The state of New York plans to sue the social-networking site Tagged.com for allegedly using deceptive e-mails in order to gain new users, the Office of the Attorney General said Thursday.
From April through June, Tagged sent 60 million e-mails to people saying that members of the site had tagged them in photos but the photos did not exist, according to a news release from the office, lead by Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo.
The e-mails that people received appeared to come from their friends but did not, which constitutes spam. The recipients were forced to become members of Tagged if they wanted to access the purported photos, the office alleges.
Tagged, which has been around for five years, would then illegally get access to those new users’ e-mail address books and send out more messages without those users’ knowledge. Tagged will be sued for deceptive e-mail marketing practices and invasion of privacy, the office said.
Tagged CEO Greg Tseng wrote on a company blog that the site did not access peoples’ address books without their consent. But Tseng wrote the company realized that the language used to guide users during registration was confusing.
“The registration drive generated some complaints,” Tseng wrote. “We immediately stopped using this registration process before being contacted by the Attorney General’s office.”
On June 16, Tseng wrote in another blog post that the registration drive resulted in 3 million new users for Tagged, but also resulted in 2,000 complaints “from people who invited all the contacts in their e-mail address books but didn’t intend to.”
“Simply put, it was too easy for people to quickly go through the registration process and unintentionally invited all their contacts,” Tseng wrote. Tagged halted the new registration scheme on June 7. It also e-mailed new members telling them how to quit Tagged.
The Attorney General’s office said it would seek to stop Tagged from engaging in fraudulent practices and pursue fining the company.