraudulent business practice under the UCL.”

The plaintiffs have sought an order certifying the class and appointing the plaintiffs and their counsel to represent the class, injunctive and equitable relief, an award for damages, an award for costs and fees, pre- and post-judgment interest, and other relief.

The plaintiffs are represented by Edelson PC and Romanucci & Blandin, LLC.

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