The Advantages & Disadvantages of Web Scraping Data

Knowledge is power. Information is liberating.” To realize access to the best pieces of information, you’re first going to wish to collect some data. Web scraping, data mining and web crawling are efficient methods that allow you to simply compile and store data from websites on the internet.

In this piece we will examine what’s web scraping, the benefits and disadvantages of web scraping and a number of the helpful use cases for scraping data.

What is web scraping?

Web scraping refers to creating or using a computer software to extract data from whole websites or a couple of web pages. Additionally when you carry out web scraping, you may either download the complete web web page or key points such because the tag or article body content for further analysis.

What are the benefits of web scraping for enterprise?

Achieve Automation

Strong web scrapers let you automatically extract data from websites, this allows you or your co-workers to save lots of time that would’ve have in any other case been spent on mundane data collection tasks. It also means that you could accumulate data at greater quantity than a single human may ever hope to achieve.

Additionally it’s possible so that you can create sophisticated web bots to automate on-line activities with either web scraping software or using a programming language corresponding to javascript, python, go or php.

Business Intelligence & Insights

Web scraping data from the internet allows you to seek for competitor costs, 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 turn will lead to raised business choice making.

Distinctive and rich datasets

The internet provides you with a rich amount of text, image, video and numerical data and at the moment comprises at least 6.05 billion pages. Depending upon what your goal is, you’ll find related websites, setup website crawlers and then make your own custom dataset for analysis.

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

You can setup webscapers to assemble the following information:

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

Football Statistics: You may download your desired team’s historical match statistics.

WhoScored – Goal Data.

SoccerStats.

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

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

By web scraping data, you will by no means must 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’ll be able to access and collect any data that is available on their website.

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

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

Efficient Data Administration

Instead of copying and pasting data from the internet, you can choose what data you’ll like to collect from a range of websites, then you can accurately accumulate 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 every day basis.

Storing data with automated software and programs means that your company, operations or workers can spend less time copying and pasting info and more time on inventive work.

What are the disadvantages?

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

If you’re looking to collect and organise an enormous quantity of knowledge from the internet, you will find that current web scraping software is limited in functionality. Although the software might be good for extracting several parts from a web page, as quickly as you need to crawl multiple websites they’re less effective.

Due to this fact you will have to either invest in learning web scraping strategies in a programming language resembling javascript, python, ruby, go or php. Alternatively you can hire a freelance web scraping developer, regardless each of those approaches will add an overhead to your data assortment operations.

Websites often change their construction and crawlers require upkeep

As websites commonly 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 is a specific amount of upkeep that must be usually performed to keep your data assortment 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 accumulating data from out of the blue decide to redesign their websites, you will need to invest in fixing your crawlers.