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Legal and Ethical Aspects of Data Scraping

Legal and Ethical Aspects of Data Scraping

If you do a Google search for “data scraping ethics” you get almost 270K results returned. The topic itself is rife with debate on both sides, for and against data scraping practices. But, the real issue does not lie within data scraping as a practice, but more so in what people choose to do with the data they have collected, and the method with which people choose to scrape data. For example, web scraping to collect information for a retailer’s price comparison purposes is one thing, while data scraping to overload a server and shut down a website with a “Denial of Service” attack is quite another, to say the least.  The problem regarding the legality of certain applications of data scraping has left numerous people that use scraping software confused, and thirsty for advice. That being said, the one common denominator that you hear from everyone is that it depends on what you are using data scraping for.  But, not so fast – there are times when even if you are using data scraping for honest, benevolent purposes, that you can be in violation of the law. Today we are going to go over how to play by the rules with data scraping, and why it is important to go about doing such ethically. Terms of Use / Ethical Violations  First, before considering anything else, comes the issue of a site’s terms of use or terms and conditions. The simplest way to ensure that you are not violating any law when scraping data from a website is to read whether or not a website allows its data to...
7 Cases When Data Scraping Will Let You Get Data 100 Times Faster

7 Cases When Data Scraping Will Let You Get Data 100 Times Faster

Imagine that you need to know what time it is, but you do not have a watch and there is no clock on the wall. You have an appointment at 13:00. Would you rather spend the time and effort of tracking the sun’s movement and building a watch from scratch, or is it smarter, quicker, easier to just ask someone outside what time it is? We can all agree on what the best course of action in this example. The internet is flooded with data that is useful for businesses and individuals, but since there is overwhelmingly so much of it, it would take an exhausting number of hours or days (and too much coffee) to sift through it all yourself and take notes on what you need to know for your purposes. Hence, the creation of data scraping services. Why go through the legwork of searching page by page for your answer when you can simply ask for it, and have all of the relevant pages placed neatly in the palm of your hand? Today we will show you seven prime examples of how data scraping retrieves valuable, pertinent information, no matter what industry you work in, and super quick. 1. Real estate The real estate industry is overwhelming with the number of listings being added and removed each and every day. From Craigslist to realtor.com, there are myriad properties for sale or rent, and rapidly fluctuating values. Whether on the buying or selling end, realtors need to be informed in real-time of what property owners are looking for, what their habits are, and which direction prices are...