The best way for businesses to increase their revenue is to bring in new iterations of their products or services. The masses or the user base must be made aware of it though– which is where marketing and advertisements come in handy. However, both product development or improvement and the process of its word reaching the masses are dependent on one thing today– data. Most of this data is fetched using web scraping services. This data is used for:
Adding on to or Improving the Product or Service
Whether you sell a product or offer a service, you have to keep improving it with time. This may involve fixing previous flaws, incorporating changes recommended by users or adding new features. For instance, most car makers launch new versions of their bestselling cars every year.
You may also develop add-on products or tools that work well in conjunction with the existing products or services. This is often done by companies based on the demands and purchase patterns seen among customers. For example, a1475 shoe company may start selling socks or a healthcare company may start providing yearly health-checkup packages.
Both of the business decisions mentioned above require effort in terms of time and money. This is why studying the data beforehand is vital.
Improving the reach of products
You may have a great product or a really useful service, but unless the target audience is aware of it, your revenue won’t grow. Without data, even a ton of marketing spending may not make a difference. Data will help you recognize the correct audience set– finding the target age group, gender, region, occupation, and more. Using data for your marketing and advertising campaigns will result in higher conversions at lesser costs!
The difficulties of large-scale web scraping
Scraping data on a large scale has multiple roadblocks. You will be facing these if you try to build DIY solutions using free libraries in languages like Python or free-to-use UI-based tools. While there are tens of problems that a real-time large-scale web scraping service may face, the most common ones are:
The speed of scraping may prove to be a limiting factor
Many SMEs require data from a large number of sources– which also need to be updated frequently. In this case, time may prove vital, be it while scraping prices from competitor websites or when fetching content from the latest news pages. Speeding things up may require you to:
- Set up the cloud infrastructure in the most efficient manner.
- Write multithreaded code that can scale and scrape data from multiple pages together as and when required.
When you are scraping data from tens of websites and thousands or millions of web pages, you may either find your scraping jobs slowing down or your cloud costs increasing very quickly (due to inefficient use of resources).
Setting up the cloud infrastructure correctly and efficiently would take a large percentage of your scraping efforts
Large-scale web scraping cannot happen on a laptop, and you are bound to use virtual machines on cloud platforms like Azure, GCP or AWS. Setting these up can be easy once you go through some of the tutorials. The challenge lies in:
- Maintenance of Cloud Infrastructure.
Keeping Cloud Infrastructure costs in check.
- Upgrading/Changing Infrastructure strategy as your web scraping requirements grow.
- Adding new cloud infrastructure such as data pipelines to take care of operations like data cleaning, storage, wrangling, and more as your business grows.
Legal implications of web scraping must be accounted for
Before crawling a website, it is important to
- Check its robot.txt file.
- Verify that you adhere to the data and security laws of the country of the website, the country where the data of the website originates from and the country where you might be using the data for commercial purposes.
With rising regulations around data and privacy and laws like the GDPR in Europe or CCPA in California, adhering to point b stated above may be very complicated when you are dealing with scraped data from multiple sources. When building DIY solutions, it may not be possible to be 100% compliant with all the laws. Although small-scale scraping for research purposes may not cause any harm, large-scale web scraping without compliance with data laws may cause a lot of trouble. Companies have been sued for millions of dollars for not adhering to correct data scraping, usage or storage laws in the past.
Websites have loads of tricks up their sleeve to keep scrapers away
They track traffic and unless you use proxy rotation, you could easily get blocked by websites. Another threat posed by websites is frequent UI changes that may render your existing code useless. This would require re-studying their HTML page format and re-writing the code to fetch all the data points. Similarly, adding new websites may also prove to be a herculean task even if you are scraping the same data points. The difficulty would depend on how complex the website is, and whether it is using the latest technology. This unknown factor would always remain when adding new websites to DIY scraping solutions.
The Benefits of using a DaaS provider like PromptCloud
We have only discussed free tools and solutions and the problems that they may pose when used in large-scale web scraping. Paid tools and solutions may resolve many or most of these problems, but not all. The reason behind this is simple– no one size can fit all. This is where web scraping service providers come into the picture. PromptCloud is a leading DaaS provider that solves all the problems mentioned above. We also offer more features and customizations that make web scraping a breeze.
The main benefit that PromptCloud offers is infinite customization
Scrape 1000 pages from 10 websites, get the data saved in AWS S3or make it accessible via APIs, update the data every day, or scrape a million pages every hour and get the data in your Dropbox– PromptCloud offers a different highly customized solution to every SME that approaches us so that they can take their mind off the difficulties of web scraping and focus on their core business.
One of the major aspects of web scraping is the cost involved
Like a true Cloud-based service, we charge only for what you use. So if you scrape fewer pages this month than the last month, or update your data less frequently– your costs will go down.
We offer a fully managed cloud-based service with minimal latency along with strong SLAs and on-demand support
This ensures that you need not worry about the web-scraping efforts and can start with integrating the scraped data points into your workflow (we offer multiple cloud-based integration options). In case things go wrong like if a website changes its UI, or scraping stops for a particular website, our tracking and monitoring tools immediately spring into action to locate the specific issue which is then taken care of by our internal teams. SLAs and on-demand support also provide extra breathing space to customers since we understand how vital data can be to SMEs.
Scraping Data- Made Simple
One of the main reasons why PromptCloud is a leading web scraping service provider is that we have abstracted the entire act of web scraping and reduced it to a few simple stages as shown in this flowchart below.
Fig: Scraping Data using PromptCloud
This 4-step process may involve multiple iterations of step 2 or step 3, and we would only finalise the scraper once our client is completely happy with how the scraped data looks and has validated the sample data.
We have scraped data for sectors like–
- eCommerce & Retail
- Travel and hotels
- Jobs & Recruitment
- Real Estate
This varied experience and years of research on different types of websites help us undertake scraping jobs for any website both simple and complex.
Web Scraping Services and Service Providers are all over the internet today and a lot of them speak of automation and automated web scraping. The truth however is that web scraping means diving into the data and getting your hands dirty. Automation does work but only to a certain extent. You need to handle website changes, blocks, legal issues, new additions, new tech stacks and more– all of which need to be handled by an experienced team.
This is why our partners ranging from startups to Fortune 500 companies trust us and our data scraping techniques. Our team provides custom solutions to every business that needs to leverage data to grow and remain ahead of the competition. In today’s world where data left on the table will eventually get picked up by others in the race, you need to ensure that your data game is set– for which you can rely on PromptCloud.