Ocado admits to scraping Tesco web site to get price-matches
At the Retail Week conference, Ocado CFO Andrew Bracey admitted that they scrape the Tesco grocery site in order to get Tesco prices with which they price match with 8,000 of their own products.
Sitting in the audience, I was intrigued by Ocado’s admission that they scrape our site (that is, run scripts from client machines that mechanically operate our web site pretending to be a human customer. Such scripts will loop through every department, aisle and shelf, and then harvest the text of all the products that appear on the page).
It seems that the days of getting prices by wandering around competitors’ branches and making notes has long gone in the digital age! Please note: It is possible to use the Tesco Grocery API to copy all the products from our site, However using such data for price comparisons is expressly forbidden in the API’s terms and conditions of use. If we detect this happening, we reserve the right to suspend or terminate your Tesco API’s developer account.