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 headed in.
Web scraping helps realtors not only keep track of which properties are still on the market and which have been sold but helps close the sales cycle more quickly and appear powerfully omniscient to home hunters.
2. Retail price comparisons / Competitor research and monitoring
If you have an online shop for your business, selling products that are either identical or comparable to a competitor’s inventory, can you afford not to know what everyone else is charging?
Yet, searching site after site of every competing retailer would take far too much time for retailers. By the time one would get around to manually searching every viable competitor’s prices, who knows what would happen? Manually searching for price data would take so long that the item you are looking up could even go out of production, or out of style.
Scraping allows retailers to search across hundreds (or thousands) of retailers in the blink of an eye. This is helpful for when items are put on sale, so retailers can immediately adjust their own inventory pricing to stay competitive.
Further, this saves an enormous amount of time for wholesalers that need to monitor MAP (minimum advertised price). If your company has products being retailed in thousands of shops, monitoring each product’s pricing on each shops’ page will be more than a headache. Hence, data scraping will save time by collecting and reporting when the MAP is betrayed by a retailer.
3. Personal reputation research
Whether for oneself or for researching others, data scraping algorithms allow you to search social media sites for personal details of an individual, and what people are saying on social media about that person.
Think of data scrapers in this application as a news feed that tells you only what you specifically need to know. For example, you can easily find how many times a person is mentioned, in whatever specific context, and if they have posted anything offensive on social media, no matter how recently or not. This is helpful for HR departments that need to do research on applicants, what people say about them, what they’ve posted in the past, in order to determine whether or not they will fit into the company culture.
4. Vendor reputation research
Much in the same way as above, data scraping allows you to learn what customers are saying on social media and review sites about a business. If you are looking to hire a roofing company, for example, they likely have a presence on social media, the yellow pages, and/or Yelp. Data scraping, in this case, saves valuable time if one needs a specific type of task done, so instead of sifting through every contractor with a solid general reputation, you can find which contractors have a great reputation for performing specific tasks.
5. Academic research
Academics are known for getting published for performing valuable, and meticulously detailed academic research. However, they are not the best at marketing their research and making it readily available online without doing a lot of digging. Doing a Google search for peer-reviewed articles on a topic is chaotic at best.
Academic researchers looking to find evidence to back up their hypotheses will save substantial hours or days by using data scraping. Articles published online can be quickly discovered that include data that pertains to a specific hypothesis. If there is a sub-heading in a study that is valuable for a researcher, they will not need to read page after page of an entire article to see if whether or not the article references the point they are trying to make themselves.
6. Retrieving information from forums
There are hundreds of user and enthusiast forums online, and information quickly gets buried with each post. Say that you have an independent auto repair shop – if you were looking for advice on a specific part or repair, you would otherwise need to either spend hours searching through every car forum or posting a question and waiting for someone, if anyone, to respond.
In this example, many people have likely previously posted info or advice that applies to this hypothetical situation, and by using a data scraping service you can find the particular advice or previous experiences in the blink of an eye.
7. Finding customer leads for niche services
There are myriad applications for data scraping for discovering customer leads. From planning a company’s move to a new geographical region to considering opening a branch to provide a novel service, data scraping can save a countless number of days or weeks researching level of customer interest and location. This is especially handy for those that work in a niche industry, such as small business tax law, or elder care services.
Time is money, so why waste it?
The applications for data scraper are limitless, from gaging a product’s popularity to journalistic research. As more and more data is uploaded, it becomes messier and more challenging to sort through it all and find exactly what you need to know.
Feel free to contact us for a quote on how we can help you get the information you need, no matter which industry you work in.