Every savvy business owner knows that the internet is a treasure trove of data. You can mine insights on any form of data valuable for business, including government regulations, customer insights, or competitive analysis.
This data can be systemically harvested and analyzed to reveal actionable business insights. Such gems can transform your business's operations and give you a significant advantage in the world of business. While data collection and its analysis are two handy tools for business, the process of collecting massive amounts of data is complicated when time and labor costs come into play.
Fortunately, internet technology has made online data collection and its processing easy through the process of web scraping. Web scraping is the automated process of mining massive amounts of data from different web sources using data scraper technology.
The data scraper is able to pull data from databases and then organize and store it in an easy to digest format such as a .csv file.
What is a data scraper?
A data scraper works like a computer's copy and paste function. If you have to copy and paste thousands of pages manually, you will most likely have poorly disorganized results. Copy and pasting tons of pages at a go manually is a very mind-numbing process.
The web scraper, takes this mundane copy and paste function, and then automates it via intelligent automation. Consequently, the web scraper can scan and mine data from millions of pages at lightning speeds.
A basic data scraper has two crawlers and a scraper. The crawler, also known as a spider, is an AI tool that scans massive amounts of web pages exploring each and discovering useful sources of data. The scraper, on the other hand, follows the steps of the crawler quickly and efficiently extracting information from the pages indexed by the spider. If you want to start using web scraping tools for your business, visit Oxylabs to get more information.
Some businesses, especially those new to web scraping, are often tempted to build their data scrapers rather than subscribe to off-the-shelf scrapers. There are, however, very many pitfalls to this process.
First, the web scraping landscape is a minefield to any poorly designed scraping tool. Websites have various types of surveillance tools and traps whose aim is to make the process of web scraping as difficult as possible for competitors or spammers.
These traps can quickly identify unprotected data scrapers from a mile away, and blacklist, flag or block their activity. For this reason, robust data scrapers use rotational proxy servers to prevent detection. The residential proxy server's address will first hide the IP address of your computer, making your scraping activity anonymous.
The rotational proxy IPs will also hide the web scraping activity because the changing IP address will resemble the random behavior of organic traffic.
Disadvantages of in house web scrapers
● One of the most significant shortfalls of an in-house managed data scraper is the inability to access and manage residential proxies. A lack of a robust proxy infrastructure will cause significant reliability and efficiency problems.
● Poorly designed scrapers may crawl a website at superhuman speeds, raising an alarm of a possible denial of service attack.
● Web crawlers that have a uniform and repeated crawling pattern will also raise suspicions of bot traffic. A sophisticated web crawler is devoid of repetitive actions because it is supposed to mirror human behavior. Without this quality, a web administrator will find it much easier to flag a web scraper tool.
● Many websites build honey pot traps or links that are only accessible to scraper tools. An unwary data scraper will access these traps and alert the website's monitoring features, which once more can lead to an IP ban.
● Sophisticated web scrapers avoid sending too many requests from a single IP address. This is why rotational pools of residential proxies are so central to the scraping process. Too many requests from one or a few IP addresses are a sure sign of web scraping.
5 Reasons to Use an Off-The-Shelf Data Scraper
- They have low user learning curves. All you need is to input your URL, and the scraper will provide well-organized data for use.
- A well-designed web scraper solution has a lot of residential IPs at its disposal. These solutions can deliver satisfactory data collection success rates and eliminate errors.
- A complete scraping solution eliminates the need for an IT department and high skilled IT workforce. For a business, this factor implies lower HR and department management costs.
- The company that provides your web-scraping tool will be responsible for the tool's servers, infrastructure, updates, and maintenance costs. You will, therefore, enjoy a secure, efficient, and faster web scraping experience.
- An off-the-shelf data scraper is more affordable for web scraping since your business does not need to acquire expensive residential proxies for single-use cases. It is much more profitable to pay for the use of residential IP addresses depending on bandwidth use to minimize the costs of web scraping.
More businesses are taking note of the advantage of timely insight gained from data scraping. Choose a robust data scraper from renowned providers like Geonode to enjoy secure, fast, affordable, and efficient web scraping for your business as well.