Originally published as https://reurl.cc/o7WY0D
Web scraping surely brings advantages to us. It is speedy, cost-effective, and can collect data from websites with an accuracy of over 90%. It frees you from endless copy-and-paste into messy layout documents. However, something may be overlooked. There are some limitations and even risks lurking behind web scraping.
What is Web Scraping and What Can Web Scraping Do
For those who are not familiar with web scraping, let me explain. Web scraping is a technique used to extract information from websites at a rapid speed. The data scraped down and saved to the local will be accessible at any time. It works as one of the first steps in data analysis, data visualization, and data mining as it collects data from many sources. Getting data prepared is a prerequisite for further visualization or analysis. That’s obvious. But how can we start web scraping?
Which is the Best Way to Scrape Data?
There are some common techniques to scrape data from web pages, which all come with some limitations. You can either build your own crawler using programming languages, outsource your web scraping projects, or use a web scraping tool. Without a specific context, there is no such thing as “the best way to scrape.” Think of your basic knowledge of coding, how much time is disposable, and your financial budget, you will have your own pick.
If you are an experienced coder and you are confident with your coding skills, you can definitely scrape data by yourself. However, since each website needs a crawler, you will have to build a bunch of crawlers for different sites. This can be time-consuming. You should be equipped with sufficient programming knowledge for crawlers’ maintenance. Think about that.
If you own a company with a big budget craving for accurate data, the story would be different. Forget about programming. Just hire a group of engineers or outsource your web scraping project to professionals.
Speaking of outsourcing, you may find some online freelancers offering these data collection services. The unit price looks quite affordable. However, if you carefully calculate the number of sites and loads of items you are planning to get, the amount may grow exponentially. Statistics show that to scrape 6000 products’ information from Amazon, quotes from web…