The Advantages & Disadvantages of Web Scraping Data

Knowledge is power. Information is liberating.” To achieve access to the best items of information, you’re first going to need to gather some data. Web scraping, data mining and web crawling are effective methods that allow you to easily compile and store info from websites on the internet.

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

What’s web scraping?

Web scraping refers to creating or using a computer software to extract data from entire websites or a number of web pages. Additionally while you carry out web scraping, you’ll be able to either download the complete web web page or key aspects such as the tag or article body content material for additional analysis.

What are the benefits of web scraping for enterprise?

Achieve Automation

Robust web scrapers mean you can automatically extract data from websites, this permits you or your co-workers to avoid wasting time that may’ve have in any other case been spent on mundane data collection tasks. It also means which you could collect data at larger quantity than a single human might ever hope to achieve.

Also it’s attainable for you to create sophisticated web bots to automate online activities with either web scraping software or utilizing a programming language equivalent to javascript, python, go or php.

Business Intelligence & Insights

Web scraping data from the internet lets you search 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 greater picture of your market, your competitor’s activity which in flip will lead to higher business decision making.

Distinctive and rich datasets

The internet provides you with a rich amount of textual content, image, video and numerical data and presently contains at least 6.05 billion pages. Depending upon what your goal is, you will discover relevant websites, setup website crawlers after which make your own customized dataset for analysis.

For instance, let’s fake you’re inquisitive about UK football and wish to understand the sports market in depth.

You might setup webscapers to collect the next info:

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

Football Statistics: You could possibly download your desired group’s historical match statistics.

WhoScored – Goal Data.

SoccerStats.

Betting Odds: You possibly can accumulate the betting odds for football matches from bookmaker’s equivalent to Bet365 or from player betting exchanges reminiscent of Betfair or Smarkets.

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

By web scraping data, you will by no means have to rely 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 compared to accessing a public API:

You possibly can access and acquire any data that is available on their website.

You are not limited to a particular 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 possibly can choose what data you’ll like to gather from a range of websites, then you may accurately collect it with web scraping. For more advanced web scraping / crawling methods 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 workers can spend less time copying and pasting information and more time on artistic work.

What are the disadvantages?

You will must study programming, use web scraping software or to pay a developer

If you are looking to gather and organise an unlimited quantity of information from the internet, you will discover that existing web scraping software is limited in functionality. Though the software can be good for extracting several elements from a web page, as quickly as you might want to crawl a number of websites they are less effective.

Subsequently you will must either put money into learning web scraping techniques in a programming language corresponding to javascript, python, ruby, go or php. Alternatively you may hire a contract web scraping developer, regardless both of those two approaches will add an overhead to your data assortment operations.

Websites often change their construction and crawlers require upkeep

As websites recurrently change their HTML construction, generally your crawlers will break. Whether or not you’re utilizing web scraping software or you’re writing the web scraping code, there’s a certain quantity of maintenance that needs to be frequently carried out to keep your data assortment pipelines clean and operational.

For every website that you simply write a custom encoding script, adds on a certain amount of technical debt. If a number of websites that you just’re collecting data from immediately determine to redesign their websites, you will have to spend money on fixing your crawlers.

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