Wisconsin Web Scraping

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Thursday, 20 April 2017

Web Scraping: Top 15 Ways To Use It For Business.

Web Scraping: Top 15 Ways To Use It For Business.

Web Scraping also commonly known as Web Data extraction / Web Harvesting / Screen Scrapping is a technology which is loved by startups, small and big companies. In simple words it is actually an automation technique to extract the unorganized web data into manageable format, where the data is extracted by traversing each URL by the robot and then using REGEX, CSS, XPATH or some other technique to extract the desired information in choice of output format.

So, it's a process of collecting information automatically from the World Wide Web. Current web scraping solutions range from the ad-hoc, requiring human effort, to even fully automated systems that are able to convert entire web sites into structured information. Using Web Scraper you can build sitemaps that will navigate the site and extract the data. Using different type of selectors the Web Scraper will navigate the site and extract multiple types of data - text, tables, images, links and more.

Here are 20 ways to use web scraping in your business.

 1. Scrape products & price for comparison site – The site specific web crawling websites or the price comparison websites crawl the stores website prices, product description and images to get the data for analytic, affiliation or comparison.  It has also been proved that pricing optimization techniques can improve gross profit margins by almost 10%. Selling products at a competitive rate all the time is a really crucial aspect of e-commerce. Web crawling is also used by travel, e-commerce companies to extract prices from airlines’ websites in real time since a long time. By creating your custom scraping agent you can extract product feeds, images, price and other all associated details regarding the product from multiple sites and create your own data-ware house or price comparison site. For example trivago.com

2. Online presence can be tracked- That’s also an important aspect of web scraping where business profiles and reviews on the websites can be scrapped. This can be used to see the performance of the product, the user behavior and reaction. The web scraping could list and check thousands of the user profiles and the reviews which can be really useful for the business analytics.

3. Custom Analysis and curation- This one is basically for the new websites/ channels wherein the scrapped data can be helpful for the channels in knowing the viewer behavior. This is done with the goal of providing targeted news to the audience. Thus what you watch online gives the behavioral pattern to the website so they know their audience and offer what actually the audience like.

4. Online Reputation - In this world of digitalization companies are bullish about the spent on the online reputation management. Thus the web scrapping is essential here as well. When you plan your ORM strategy the scrapped data helps you to understand which audiences you most hope to impact and what areas of liability can most open your brand up to reputation damage. The web crawler could reveal opinion leaders, trending topics and demographic facts like gender, age group, GEO location, and sentiment in text. By understanding these areas of vulnerability, you can use them to your greatest advantage.

5. Detect fraudulent reviews - It has become a common practice for people to read online opinions and reviews for different purposes. Thus it’s important to figure out the Opinion Spamming: It refers to "illegal" activities example writing fake reviews on the portals. It is also called shilling, which tries to mislead readers. Thus the web scrapping can be helpful crawling the reviews and detecting which one to block, to be verified, or streamline the experience.

6. To provide better targeted ads to your customers- The scrapping not only gives you numbers but also the sentiments and behavioral analytic thus you know the audience types and the choice of ads they would want to see.

7. Business specific scrapping – Taking doctors for example: you can scrape health physicians or doctors from their clinic websites to provide a catalog of available doctors as per specialization and region or any other specification.
8. To gather public opinion- Monitor specific company pages from social networks to gather updates for what people are saying about certain companies and their products. Data collection is always useful for the product’s growth.
9. Search engine results for SEO tracking- By scraping organic search results you can quickly find out your SEO competitors for a particular search term. You can determine the title tags and the keywords they are targeting. Thus you get an idea of which keywords are driving traffic to a website, which content categories are attracting links and user engagement, what kind of resources will it take to rank your site.

10. Price competitiveness- It tracks the stock availability and prices of products in one of the most frequent ways and sends notifications whenever there is a change in competitors' prices or   in the market. In ecommerce, Retailers or marketplaces use web scraping not only to monitor their competitor prices but also to improve their product attributes.  To stay on top of their direct competitors, nowadays e-commerce sites have started closely monitoring their counterparts. For example, say Amazon would want to know how their products are performing against Flipkart or Walmart, and whether their product coverage is complete. Towards this end, they would want to crawl product catalogs from these two sites to find the gaps in their catalog. They’d also want to stay updated about whether they’re running any promotions on any of the products or categories. This helps in gaining actionable insights that can be implemented in their own pricing decisions. Apart from promotions, sites are also interested in finding out details such as shipping times, number of sellers, availability, similar products (recommendations) etc. for identical products.

11. Scrape leads- This is another important use for the sales driven organization wherein lead generation is done. Sales teams are always hungry for data and with the help of the web scrapping technique you can scrap leads from directories such as Yelp, Sulekha, Just Dial, Yellow Pages etc. and then contact them to make a sales introduction. To crapes complete information about the business profile, address, email, phone, products/services, working hours, Geo codes, etc. The data can be taken out in the desired format and can be used for lead generation, brand building or other purposes..
12. For events organization – You can scrape events from thousands of event websites in the US to create an application that consolidates all of the events together.

13. Job scraping sites : Job sites are also using scrapping to list all the data in one place. They scrape different company websites or jobs sites to create a central job board website and have a list of companies that are currently hiring to contact. There is also a method to use Google with LinkedIn to get lists of people by company which are geo-targeted by this data.  The only thing that was difficult was to extract from the professional social networking site is contact details,  although now they are readily available through other sources by writing scraping scripts methods to collate this data. For example naukri.com

14. Online reputation management : Do you know 50% of consumers read reviews before deciding to book a hotel. Now scrape review, ratings and comments from multiple websites to understand the customer sentiments and analyze with your favorite tool.

15. To build vertical specific search engines- This is new thing popular in the market but again for this a lot of data is needed hence web scrapping is done for as much public data as possible because this volume of data is practically impossible to gather.

Web scraping can be used to power up the following businesses like Social media monitoring Travel sites, Lead generation, E-commerce, Events listings, Price comparison, Finance, Reputation monitoring and the list is never ending
Each business has competition in the present world, so companies scrape their competitor information regularly to monitor the movements. In the era of big data, applications of web scraping is endless. Depending on your business, you can find a lot of area where web data can be of great use.  Web scraping is thus an art which is use to make data gathering automated and fast.


Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Three Common Methods For Web Data Extraction

Three Common Methods For Web Data Extraction

Probably the most common technique used traditionally to extract data from web pages this is to cook up some regular expressions that match the pieces you want (e.g., URL's and link titles). Our screen-scraper software actually started out as an application written in Perl for this very reason. In addition to regular expressions, you might also use some code written in something like Java or Active Server Pages to parse out larger chunks of text. Using raw regular expressions to pull out the data can be a little intimidating to the uninitiated, and can get a bit messy when a script contains a lot of them. At the same time, if you're already familiar with regular expressions, and your scraping project is relatively small, they can be a great solution.

Other techniques for getting the data out can get very sophisticated as algorithms that make use of artificial intelligence and such are applied to the page. Some programs will actually analyze the semantic content of an HTML page, then intelligently pull out the pieces that are of interest. Still other approaches deal with developing "ontologies", or hierarchical vocabularies intended to represent the content domain.

There are a number of companies (including our own) that offer commercial applications specifically intended to do screen-scraping. The applications vary quite a bit, but for medium to large-sized projects they're often a good solution. Each one will have its own learning curve, so you should plan on taking time to learn the ins and outs of a new application. Especially if you plan on doing a fair amount of screen-scraping it's probably a good idea to at least shop around for a screen-scraping application, as it will likely save you time and money in the long run.

So what's the best approach to data extraction? It really depends on what your needs are, and what resources you have at your disposal. Here are some of the pros and cons of the various approaches, as well as suggestions on when you might use each one:

Raw regular expressions and code


- If you're already familiar with regular expressions and at least one programming language, this can be a quick solution.
- Regular expressions allow for a fair amount of "fuzziness" in the matching such that minor changes to the content won't break them.
- You likely don't need to learn any new languages or tools (again, assuming you're already familiar with regular expressions and a programming language).
- Regular expressions are supported in almost all modern programming languages. Heck, even VBScript has a regular expression engine. It's also nice because the various regular expression implementations don't vary too significantly in their syntax.

Ontologies and artificial intelligence


- You create it once and it can more or less extract the data from any page within the content domain you're targeting.
- The data model is generally built in. For example, if you're extracting data about cars from web sites the extraction engine already knows what the make, model, and price are, so it can easily map them to existing data structures (e.g., insert the data into the correct locations in your database).
- There is relatively little long-term maintenance required. As web sites change you likely will need to do very little to your extraction engine in order to account for the changes.

Screen-scraping software


- Abstracts most of the complicated stuff away. You can do some pretty sophisticated things in most screen-scraping applications without knowing anything about regular expressions, HTTP, or cookies.
- Dramatically reduces the amount of time required to set up a site to be scraped. Once you learn a particular screen-scraping application the amount of time it requires to scrape sites vs. other methods is significantly lowered.
- Support from a commercial company. If you run into trouble while using a commercial screen-scraping application, chances are there are support forums and help lines where you can get assistance.


Monday, 10 April 2017

Scrape Data from Website is a Proven Way to Boost Business Profits

Data scraping is not a new technology in market. Several business persons use this method to get benefited from it and to make good fortune. It is the procedure of gathering worthwhile data that has been located in the public domain of the internet and keeping it in records or databases for future usage in innumerable applications.

There is a large amount of data available only through websites. However, as many people have found out, trying to copy data into a usable database or spreadsheet directly out of a website can be a tiring process. Manual copying and pasting of data from web pages is shear wastage of time and effort. To make this task easier there are a number of companies that offer commercial applications specifically intended to scrape data from website. They are proficient of navigating the web, evaluating the contents of a site, and then dragging data points and placing them into an organized, operational databank or worksheet.

Web scraping company

Every day, there are numerous websites that are hosting in internet. It is almost impossible to see all the websites in a single day. With this scraping tool, companies are able to view all the web pages in internet. If a business is using an extensive collection of applications, these scraping tools prove to be very useful.

It is most often done either to interface to a legacy system which has no other mechanism which is compatible with current hardware, or to interface to a third-party system which does not provide a more convenient API. In the second case, the operator of the third-party system will often see screen scraping as unwanted, due to reasons such as increased system load, the loss of advertisement revenue, or the loss of control of the information content.

Scrape data from website greatly helps in determining the modern market trends, customer behavior and the future trends and gathers relevant data that is immensely desirable for the business or personal use.

Source : http://www.botscraper.com/blog/Scrape-Data-from-Website-is-a-Proven-Way-to-Boost-Business-Profits

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Web Data Extraction Services Derive Data from Huge Sources of Information

Web Data Extraction Services Derive Data from Huge Sources of Information

Statistics show that the number of websites exceeded 1 billion and will exceed this figure by 2016. Even considering that only 25% are active the number is staggering. In this there are thousands of categories dedicated to virtually all subjects under the Sun. For people who want information the internet is a boon because they can get the latest data and detailed information on the topic of their interest. Anyone who does not know how complex the web is would think that a simple Google search is all they need to get their hands on information. It is only when they actually do it that they realize how frustrating it is to actually get to sites that contain genuine information and not promotional materials.

Out there people have access to not just gigabytes of data but terabytes out of which data that serves their purpose may only be in megabytes but to get to this it requires accessing not one but thousands of websites and extracting data. The task is easy for web data extraction services since keywords and a few other parameters and the software do they use automated web data extraction software. The operator simply inputs filters, defines es the rest. The software will carry out automatic searches based on inputs and will access thousands of sites and voluminous amounts of data. From this huge mountain of data it extracts only the specific bits of information required by the end user. The rest is discarded.

How is this advantageous to the end user?

In the normal course the end user if left to extract web data on his own would not have the time or patience to visit hundreds or thousands of websites. It would take more than a couple of months. Even assuming he did visit websites, he would be up against blocks put up by the administrators that would prevent him from accessing or downloading the data. Third, even if he did manage to obtain information, he would have to refine it-a painstaking and time consuming task. All these headaches are short-circuited by the use of web data extraction software. He sits back, carries on with his usual work and the information he seeks is delivered to him by the web extraction service. The extraction tool they use accesses thousands of sites, even password protected sites and sites with automatic blocks against repeated attempts. Since it is automated it can access one website after another in quick succession and download data in the multi-threaded mode. It will run unattended for hours and days, all the while sifting through terabytes of data and exporting refined data into a predefined format. An end user gets more meaningful data he can work on immediately and be even more productive.

If web data extraction services are popular and accepted it is only because they deliver meaningful data. They can only do this if they have the tools to access the huge number of websites, ferret out the data from the voluminous mass and present it all in a usable format, all of which is easy when they use the extractor tool.