The Advantages & Disadvantages of Web Scraping Data

Knowledge is power. Info is liberating.” To achieve access to the most effective items of knowledge, you’re first going to need to gather some data. Web scraping, data mining and web crawling are effective strategies that mean you can simply compile and store information from websites on the internet.

In this piece we will investigate what is web scraping, the benefits and disadvantages of web scraping and among the helpful use cases for scraping data.

What’s web scraping?

Web scraping refers to creating or using a pc software to extract data from entire websites or just a few web pages. Also while you carry out web scraping, you’ll be able to either download your entire web page or key elements such because the tag or article body content for additional analysis.

What are the benefits of web scraping for business?

Achieve Automation

Sturdy web scrapers will let you automatically extract data from websites, this permits you or your co-workers to save lots of time that might’ve have otherwise been spent on mundane data collection tasks. It additionally means that you could collect data at better quantity than a single human may ever hope to achieve.

Additionally it’s potential so that you can create sophisticated web bots to automate online activities with either web scraping software or using a programming language resembling javascript, python, go or php.

Enterprise Intelligence & Insights

Web scraping data from the internet means that you can seek for competitor prices, monitor their marketing activity and to swiftly market research your business online. By downloading, cleaning and analysing data at significant volume, you’ll be able to build a better picture of your market, your competitor’s activity which in flip will lead to raised business decision making.

Distinctive and rich datasets

The internet provides you with a rich quantity of textual content, image, video and numerical data and presently comprises no less than 6.05 billion pages. Relying upon what your objective is, you could find related websites, setup website crawlers and then make your own customized dataset for analysis.

For instance, let’s faux you’re considering UK football and want to understand the sports market in depth.

You could possibly setup webscapers to assemble the next info:

Video Content: To download all of the football games from YouTube or Facebook.com.

Football Statistics: You would download your desired staff’s historical match statistics.

WhoScored – Goal Data.

SoccerStats.

Betting Odds: You could possibly collect the betting odds for football matches from bookmaker’s similar to Bet365 or from player betting exchanges similar to Betfair or Smarkets.

Create applications for instruments that don’t have a public developer API

By web scraping data, you will by no means must depend on the website releasing a public application programming interface (API) to access the data which they show on their webpages. There are several benefits to web scraping in comparison to accessing a public API:

You’ll be able to access and collect any data that’s available on their website.

You aren’t limited to a selected number of queries.

You don’t need to sign up for an API key or need to abide by their rules.

Efficient Data Management

Instead of copying and pasting data from the internet, you can select what data you’d like to collect from a range of websites, then you can accurately gather it with web scraping. For more advanced web scraping / crawling strategies your data will be stored within a cloud database, and will likely be running on a day by day basis.

Storing data with computerized software and programs implies that your organization, operations or staff can spend less time copying and pasting data and more time on creative work.

What are the disadvantages?

You will need to be taught programming, use web scraping software or to pay a developer

If you are looking to gather and organise an enormous amount of knowledge from the internet, you will discover that existing web scraping software is limited in functionality. Although the software will be good for extracting a number of elements from a web web page, as quickly as you’ll want to crawl multiple websites they’re less effective.

Due to this fact you will need to either invest in learning web scraping methods in a programming language similar to javascript, python, ruby, go or php. Alternatively you may hire a contract web scraping developer, regardless each of those approaches will add an overhead to your data collection operations.

Websites usually change their construction and crawlers require upkeep

As websites frequently change their HTML structure, typically your crawlers will break. Whether you’re utilizing web scraping software otherwise you’re writing the web scraping code, there is a specific amount of upkeep that must be recurrently performed to keep your data collection pipelines clean and operational.

For each website that you just write a custom encoding script, adds on a certain amount of technical debt. If numerous websites that you simply’re collecting data from immediately decide to redesign their websites, you will must put money into fixing your crawlers.

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