It's not the looking mate, that's fine (Google have actually made a reasonably decent living out of doing exactly that), it's what you intend to do with the data you retrieve. That's where the headaches start.
As long as you follow (or no-follow if you get me!) the server's privacy settings then it's perfectly legal form a personal use perspective. It's all up there on the net (public domain) anyway, and automated searching, scraping and so on is fine. Just respect the robot.txt directives and don't dig too deep, it can get pretty dark down there...
Yeh, Danny that's what concerns me - legal suits etc, But as you mention if it's displayed it's common data hey?
I'm not keen but a client has asked me to write something to scan a Classified Ads site for private car sales so that the mobile numbers could be used for an sms (text) group advertising campaign.
I rather think that it's not viable anyway because of the problem of getting that data into the campaign - unless the sellers have software to receive csv's or dat's or whatever (I shall approach them)??
Yup - I have already approached the site owners asking permission and will continue according to their response a) for common courtesy and b) for legality... But thanks for your participation - most enlightening!
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