Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Merits of Professional Web Scraping Services

If you are running a business, you will need to monitor how your competitor is doing. When you monitor competitor product prices, you will then be able to set prices that put you at an advantage. Web scraping, also called web data extraction, allows you to get this information. You could do the web scraping yourself, but hiring professional web scraping services has more benefits.

Different website admins employ different techniques to slow down and stop bots. These include blocking IP addresses, disabling web service APIs that the site’s system might expose, excess traffic monitoring and commercial anti-bot services. Others are using CSS sprites for the display of phone number, email address and other information, Web application firewalls, CAPCHA, using robot.txt and using honey pot and other method to identify automated crawler IP addresses. A professional will know how to go around these measures.

A professional understands the legal issues around monitoring competitor prices using web scraping. A professional will interpret the terms of use of the website you want to mine data from and this will allow you to make an informed decision. It is important that you be discrete when monitoring competitor prices and a professional will advice you on how to go about the process incognito.

Different techniques are used in web scraping and most are very complicated. Unless you have specialized skills and experience, you will need a trained and experienced professional to monitor competitor product prices. These techniques include text grepping & regular expression matching, HTTP programming where HTTP requests are posted on remote web servers using socket programming, HTML parsers, vertical aggregation platforms, semantic annotation recognizing and DOM parsing.

There are several web scraping software programs in the market. Hiring a professional for the task is important because he/she will know the best software. These software tools need customization to get exactly what you are looking for and only a trained and experienced professional will be able to do this. Custom scraping services will ensure you get the data you want whereas automatic web scraping might give you data you do not need.

A professional knows exactly what is available in different websites and where it is found. This visualization is important when using computer vision web-page analyzers for custom scraping services.

In some situations, human copy-and-paste is the most effective web scraping technique. Hiring web scraping services in such cases is important because this is a tiring and time consuming exercise that will interfere with your business. When you hire a professional, your whole team gets to concentrate on running the business. Most companies offering custom scraping services have an online presence, giving you cost benefits, anonymity and convenience. A professional will also give you tips on other methods that you could use to get the data you need.