A German court has declared unlawful a feature that encourages Amazon customers to share links to products of the online shop with their contacts, confirming the ruling of a lower court.
The Amazon “share” feature invites customers to share a product via email, Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.
The court said on Monday that sharing by email without approval of the recipient was illegal. It is “unsolicited advertising and unreasonable harassment,” the regional court in Hamm said, confirming the ruling of a lower court in Arnsberg.
The case was brought against one of Amazon’s resellers by a competitor. Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The ruling comes after Germany’s highest court ruled earlier this month that a similar feature that encourages Facebook users to market the social media network to their contacts as unlawful.
At the time, the Federation of German Consumer Organisations (VZBV), which brought the Facebook case to court, had said the ruling would have implications for other services in Germany which use similar forms of advertising.
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I can’t say that I have seen the email sharing option, although I have used the Twitter and Facebook sharing feature to spread the news about a good deal.
If the email feature worked the same way then I don’t see the issue, but if it instead scrapes your address book so you can email everyone, that would be a problem.
But I seriously doubt Amazon would let you use an email blast tool in their name; it would be bad marketing and they are generally not stupid. Has anyone seen one of these emails, or used the tool?
I haven’t found a first-hand report yet, not even in German.
(reporting by Harro ten Wolde; rditing by Mark Potter, image by wwarby)