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Thursday, 29 June 2017

The Ultimate Guide to Web Data Extraction

Web data is of great use to Ecommerce portals, media companies, research firms, data scientists, government and can even help the healthcare industry with ongoing research and making predictions on the spread of diseases.

Consider the data available on classifieds sites, real estate portals, social networks, retail sites, and online shopping websites etc. being easily available in a structured format, ready to be analyzed. Most of these sites don’t provide the functionality to save their data to a local or cloud storage. Some sites provide APIs, but they typically come with restrictions and aren’t reliable enough. Although it’s technically possible to copy and paste data from a website to your local storage, this is inconvenient and out of question when it comes to practical use cases for businesses.

Web scraping helps you do this in an automated fashion and does it far more efficiently and accurately. A web scraping setup interacts with websites in a way similar to a web browser, but instead of displaying it on a screen, it saves the data to a storage system.

Applications of web data extraction
1. Pricing intelligence

Pricing intelligence is an application that’s gaining popularity by each passing day given the tightening of competition in the online space. E-commerce portals are always watching out for their competitors using web crawling to have real time pricing data from them and to fine tune their own catalogs with competitive pricing. This is done by deploying web crawlers that are programmed to pull product details like product name, price, variant and so on. This data is plugged into an automated system that assigns ideal prices for every product after analyzing the competitors’ prices.

Pricing intelligence is also used in cases where there is a need for consistency in pricing across different versions of the same portal. The capability of web crawling techniques to extract prices in real time makes such applications a reality.

2. Cataloging

Ecommerce portals typically have a huge number of product listings. It’s not easy to update and maintain such a big catalog. This is why many companies depend on web date extractions services for gathering data required to update their catalogs. This helps them discover new categories they haven’t been aware of or update existing catalogs with new product descriptions, images or videos.

3. Market research

Market research is incomplete unless the amount of data at your disposal is huge. Given the limitations of traditional methods of data acquisition and considering the volume of relevant data available on the web, web data extraction is by far the easiest way to gather data required for market research. The shift of businesses from brick and mortar stores to online spaces has also made web data a better resource for market research.

4. Sentiment analysis

Sentiment analysis requires data extracted from websites where people share their reviews, opinions or complaints about services, products, movies, music or any other consumer focused offering. Extracting this user generated content would be the first step in any sentiment analysis project and web scraping serves the purpose efficiently.

5. Competitor analysis

The possibility of monitoring competition was never this accessible until web scraping technologies came along. By deploying web spiders, it’s now easy to closely monitor the activities of your competitors like the promotions they’re running, social media activity, marketing strategies, press releases, catalogs etc. in order to have the upper hand in competition. Near real time crawls take it a level further and provides businesses with real time competitor data.

6. Content aggregation

Media websites need instant access to breaking news and other trending information on the web on a continuous basis. Being quick at reporting news is a deal breaker for these companies. Web crawling makes it possible to monitor or extract data from popular news portals, forums or similar sites for trending topics or keywords that you want to monitor. Low latency web crawling is used for this use case as the update speed should be very high.

7. Brand monitoring

Every brand now understands the importance of customer focus for business growth. It would be in their best interests to have a clean reputation for their brand if they want to survive in this competitive market. Most companies are now using web crawling solutions to monitor popular forums, reviews on ecommerce sites and social media platforms for mentions of their brand and product names. This in turn can help them stay updated to the voice of the customer and fix issues that could ruin brand reputation at the earliest. There’s no doubt about a customer-focused business going up in the growth graph.

Source url :-https://www.promptcloud.com/blog/ultimate-web-data-extraction-guide

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

How Data Mining Has Shaped The Future Of Different Realms

The work process of data mining is not exactly what its name suggests. In contrast to mere data extraction, it's a concept of data analysis and extracting out important and subject centred knowledge from the given data. Huge amounts of data is currently available on every local and wide area network. Though it might not appear, but parts of this data can be very crucial in certain respects. Data mining can aid one in moldings one's strategies effectively, therefore enhancing an organisation's work culture, leading it towards appreciable growth.

Below are some points that describe how data mining has revolutionised some major realms.

Increase in biomedical researches

There has been a speedy growth in biomedical researches leading to the study of human genetic structure, DNA patterns, improvement in cancer therapies along with the disclosure of factors behind the occurrence of certain fatal diseases. This has been, to an appreciable extent. Data scraping led to the close examination of existing data and pick out the loopholes and weak points in the past researches, so that the existing situation can be rectified.

Enhanced finance services

The data related to finance oriented firms such as banks is very much complete, reliable and accurate. Also, the data handling in such firms is a very sensitive task. Faults and frauds might also occur in such cases. Thus, scraping data proves helpful in countering any sort of fraud and so is a valuable practice in critical situations.

Improved retail services

Retail industries make a large scale and wide use of web scraping. The industry has to manage abundant data based on sales, shopping history of customers, input and supply of goods and other retail services. Also, the pricing of goods is a vital task. Data mining holds huge work at this place. A study of degree of sales of various products, customer behaviour monitoring, the trends and variations in the market, proves handy in setting up prices for different products, bringing up the varieties as per customers' preferences and so on. Data scraping refers to such study and can shape future customer oriented strategies, thereby ensuring overall growth of the industry.

Expansion of telecommunication industry

The telecom industry is expanding day by day and includes services like voicemail, fax, SMS, cellphone, e- mail, etc. The industry has gone beyond the territorial foundations, including services in other countries too. In this case, scraping helps in examining the existing data, analyses the telecommunication patterns, detect and counter frauds and make better use of available resources. Scraping services generally aims to improve the quality of service, being provided to the users.

Improved functionality of educational institutes

Educational institutes are one of the busiest places especially the colleges providing higher education. There's a lot of work regarding enrolment of students in various courses, keeping record of the alumni, etc and a large amount of data has to be handled. What scraping does here is that it helps the authorities locate the patterns in data so that the students can be addressed in a better way and the data can be presented in a tidy manner in future.

Article Source: https://ezinearticles.com/?How-Data-Mining-Has-Shaped-The-Future-Of-Different-Realms&id=9647823

Sunday, 11 June 2017

3 Advantages of Web Scraping for Your Enterprise

In today’s Internet-dominated world possessing the relevant information for your business is the key to success and prosperity. Harvested in a structural and organized manner, the information will help facilitate business processes in many ways, including, but not limited to, market research, competition analysis, network building, brand promotion and reputation tracking. More targeted information means a more successful business and with the widespread competition in place, the strive for better performances is crucial.

The results of data harvesting prove to be an invaluable assistance in the age when you have the need to be informed and if you want to stand your chance in the highly competitive modern markets. This is the reason why web data harvesting has long become an inevitable component of a successful enterprise and it is a highly useful tool in both kick-starting and maintaining a functioning business by providing relevant and accurate data when needed.

However good your product or service is, the simple truth is that no-one will buy it if they don't want it or believe that they don't need it. Moreover, you won't persuade anyone that they want or need to buy what you're offering unless you clearly understand what it is that your customers really want. This way, it is crucial to have an understanding of your customers’ preferences. Always remember - they are the kings of the market and they determine the demand. Having this in mind, you can use web data scraping to get the vital information and be able to make the crucial, game-changing decisions to make your enterprise the next big thing.

Enough about how awesome web scraping is in theory! Now, let’s zoom in on 3 specific and tangible advantages that it can provide for your business, helping You benefit from them.

1. Provision of huge amounts of data

It won’t come as a surprise to anyone that there is an overflowing demand for new data for businesses across the globe. This happens because the competition increases day by day. Thus, the more information you have about your products, competitors, market etc. the better are your chances of expanding and persisting in the competitive business environment. This is a challenge but your enterprise is in luck because web scraping is specifically designed to collect the data which can be later used to analyse the market and make the necessary adjustments. But if you think that collecting data is as simple as it sounds and there is no sophistication involved in the process, think again: simply collecting data is not enough. The manner in which data extraction processes flow is also very important; as mere data collection itself is useless. The data needs to be organized and provided in a useable format to be accessible to wide masses. Good data management is key to efficiency. It’s instrumental to choose the right format, because its functions and capacities will determine the speed and productivity of your efforts, especially when you deal with large chunks of data. This is where excellent data scraping tools and services come in handy. They are widely available nowadays and are able to satisfy your company’s needs in a professional and timely manner.

2.  Market research and demand analyses

Trends and innovations allow you to see the general picture of your industry: how it’s faring today, what’s been trendy recently and which ones faded quickly. This way, you can avoid repeating mistakes of unsuccessful businesses, as well as, foresee how well yours will do, and possibly predict new trends.

Data extraction by web crawling will also provide you with up-to-date information about similar products or services in the market. Catalogues, web stores, results of promotional campaigns – all that data can be harvested. You need to know your competitors, if you want to be able to challenge their positions on the market and win over customers from them.

Furthermore, knowledge about various major and minor issues of your industry will help you in assessing the future demand of your product or service. More importantly, with the help of web scraping your company will remain alert for changes, adjustments and analyses of all aspects of your product or service.

3.  Business evaluation for intelligence

We cannot stress enough the importance of regularly analysing and evaluating your business. It is absolutely crucial for every business to have up-to-date information on how well they are doing and where they are amongst others in the market. For instance, if a competitor decides to lower the prices in order to grow their customer base you need to be prepared whether you can remain in the industry despite lowering prices. This can only be done with the help of data scraping services and tools.

Moreover, extracted data on reviews and recommendations from specific websites or social media portals will introduce you to the general opinion of the public. You can also use this technique to identify potential new customers and sway their opinions in your favor by creating targeted ads and campaigns.

To sum it up, it is undeniable that web scraping is a proven practice when it comes to maintaining a strong and competitive enterprise. Combining relevant information on your industry, competitors, partners and customers with thought-out business strategies and promotional campaigns, as well as, market research and business analyses will prove to be a solid way of establishing yourself in the market. Whether you own a startup or a successful company, keeping a finger on the pulse of the ever-evolving market will never hurt you. In fact, it might very well be the single most important advantage that will differentiate you from your competitors.

Source Url :- https://www.datahen.com/blog/3-advantages-of-web-scraping-for-your-enterprise

Saturday, 10 June 2017

Things to Consider when Evaluating Options for Web Data Extraction

Things to Consider when Evaluating Options for Web Data Extraction

Web data extraction possess tremendous applications in the business world. There are businesses that function solely based on data, others use it for business intelligence, competitor analysis and market research among other countless use cases. While everything is good with data, extracting massive data from the web is still a major roadblock for many companies, more so because they are not going through the optimal route. We decided to give you a detailed overview of different ways by which you can extract data from the web. This could help you make the final call while evaluating different options for web data extraction.

Different routes you can take to web data

Although different solutions exist for web data extraction, you should opt for the one that’s most suited for your requirement. These are the various options you can go with:

1. Build it in-house

2. DIY web scraping tool

3. Vertical-specific solution

4. Data-as-a-Service

1.   Build it in-house

If your company is technically rich, meaning you have a good technical team that can build and maintain a web scraping setup, it makes sense to build a crawler setup in-house. This option is more suitable for medium sized businesses with simpler requirements when it comes to data. However, building an in-house setup is not the biggest challenge- maintaining it is. Since web crawlers are really fragile and are vulnerable to the changes on target websites, you will have to dedicate time and labour into the maintenance of the in-house crawling setup.

Building your own in-house setup will not be easy if the number of websites you need to scrape are high or the websites aren’t using simple and traditional coding practices. If the target websites use complicated dynamic code, building your in-house setup becomes a bigger hurdle. This can hog your resources especially if extracting data from the web is not a competency of your business. Scaling up with your in-house crawling setup could also be a challenge as this would require high end resources, an extensive tech stack and a dedicated internal team. If your data needs are limited and the target websites simple, you can go ahead with an in-house crawling setup to cover your data needs.


- Total ownership and control over the process
- Ideal for simpler requirements

2.   DIY scraping tools

If you don’t want to maintain a technical team that can build an in-house crawling setup and infrastructure, don’t worry. DIY scraping tools are exactly what you need. These tools usually require no technical knowledge as such and can be used by anyone who is good with the basics. They usually come with a visual interface where you can configure and deploy your web crawlers. The downside however, is that they are very limited in their capabilities and scale of operation. They are an ideal choice if you are just starting out with no budgets for data acquisition. DIY web scraping tools are usually priced very low and some are even free to use.

Maintenance would still be a challenge that you have to face with the DIY tools. As web crawlers are susceptible to becoming useless with minor changes in the target sites, you still have to maintain and adapt the tool from time to time. The good part is that it doesn’t require technically sound labour to handle them. Since the solution is readymade, you will also save the costs associated with building your own infrastructure for scraping.

With DIY tools, you will also be sacrificing on the data quality as these tools are not known for providing data in a ready to consume format. You will either have to employ an automated tool to check the data quality or do it manually. With these downsides apart, DIY tools can cater to simple and small scale data requirements. 


- Full control over the process
- Prebuilt solution
- You can avail support for the tools
- Easier to configure and use

3.   Vertical-specific solution

You might be able find a data provider catering to only a specific industry vertical. If you could find one that has data for the industry that you are targeting, consider yourself lucky. Vertical specific data providers can give you data that is comprehensive in nature which improves the overall quality of the project. These solutions typically give you datasets that are already extracted and is ready to use.

The downside is the lack of customisation options. Since the provider is focusing on a specific industry vertical, their solution is less flexible to be altered depending on your specific requirements. They won’t let you add or remove data points and the data is given as is. It will be hard to find a vertical-specific solution that has data exactly the way you want. Another important thing to consider is that your competitors have access to the same data from these vertical-specific data providers. The data you get is hence less exclusive, but this may or may not be a deal breaker depending upon your requirement.


- Comprehensive data from the industry
- Faster access to data
- No need to handle the complicated aspects of extraction

4.   Data as a service (DaaS)

Getting the required data from a DaaS provider is by far the best way to extract data from the web. With a data provider, you are completely relieved from the responsibility of crawler setup, maintenance and quality inspection of the data being extracted. Since these are companies specialised in data extraction with a pre-built infrastructure and dedicated team to handle it, they can provide this service to you at a much lower cost than what you’d incur with an in-house crawling setup.

In the case of a DaaS solution, all you have to do is provide them with your requirements like the data points, source websites, frequency of crawl, data format and the delivery methods. DaaS providers have high end infrastructure, resources and expert team to extract data from the web efficiently.

They will also have far superior knowledge in extracting data efficiently and at scale. With DaaS, you also have the comfort of getting data that’s free from noise and is formatted properly for compatibility. Since the data goes through quality inspections at their end, you can focus only on  applying data to your business. This can greatly reduce the workload on your data team and improve the efficiency.

Customisation and flexibility are other great advantages that come with a DaaS solution. Since these solutions are meant for the large enterprises, their offering is completely customisable for your exact requirements. If your requirement is large scale and recurring, it’s always best to go with a DaaS solution.


- Completely customisable for your requirement
- Takes complete ownership of the process
- Quality checks to ensure high quality data
- Can handle dynamic and complicated websites
- More time to focus on your core business


Monday, 5 June 2017

How Easily Can You Extract Data From Web

With tech advancements taking the entire world by a storm, every sector is undergoing massive transformations. As far as the business arena is concerned, the rise of big data and data analytics is playing a crucial part in operations. Big data and data analysis is the best way to identify customer interests. Businesses can gain crystal clear insights into consumers’ preferences, choices, and purchase behaviours, and that’s what leads to unmatched business success. So, it’s here that we come across a crucial question. How do enterprises and organisations leverage data to gain crucial insights into consumer preferences? Well, data extraction and mining are the two significant processes in this context. Let’s take a look at what data extraction means as a process.

Decoding data extraction
Businesses across the globe are trying their best to retrieve crucial data. But, what is it that’s helping them do that? It’s here that the concept of data extraction comes into the picture. Let’s begin with a functional definition of this concept. According to formal definitions, ‘data extraction’ refers to the retrieval of crucial information through crawling and indexing. The sources of this extraction are mostly poorly-structured or unstructured data sets. Data extraction can prove to be highly beneficial if done in the right way. With the increasing shift towards online operations, extracting data from the web has become highly important.

The emergence of ‘scraping’
The act of information or data retrieval gets a unique name, and that’s what we call ‘data scraping.’ You might have already decided to pull data from 3rd party websites. If that’s what it is, then it’s high time to embark on the project. Most of the extractors will begin by checking the presence of APIs. However, they might be unaware of a crucial and unique option in this context.

Automatic data support
Every website lends virtual support to a structured data source, and that too by default. You can pull out or retrieve highly relevant data directly from the HTML. The process is termed as ‘web scraping’ and can ensure numerous benefits for you. Let’s check out how web scraping is useful and awesome.

Any content you view is ready for scraping
All of us download various stuff throughout the day. Whether it is music, important documents or images, downloads seem to be regular affairs. When you are successful in downloading any particular content of a page, it means the website offers unrestricted access to your browser. It won’t take long for you to understand that the content is programmatically accessible too. On that note, it’s high time to work out effective reasons that define the importance of web scraping. Before opting for RSS feeds, APIs, or other conventional data extraction methods, you should assess the benefits of web scraping. Here’s what you need to know in this context.

Website vs. APIs: Who’s the winner?
Site owners are more concerned about their public-facing or official websites than the structured data feeds. APIs can change, and feeds can shift without prior notifications. The breakdown of Twitter’s developer ecosystem is a crucial example for this.

So, what are the reasons for this downfall?
At times, these errors are deliberate. However, the crucial reasons are something else. Most of the enterprises are completely unaware of their structured data and information. Even if the data gets damaged, altered, or mangled, there’s no one to care about it.
However, that isn’t what happens with the website. When an official website stops functioning or delivers poor performance, the consequences are direct and in-your-face. Quite naturally, developers and site owners decide to fix it almost instantaneously.

Zero-rate limiting
Rate-limiting doesn’t exist for public websites. Although it’s imperative to build defences against access automation, most of the enterprises don’t care to do that. It’s only done if there are captchas on signups. If you aren’t making repeated requests, there are no possibilities of you being considered as a DDOS attack.

In-your-face data
Web scraping is perhaps the best way to gain access to crucial data. The desired data sets are already there, and you won’t have to rely on APIs or other data sources for gaining access. All you need to do is browse the site and find out the most appropriate data. Identifying and figuring out the basic data patterns will help you to a great extent.
Unknown and Anonymous access

You might want to gather information or collect data secretly. Simply put, you might wish to keep the entire process highly confidential. APIs will demand registrations and give you a key, which is the most important part of sending requests. With HTTP requests, you can stay secure and keep the process confidential, as the only aspects exposed are your site cookies and IP address. These are some of the reasons explaining the benefits of web scraping. Once you are through with these points, it’s high time to master the art of scraping.
Getting started with data extraction

If you are already eager to grab data, it’s high time you work on the blueprints for the project. Surprised? Well, data scraping or rather web data scraping requires in-depth analysis along with a bit of upfront work. While documentations are available with APIs, that’s not the case with HTTP requests. Be patient and innovative, as that will help you throughout the project.

2. Data fetching

Begin the process by looking for the URL and knowing the endpoints. Here are some of the pointers worth considering:
- Organized information: You must have an idea of the kind of information you want. If you wish to have it in an organized manner, rely on the navigation offered by the site. Track the changes in the site URL while you click through sections and sub-sections.
- Search functionality: Websites with search functionality will make your job easier than ever. You can keep on typing some of the useful terms or keywords based on your search. While doing so, keep track of URL changes.
- Removing unnecessary parameters: When it comes to looking for crucial information, the GET parameter plays a vital role. Try looking for unnecessary and undesired GET parameters in the URL, and removing them from the URL. Keep the ones that’ll help you load the data.
2. Pagination comes next

While looking for data, you might have to scroll down and move to subsequent pages. Once you click to Page 2, ‘offset=parameter’ gets added to the selected URL. Now, what is this function all about? The ‘offset=parameter’ function can represent either the number of features on the page or the page-numbering itself. The function will help you perform multiple iterations until you attain the “end of data” status.

Trying out AJAX
Most of the people nurture certain misconceptions about data scraping. While they think that AJAX makes their job tougher than ever, it’s actually the opposite. Sites utilising AJAX for data-loading ensures smooth data scraping. The time isn’t far away when AJAX will return along with JavaScript. Pulling up the ‘Network’ tab in Firebug or Web Inspector will be the best thing to do in this context. With these tips in mind, you will have the opportunity to get crucial data or information from the server. You need to extract the information and get it out of the page markup, which is the most difficult or tricky part of the process.

Unstructured data issues
When it comes to dealing with unstructured data, you will need to keep certain crucial aspects in mind. As stated earlier, pulling out the data from page markups is a highly critical task. Here’s how you can do it:
1. Utilising the CSS hooks
According to numerous web designers, the CSS hooks happen to be the best resources for puling data. Since it doesn’t involve numerous classes, CSS hooks offer straightforward data scraping.
2. Good HTML Parsing
Having a good HTML library will help you in ways more than one. With the help of a functional and dynamic HTML parsing library, you can create several iterations as and when you wish to.

Knowing the loopholes
Web scraping won’t be an easy affair. However, it won’t be a hard nut to crack either. While knowing the crucial web scraping tips is necessary, it’s also imperative to get an idea of the traps. If you have been thinking about it, we have something for you!
- Login contents: Contents that require you to login might prove to be potential traps. It reveals your identity and wreaks havoc on your project’s confidentiality.
- Rate limiting: Rate limiting can affect your scraping needs both positively and negatively, and that entirely depends on the application you are working on.
Parting thoughts

Extracting data the right way will be critical to the success of your business venture. With traditional data extraction methods failing to offer desired experiences, web designers and developers are embracing web scraping services. With these essential tips and tricks, you will surely gain data insights with perfect web scraping.

Source Url:- https://www.promptcloud.com/blog/how-easy-is-data-extraction