Chris Ratchford

LocalU Member
Jul 18, 2012
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In the past I've been told that it's best not to copy your Google reviews and display them on your website... it's a violation of Google's TOS.

I was just on a conf call with a software provider (dental appointment reminders/patient communication), and the developer said they're working on a tool that will scrape the reviews and display on the microsite.

I told him about Google's TOS- and he disagreed, showing me that Google as a review API that allows scraping.


Linda Buquet

Local Search Expert
Jun 28, 2012
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Thanks Chris,

Not sure about that, but I just realized, back before I knew it was a problem I copied some reviews onto my site. You can see different ones in the sidebar her and on my blog. Most are still live on G+. Some are missing.

Not at all suggesting anyone try to get away with it. Only saying Oops I'm at risk and also setting a bad example I guess.

(It's one of those cobblers shoes things or maybe better yet, "do as I say, not as I do" things.) ;)

OK back to the topic at hand. Anyone know anything about the review API?


Apr 19, 2013
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What are thoughts on placing reviews from G / yelp etc on site as an image to avoid being found for duplication...or is this not recommended?? (I guess, if you are going to go to this length, nothing is stopping you from making up reviews.....)

Jon Hall

Jul 11, 2013
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The Google Places API does provide access to some reviews data. That is, it will spit out up to 5 review summaries for a given "place":

However, just because an API for this data exists doesn't mean all uses of the data are supported or condoned by the provider. Google's TOS says that you may "access, use, publicly perform and publicly display" the API data--to "copy," "reproduce" or "publish" it are conspicuously absent. "Scrape" too!

All of Google's APIs aim to make the company's data widely available while allowing the company to monitor and control usage--and charge for usage when usage grows big enough.

So, I believe the OP's concerns are well-placed.

That said, I still find it laughable that Google, whose entire business is built on ingesting, copying and exploiting others' content, should be so stingy with its own. The company spends its marketing dollars convincing SEOs and others to make their content more digestible for Google (e.g. But for its own part, Google obfuscates any attempt to use *its* content except via a controlled, limited API. (I recently vented about this here: Google Wants YOU to Use Markup. (They’ll Pass.) | Blog )

So I personally have no problem flouting Google's TOS every now and again on principle. :) And if you just want to reproduce a few customer reviews, there may even be a legal basis for doing so within the concept of "Fair Use": Fair use - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia . But I'm not a lawyer. And as to whether Google might discover and penalize parties who openly flout its policies, I don't know. But I'm sometimes willing to roll the dice.
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