Maria Dinzeo reports:
Internet dating site “WooMe.com” loots email address books for contacts and uses them to solicit new members with viral email that makes it appear the messages come from friends, according to a federal class action. The class claims that Irvine-based WooMe promises it will not use their personal email information when they sign up for an account, but it uses licensed software to copy their “entire email address book … to send its solicitation emails to all the users’ contacts who are not WooMe subscribers.”
In an interview Thursday, a WooMe executive said the class’s allegations “are based on falsehoods.”
The executive, who asked not to be named for legal reasons, said, “A lot of the claims are technically impossible, which anyone who understands technology would know.”
Lead plaintiff Gordon Campbell says that WooMe got into his Gmail address book to solicit contacts for WooMe membership, though he explicitly refused to provide it with his email password.
Campbell claims that “within four minutes” of initiating a video chat with a relative on his Gmail account, “his relative received a WooMe solicitation message that appeared to have been sent by plaintiff and which stated that a message from plaintiff was waiting on WooMe’s Web site for the family members to retrieve. …
“However, plaintiff had not requested that a message be sent to his relative, had not authorized WooMe to send such a message, had not provided his relative’s email address to WooMe, and had not posted a message for his relative to retrieve from the WooMe Web site.”.
The WooMe official acknowledged that the company licenses the Octazen Solutions system, which he described as “an industry standard.”
Everyone does it,” the WooMe official said. “You go to Facebook and you’ll see it. You basically put in your email address and it tells you what friends are on the social network.”