Published on July 5th, 2017 | by Technable0
Data Digging Definitions
Data Digging Definitions
What is Web Scraping Actually Used For?
Unless you’ve been under a rock for the last few years you would have heard companies, bloggers and all manner of internet people talking about data digging and data scraping. And whether you’re just starting out and looking into finding the most ethical web scraping tools or if you are a bit of a web scraping aficionado and know what you’re looking for, you will see that there are benefits to be gained from web scraping.
Many people are a bit confused about what exactly data scraping is, so to break it down simply for you: web scraping is the act of pulling data from HTML and saving it, storing it or using it in some form. Any content that is visible on a website is able to be scraped. If a website offers a way for a viewer’s browser to download and view that content in a structured way then the content can be scraped. That’s the what; now we’re going to take about the why: specifically why anyone wants to scrape web data and what it’s actually used for.
Why you should scrape data
When you’re scraping data you’re able to extract a range of relevant data from competitor’s websites and gather a whole lot of information quickly and easily. From a business-owner point of view, it’s hugely beneficial. You can gather information about pricing, products, events and lots of other relevant information. Everyone from universities and data companies are getting on board with data scraping, and maybe it’s time you should too.
What web scraping is actually used for
There are plenty of companies who are using web scraping for various means. Did you know that the search engine you most likely used to find this information used web scraping to deliver their results for you? That’s right – Google are one of the biggest scrapers of the internet around. They scrape the information that exists online and makes it easy for you to search for and find information.
Google actually grabs the entire website, extracts the images and the text, and then they make money by advertising on those search results. Another company that uses web scraping is Lyst, a UK fashion retail company who use web scraping to search for luxury fashion items and then allow their users to do all of their shopping in one place with one transaction. Thanks to Lyst, you don’t have to use multiple checkouts and track multiple sales – they have made it easy for you to shop all in one place.
The founders of Lyst are all passionate about what they do and believe in innovation as one of their key drivers. Without web scraping their business wouldn’t exist. A further example is Pricerunner, a company who have been around since 1999 and who use web scraping and APIs to source prices from across the web so that users can find the cheapest price on products sold across multiple places online. They make their money from advertising and affiliate marketing.
The main uses for data scraping probably aren’t being broadcast too loudly, and many businesses have managed to save countless hours gathering data by using web scraping automation tools. And when data scraping can save your business time this basically equates to money. So is web scraping something that your business can use? Sure it is. All you need to do is get in touch with a company who offers web scraping tools and get them to help you get started. That is, unless you have the kind of tech-savvy know how to get your own web scraping done, in which case we salute you!