Web Scraping 101: 10 Myths That Everyone Should Know

Octoparse
6 min readNov 14, 2023

Originally published as https://reurl.cc/8NAp6b

“Is web scraping legal? ” “Are web scraping and web crawling the same things?” You may have such questions when you hear about web scraping. Many people might have myths about its legal considerations, technologies, use cases, etc. In this article, we’ll explore TEN myths of web scraping.

If you are confused about what web scraping is and interested in applying it to your business and career, here is where you can get started.

1. Web scraping is illegal

Is web scraping legal?” must be one of the most common questions that people ask. Many people have false impressions about the legality of web scraping because some people don’t respect intellectual property rights and use web scrapers in an improper way like stealing private content. The first myth we want to explode is that web scraping isn’t illegal in itself, yet problems arise when people disregard websites’ terms of service (ToS) and scrape data without site owners’ permission.

According to a report, 2% of online revenue can be lost due to the misuse of content through web scraping. Even though there are no clear laws and terms to address and stipulate how to apply web scraping on websites, many legal regulations have encompassed it. For example:

2. Web scraping and web crawling are the same things

Web scraping and web crawling differ in their goals, which is the most significant difference. While web crawling scans and indexes the whole website with its internal likes without a specific goal, web scraping involves specific data extraction on a targeted webpage. As a result, web crawling is widely used in search engines. Web scraping is used to extract particular data fields like sales leads, real estate listings, product prices, reviews, etc.

3. You can scrape any website

On a technical level, you can scrape almost any website. But on a legal or ethical level, you can not do so all the…

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