LinkedIn Urges Judge To Toss Lawsuit Over Ad Metrics -- For Good

LinkedIn is urging a federal judge to again dismiss a lawsuit over allegedly inflated ad metrics -- this time for good.

"It is clear that plaintiffs do not have viable claims against LinkedIn,” the company says in papers filed this week with U.S. Magistrate Susan van Keulen in San Jose, California. “Because amendment would be futile, plaintiffs’ claims should be dismissed with prejudice.”

The battle dates to last December, when tech company TopDevz and recruiting platform Noirefy alleged in a class-action complaint that LinkedIn's erroneous metrics allowed the company to charge inflated prices for ads.

They filed suit shortly after LinkedIn acknowledged in a blog post that it had discovered two “measurement issues” that “may have overreported some Sponsored Content campaign metrics for impression and video views.”

LinkedIn said it discovered the measurement issue in August, and fixed it by November. The company added that the incorrect metrics potentially affected more than 418,000 customers, and promised to credit the accounts of any advertisers that were affected.

TopDevz and Noirefy alleged in their lawsuit that the inflated ad metrics led them to purchase more ads, and pay higher prices for them.

The advertisers raised a host of claims, including that LinkedIn violated a consumer protection law, as well as standards governing contracts. 

Last month, van Keulen dismissed their complaint, but allowed the advertisers to amend their allegations and bring them again.

In her initial dismissal order, van Keulen said that California's consumer protection law is aimed at safeguarding consumers or small businesses, and that the complaint by TopDevz and Noirefy did not include facts showing they are “small and unsophisticated” entities.

She also said the complaint doesn't contain enough specific facts to support the advertisers' other claims, including the claim that LinkedIn violated contractual standards by “fraudulently” concealing or misrepresenting ad metrics.

Two weeks ago, the advertisers beefed up their claims and refiled them.

Among other changes, they said they are both defined by LinkedIn as “small” businesses, because they have fewer than 200 employees.

TopDevz said it has approximately 150 workers, while Noirefy said it only has two full-time workers. Both companies said they don't have in-house ad analytics departments or experts.

LinkedIn counters in its new papers that the new allegations regarding the size of the companies wouldn't prove that they are unsophisticated.

The amended complaint “does not add a single fact alleging that plaintiffs are unsophisticated entities,” LinkedIn writes.

“The allegation that plaintiffs do not have 'an in-house ad analytics team,' ... does not mean that they are small and unsophisticated. All it means is that they do not employ someone in that particular role,” LinkedIn adds.

The matter is slated for a hearing on October 12.

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