WHOA! This breaking news story could have, what are known in the coupon world as “IP Fairies” or Instagram Coupon Fairy on HIGH ALERT. If you are not familiar with the term, “Instagram Coupon Fairy” are people with the ability to access hundreds and in some cases, thousands of uniquely coded printable coupons. Hop on Instagram and the sale of these coupons runs rampant within the coupon community. The measures in which some fairies go to in order to obtain the coupons however is directly in violation with the terms set forth by Quotient (formerly known as Coupons.com) which states that users cannot circumvent the printing software. Some users have come up with ways to utilize separate user accounts, incognito browsers, virtual machines, dynamic IP addresses, PDF printers and other methods to get around print limits. By using those method they are able to quickly generate an unlimited number of coupon prints , all with unique ID’s. As a result, the are depleting the amount of coupons available to be printed by other potential users.
Initially Quotient tried to downplay the issue of the sale of printable coupons as insignificant, but they recently changed their tune after tension has mounted with their brand partners. Some of these partners have recently reported that many of the coupons are being printed and redeemed, far in excess of what they had budgeted for. Now that the issue is affecting the bottom line of major brands, the pressure is on Quotient to remedy the situation. As a result, a lawsuit has been filed in the state of California, singling out a single IP seller from Instagram known as “pdf_queen” (aka i_slay_ips”, “i_slay_ip”, and “ip_queen_); a seller whose true identity at this time remains a mystery. The lawsuit claims that she violated both state and federal law by violating the terms in which she agreed, set for by Coupons.com and use of their printing software. In its lawsuit, it says “pdf_queen” is causing irreparable harm to its business, its brand and retail partners, and consumers. In filing the lawsuit, Quotient plans to ask the court’s permission to compel the internet service provider, Instagram and, if necessary, “other third parties identified in Defendant’s Instagram posts” to give up her identity.
Quotient seems determined to set an example with her, after filing a similar case almost a decade ago against John Stottlemire, another user that was able to print unlimited coupons and shared the knowledge with other users. The case was later settled on terms offered by Stottlemire. As a result, the terms and conditions for use of Coupons.com’s printing software was altered to prevent further exploitation of their coupons. It seems unlikely that Quotient will allow that to happen again. They appear to be taking every possible measure in making “pdf_queen” pay, as well as sending a message to other “Instagram Coupon Fairy” who are also using these potentially fraudulent measures to obtain coupons for profit. If Quotient can make their case, “pdf_queen”could be required to stop printing and selling coupons, hand over the profits from her illicit operation, and pay damages. “Pdf_queen” however maintains her innocence stating “I do not believe any wrong is being done by selling legitimate coupons that have unique PIN numbers”, in an e-mail exchange with Coupons in The News.
The outcome of this lawsuit could potentially alter the future of printable coupon sales forever. It will be extremely interesting to see how this lawsuit plays out and the effect it has now and will continue to have on “IP Fairies.” On one hand, if Quotient cannot successfully identify the seller’s identity and drops the case, what will that mean? Does the problem only escalate with IP sellers believing they are unstoppable? On the other hand, if IP sellers continue doing just as “Pdf_queen” has done and Quotient successfully makes their case and wins , does that just create more opportunity for future lawsuits of this type? Like I said, it’s going to be VERY interesting. We will keep you posted on any updates or developments made in this case.
For more information regarding this story and the lawsuit GO HERE.
Photo Credit: Coupons in the News
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