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Is Data Scraping a Headache for Small Business Owners?

Is Data Scraping a Headache for Small Business Owners?

Let’s face it, you can’t have a business without data! Information drives everything in life, especially business.  You must do market research to know where your company is going, what customers’ demands are, keep up with changes in the industry, etc. Businesses that don’t utilize such data won’t get off the ground.  You must also keep an eye on competitors.  Since we already understand the need for data in the private sector, the real question is how do we go about obtaining this data. We know that it all exist online, stashed away in hard to find places across the world wide web, but it won’t just up and voluntarily walk up to us and say “hi”, we have to dig for it by scraping. Some small businesses might try an in-house approach because they believe it will save them money by being cheaper than paying for the data.  Others may consider it is better to do it in house because they will be in control of the data.  They may feel that they will know what they are looking for better than somebody else would. Let’s Be Realistic Here Doing it yourself may sound cool, but what all does this entail?  Somebody green to the business world may google words such as “how to data scrape yourself” and pull up all the articles saying, “you can do it”.  They will probably get all excited, spend two days reading articles and watch all the YouTube videos, and then reality sets in. They have to spend money on cloud based servers, allot money for bandwidth cost, then realize that they...
Data Scraping vs Data Crawling

Data Scraping vs Data Crawling

Data scraping and data crawling are two phrases that you often hear used , as if the two words are synonyms that mean the exact same thing.  Many people in common speech refer to the two as if they are the same process. While at face value they may appear to give the same results, the methods utilized are very different.  Both are important to retrieving data but the process involved and the type of information sought after vary in different ways.   It is kind of like asking do you want the shortest route to your destination, or do you want the fastest route to your destination.  While one way might be shorter in distance, it could end up taking you twice the time to arrive based on traffic conditions. But if you are short on gas, you may want to take the shorter way.  The same applies here.  For some data extraction, a person will  want scraping, for other types, crawling is necessary.  To clear up some of this confusion we have decided to describe the differences in layman’s terms so that you don’t have to have an IT professional on hand to understand what one process is versus the other.  Understanding the difference between the two is important for understanding the method of retrieving your desired information. What Exactly is Data Scraping? Data scraping is the finding of data and then scraping it. It pulls data directly from a page. This doesn’t pull exclusively from the web, it can be taken from anywhere that data exist.  This could include spreadsheets, storage devices, etc, anywhere data exist...
Major Victory for Social Media Scraping

Major Victory for Social Media Scraping

In a recent United States district court case, a Federal Judge in northern California has ruled that companies can be involved in social media scraping activities, legally. Judge Edward M. Chen defended the interests of the public and the free flow and use of information on the open web as part of a copyright lawsuit between hiQ Labs, Inc. and the LinkedIn Corporation. This aspect provides many opportunities. It enables data scientists, media analysts, and developers to continue to access publicly available data without burdensome technical or legal restrictions from social media sites. This is great news for companies who have the foresight to develop innovative products and solutions with the sea of public information that social media brings to the internet. Scraping isn’t Hacking hiQ is a startup that has produced a software using innovative algorithms which determine when someone is seeking new employment on LinkedIn. These determinations are based on information that users provide or change in connection to their use of their public LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn took issue with hiQ’s acquisition of data made publicly available through their service, leading them to take measures to reduce or restrict their activities. hiQ took the case to court to defend their data harvesting activities as an integral part of their business model. When hiQ scrapes publicly accessible data from certain areas of LinkedIn, it aggregates this data into a report that is sold to employers. With these reports, employers can gain a certain level of insight about which of their employees might be seeking new employment. LinkedIn viewed hiQ’s acquisition and use of this data as a violation...
Ways to Use Social Media Scraping in Your Favor

Ways to Use Social Media Scraping in Your Favor

Social Media has become a very powerful form of reaching out to the public for all institutions.  Whether it be for a government entity, church, civic group, university, or business, social media is how you spread information to the general public at large.  Facebook groups and company pages interact with the local community to get the word out on special deals or public events.   This has become the way of communication for the twenty-first century.  If you are trying to promote a product or service and aren’t using social media, then you may as well not be in business. Keep Up with Competition Social media allows you to keep up to date on what your competitors are doing.  You can scrape a post about what their products, deals, services, etc. are doing.  With this information, you can take counter actions in your marketing campaigns.  Then you can make a better offer that out-does your competition.  This knowledge can make you the worst nightmare of your competitors.  Price scraping means that you can fully understand the supply and demand graph to find the equilibrium price sweet spot for your products or services. This is of significant importance to the highly competitive e-commerce industry as well as companies that serve local communities such as electricians, plumbers, mechanics, and the retail industry.  You will always be ahead of the game by keeping an eye on all competitors, learning their strengths and weaknesses. LinkedIn contains all the professional data for your competitors, allowing you to know their educational background and thus fully understand what you are up against. Social Media Data is...