Ask LH: Am I Allowed To Compare Companies On My Blog?

Ask LH: Am I Allowed To Compare Companies On My Blog?

I’m currently in the process of creating my first website. The website will focus on tourism in Australia and compare companies that offer similar products. Am I breaking any laws by writing about these companies? For example, if three different tour companies are offering wine tours in the same region, can I write about the prices, the wineries each company visits, the length of the tour and any other information I consider relevant? I intend to write the comparisons in a non-biased manner and will link directly to each company’s website. Cheers, Imnocopycat

Dear Imnocopycat,

What you just described sounds exactly like a price-comparison website. There is nothing illegal about these online services – Lifehacker often compares consumer and business offerings across multiple industries and we’ve never run into a problem. (Regular examples include our Planhacker and Ratehacker columns.)

In addition, you do not need to seek permission to compare these companies’ offerings online. Everything you will be reporting on is public information that’s freely available on their websites. As long as you aren’t copying-and-pasting editorial content without attribution, or making up prices out of thin air, there’s absolutely nothing to worry about here. The same thing goes for slagging them off – if a company is offering bad value for money, they only have themselves to blame!

If you’re still working out the basics of website creation, be sure to check out our complete guide. Good luck!

Cheers Lifehacker

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  • The only warning I’d give about this is to be smart and ensure that you state clearly what’s included and not included in the price for each package and take care to state “as of such and such a date” on the pricing as I’m sure it will change.

  • A conflict-of-interest statement may help too.

    People are inherently suspicious of comparison sites as it’s not always obvious whether favourable reviews / ratings have been sponsored or not. So if you’re intending to be impartial and not take any bungs, then it might drive traffic to explicitly state that.

  • Be sure not to name specific people or staff, especially if it’s a negative critique. You could be liable for slander and/or defamation charges.

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