Web scrapping – Is your business benefiting?

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What is Web Scraping?

If you’ve ever copied the data off a website and used it then you’ve scrapped the data manually. When you automate it to get data intelligently and efficiently you use a software tool called as Web Scrapper.  Once the data is scraped, web scrapper will usually then export it in a more convenient format such as an Excel spreadsheet or JSON. Depending upon suitability, content of a page may be parsed, reformatted, searched its data copied into a database etc.

Web scraping or web harvesting solutions range from the ad-hoc, requiring human interactions, to totally automated systems that are eligible to transform entire web sites into structured data.

Web scrapping typically involves two stages

  • fetching pages (by crawler)
  • and extracting data from it (by scrapper)

web  crawling is an important component of web scraping, to fetch pages and data for later processing. Once fetched, then extraction can take place.

Why Web Scraping?

It’s a common knowledge that Data is ‘King’. The true power of web scraping lies in its ability to build and power some of the world’s most revolutionary business applications. ‘Transformative’ doesn’t even begin to describe the way some companies use web scraped data to enhance their operations, informing executive decisions all the way down to individual customer service experiences.

Some obvious examples of their frequent use are:

  • Real Estate listings scraping (in the real estate industry)
  • Scraping product data to build price comparison tools
  • Scraping website for new lead information
  • Using web scraping to assist with website transitions
  • Social Media scraping for sentiment analysis
  • Scraping stock prices for market analysis

 

Conclusion:

  • Web scraping is legal in general and won’t get you into trouble.
  • follow some basic rules like
  • Don’t overwhelm an online server
  • Don’t steal content
  • Give due credit to source of information
  • Do not download copies of documents that are clearly not in public domain.
  • If the information you scraped is not within the property right please take due permission to share it. Then share it out there for others to reuse it.
  • If you wrote an online scraper to access it, share its code (e.g. on GitHub) so others can have the benefit of it.