Web scraping is a method of finding and extracting data from websites with the help of various web crawlers, tools such as bots. Similar extraction can be done manually but it is usually faster, more efficient and less error-prone to automate the task.It’s a rather futuristic technique: let the robots do the hard, tedious work, while you focus on building strategies and analysing data. The results of data harvesting prove to be invaluable assistance in the age when you need to be as informed and quick as possible if you want to have a chance in highly competitive modern markets.
Some might assume that spending time and money on website and database scraping is a direction that’s worth taking only if you are well-settled in the market and you want to gather more information on competitors or try new marketing policies. In fact, web scraping is equally or even more helpful for startups, as the advantages of this method may be decisive for development of a new business.
The idea of web scraping is essentially collecting as much relevant information as possible in a matter of a few hours or days at most. Naturally, teams of professionals with impressive experience in the field, who can access data even on websites that are protected from simple web crawlers you’d use, provide the maximum of what data harvesting can bring to the table. In addition, the speed of work and machine power of data scraping service providers excel that of a startup.
Examples of scraping may include:
1 - tracking trends in the real estate market by scraping data from real estate web sites
2 - collecting online article comments and other discourse for analysis (e.g. using text mining)
3 - gathering data on membership and activity of online organisations
4 - collecting archives of reports from many web pages