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Open-source web scrapers

Evaluating the right web scraper depending on business needs can be daunting for most companies. Understanding how an open-source web scraper is useful poses the first challenge to unlocking the potential of the tool. Factors such as budget constraints, coding requirements, and personnel issues may also lead to roadblocks depending on the nature of the outcomes required.

Open-source web scrapers are tools that allow businesses with small budgets to search and retrieve data from the web – on a particular topic or webpage – at a lower cost than setting up internal infrastructures to do the same. Most tools also provide the functionality of modifying the code to a programming language compatible with the user’s requirements. As an open-source platform, it offers visibility to the code, support from the user community, and access to real-time updates from developers around the world.

An assortment of readily available tools in the market can create decision paralysis to find the best-suited option. Deciding on a budget, resource allocation, and outlining goals the team wants to achieve via the tool can help in the decision-making process of finding the right fit.

Creation of Data Lakes

A  data lake refers to a consolidated repository of structured, semi-structured,  and unstructured data in its raw form irrespective of its size. It deals with large volumes of data in a variety of formats that can be used to derive insights and improve predictions. Organizations with data lakes have a better understanding of patterns, current trends, and anomalies related to their business that would previously have been inaccessible.

An open-source web scraper can help businesses set up the foundation for their data lake. By scraping and indexing the world wide web on a specific topic of interest, the large quantity of data obtained can serve to formulate prediction models and actionable insights.

Access to On-Demand Data

For a business to be successful in 2022, an online presence is crucial. One of the biggest changes in consumer behavior since the early 2000s is a surge in online shopping due to instant access to a plethora of products on the internet. By making shopping so accessible, companies have large mounds of data to collect from various touchpoints. Though it may sound simple, newer brands can find it challenging to sustain themselves in a market saturated with brands competing for customers’ attention.

To gain a competitive edge, enterprises need to invest in tools that provide useful data to tailor their business strategy. A web scraping tool can be beneficial to compare the competition in the market – prices, specifications, sentiment analysis, and reviews for products in the same category. An early-stage startup can use this data to capitalize on which types of products are worth the investment and bound to do well. It also provides market knowledge and leverage on other companies who dive in blind.

Easy to Adapt

Again, for businesses operating with slim budgets and limited requirements, an open-source web scraper can present an alternative solution to robust web crawling software. It gets the job done with limited resources as the community regularly updates the code and posts new-and-improved methods to resolve bugs. The use of such a tool also allows businesses visibility into better ways of web scraping and finding solutions to fix existing issues.

Low Investment

Investing in an open-source web scraper isn’t too heavy on the pocket as it’s developed through crowdsourcing. From a training perspective, several platform options are available that do not require coding, making it easy to operate regardless of technical background. Resource-wise, it doesn’t require a full-fledged team working on the scraper and can usually be accomplished by one person.

Conclusion

The open-source web scraping tool poses several advantages for individuals or companies interested in web crawling, and at the start of their journey. It provides a decent beginner platform to understand how crawling works and its benefits for those who may be skeptics or prefer not to go hard and heavy on the investment before seeing results. As a crowdsourced platform, it also provides community support for queries. Another huge plus point is that new and innovative methods are constantly posted so users can stay abreast of the latest developments.

Pivoting from the upside of using such a tool, there are a few limitations to the product. The purpose of web crawling is to use the data obtained to refine and align business goals to drive success. If there aren’t enough resources deployed to accurately analyze the data post-scraping, then any predictions drawn from the information collected will be unreliable or subject to error. As websites are constantly evolving, methods to prevent bot access – captcha, bot blockers, IP blocking – are also advancing to prevent crawling bots from indexing data.

Moreover, adopting the tool requires a constant effort to stay up to date with any new developments or challenge related to web scraping. unforeseen roadblocks cropping up will  need thorough research and time to resolve, as users are devoid of the on-demand customer support DaaS solutions offer.

Businesses requiring a convenient solution for complex requirements, better accessibility to transform data, and supportive account services would benefit from using a data service provider such as PromptCloud.

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