What is data scraping
"Data" has become the hot buzzword today, especially in the growing field of internet technology service.
Data scraping, also as known as web scraping, is a technique in which a computer program extracts huge volumes of data from websites where regular-format data can be detected and processed into easy-to-read structured formats. The uses of data scraping for business and personal needs are endless. Every business or individual has his or her own specific want for gathering information. Here are common usage scenarios.
Today most of companies have e-commerce platforms that allow them sell things online. And suppose you need to know how your competitors’ products look like and understand your own products at the same time. To gather products information by manually copying and pasting data to files is a mission impossible because there are hundreds of thousands of web pages. And that is where data scraping technique comes in. You might need to scrape the prices, brands, customer’s reviews of products offered by your competitors, especially for price comparison. With data scraping skills, businesses are able to monitor all these data effectively. After data collection and analysis, you can easily adjust your business strategies or arrange promotional campaigns.
Data is the crucial part of science or legitimate academic research. Data scraping techniques help you gather sources and process into visual data. You don’t have to do a very tedious job which probably takes hours or even days to complete. Suppose you want to do a research on social media among lots of people. It’ s difficult to gather the results one by one, which is also very time-consuming. Thus data scraping tools solve this problem by automating the process of extracting data from social media networks, forums and blogs/news sites.
Data scraping skills would allow you to gather contact information of businesses or individuals from yellow pages or similar websites. Detail contact information such as emails, telephone numbers, addresses can be extracted easily by data scraping tools. There would be more potential business opportunities with more contact information.
Data scraping is widely used which cannot be underestimated. While scenarios mentioned above are broad classifications of data scraping, other fields like news, government records, health-care information, financial support, real estate are also common usages. Although data scraping tools are simple and easy to use, sometimes websites with poorly structured or complex page layouts are difficult to crawl. Besides, some websites particularly government websites don’t usually provide an easy way to download the data shown on web pages. Another reason is that most of social media websites would restrict the amount and frequency of the data they let out to the third-part tools like data scrappers.
Author: The Octoparse Team
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