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I am starting an eCommerce marketplace website, and I want to provide reviews of various products and reviews of vendors which are exists on the best review sites. Is there any way whereby I can Import reviews, from sites like Yelp? and others?

Or do I have to contact these sites in person? and moreover how do you keep getting the latest reviews, is there some sought of widget or something that exists for this?

thanks in advance

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4 Answers

You can't just take content from another site without permission, even if the content is user-generated.

You will first need to check the terms and conditions of the site to see how user-submitted reviews are treated. I imagine there are two common cases:

  1. Submitted reviews become property of the site (in the same way that if you wrote an article for a newspaper, they own the copyright).
  2. The user still owns the copyright of the review they submitted, but by submitting they gave permission for the site to use it.

A third possibility is that, like Stack Exchange, user-submitted content is under a liberal license that you can use on other sites (perhaps with some conditions like attribution).

In the first two cases, the content belongs to someone else so you shouldn't steal it. However you can of course contact the site in question and ask for permission to reproduce the content.

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Yes you can it's called fair use. –  Anagio Dec 21 '12 at 14:37
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Copying all reviews from another site is not fair use. –  DisgruntledGoat Dec 21 '12 at 14:45
    
fairuse.stanford.edu/Copyright_and_Fair_Use_Overview/chapter9/… the same holds true if you are commenting on or critiquing any other product –  Anagio Dec 21 '12 at 14:47
    
@DisgruntledGoat how about if I parse one review each, from different review sites and mention ' courtesy of "site name" visit "site name " for reviews like this.' will this be considered fair? –  Stanford Sequeira Dec 21 '12 at 15:23
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You're talking about starting a business using content scraped from other sites. I suggest you talk to a lawyer about it rather than getting random opinions on the subject from a bunch of people on SE. –  Andy Lester Dec 22 '12 at 5:43
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You have to first register your website with a good product review site by adding a badge or widget to your site. Then you can list your products in that site with images or more other details. Now to add a user-generated content to your site, you will need to inspire your visitors, to explore their user experience and giving reviews about your product. It will definitely increase your online sales. This is because user-generated content is fresh, authentic and trustworthy.

Now you can easily integrate that reviews link in your website and can make your brand image.

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Hmmm ... this is a tough one and one that would likely get two completely different opinions from two different lawyers (I swear they intentionally write ambiguous laws just to keep the litigation machine rolling).

Under the Fair Use clause of copyright law, if the work is not original, then you have no claim to copyright of it. Although another person's website may be "original," the comment submitted by someone else to that website is not the original work of the website or its owner(s). One might argue that it is fair game at that point unless the originator of the comment objects.

Just because a website puts in their terms of agreement that they own the content a user submits, does not necessarily make it so. Under tort law, anything in a contract that is not legal, cannot be legally enforced. In some cases, it nullifies an entire contract.

Honestly, I just don't know.

I would also point out that under Fair Use, the courts have to weigh four factors - one of the heaviest being whether use of the disputed material financially harmed the person claiming to have the copyright. I guess you need to ask yourself if they are losing money by you copying the testimonial. In many cases, they may very well be if a customer buys it from you instead of them, although, then an argument can be made that the testimonial wasn't a consideration in the purchase decision - especially if you have a better price! And, since it existed in both places, it clearly didn't sway them to one website over the other (of course, the other lawyer will then say that if it didn't exist in both places, they may not have bought from you). In other cases - like if the testimonial is republished from the manufacturer's website, that would not be the case, since there is clearly no harm in them buying the manufacturer's product from whomever.

Of course, that's if they legally own the testimonial in the first place, which, as I have already pointed out, they probably don't.

Fun little argument for lawyers to have, isn't it?

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You would need to create a plugin for your eCommerce shopping cart which would add an input box on your product editing pages. You would add the URL of a remote web page that has reviews of the product. Your script would have to parse hReview format then place that data into your products page. Most shopping carts have review systems built in. So you may be able to just parse the hReview from a remote site then insert the review using your shopping carts system.

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hey thanks, but will parsing reviews get me sued? or do I have to take permission ? –  Stanford Sequeira Dec 20 '12 at 18:24
    
Nope you can use them, I would just put a note across the top like "Reviews from the web" Kind of like how Google used to aggregate reviews from Yelp and combine them into their former Places now Plus business listings. –  Anagio Dec 20 '12 at 18:37
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I am skeptical that "just put a note across the top" would be enough to keep OP from running afoul of the terms of service he was taking the reviews from. That's why I strongly suggest he needs to seek legal counsel. –  Andy Lester Dec 22 '12 at 19:11
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