- Muskan Goel
9 Questions to ask before hiring a web scraping service
Guess what do a venture capitalist planning a new venture, the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, an equity analyst, a marketer, and a journalist have in common? They all generate their approaches and perspectives from data, after all!
The new point of difference is market intelligence using publicly available data. It serves as the foundation for market research, competitive analysis, and business strategies. Whether you're starting a new project or developing a new strategic plan for an existing business, you'll need to access and analyze a massive amount of data. Web scraping comes into play here.
As an organization, you need to decide whether to go for an in-house service or a dedicated web scraping service. There are complicated challenges to having an in-house team. Hiring can be a time-consuming and costly process that not every company can afford and would like to. Another issue that an in-house team can face is needing a customized setup to crawl each site because of the challenges imposed on web scraping. This will not only reduce the efficiency but also intensify the money investment.
This is where a dedicated direct service comes in! With the least average cost, guaranteed efficiency, reliable structure, and up-to-date information, web scraping professionals can help you achieve your objectives quickly. But how to choose the exemplary web scraping service for you? This blog will talk about nine web scraping questions you should ask before hiring a web scraper for your organization.
9 Questions to ask before hiring a web scraping service
1. Is the service able to handle large-scale data?
Creating a web scraper is not a challenging task. However, as the number of web scrapers and the volume of data increases, management will become more complex. Will the direct service keep up with the increased demand is one of the most crucial web scraping questions to be asked. In the event of such load peaks, how will it offer high-quality levels? You should choose a service that is scalable and potential. This signifies that as your data needs grow, the scraping service shouldn't pause and knock you down. Your scraper should have sufficient services and facilities at the prescribed average cost to meet your future data requirements, no matter how large or small.
2. What happens if the vendors shut down the company?
Let's imagine a worst-case scenario. What happens when your service provider shuts down operations? It can happen because of many reasons like a financial crisis, lawsuit, etc. You can't feed your app that entirely depends on data unless you have access to the technology that powers scraping. If the direct service providers use proprietary technology, you will not be getting support as no one maintains the technology anymore. Hiring someone who is using open source technology will be more preferable. If you hire a vendor using proprietary technology, you will have to live with the fear of losing data one day.
3. What measures are taken to ensure the Quality of data?
Except if the service provider has cleaned up the mess, data gathered from the web is generally unorganized and not in a usable format. Finally, how successful and organized it will be wholly reliant on the efficiency of the service you choose. As a result, you must select a service provider who will keep track of cleaning up and converting junk data into actionable and meaningful data. The final database's reliability is critical, influencing the research process and, ultimately, the end results. You cannot compromise data quality because it will indeed affect your prestige and revenues. Programmatic approaches can never be perfect. The best approach here will be a combination of human and machine intelligence.
4. How transparent is the pricing structure?
When it comes to pricing, transparency is critical. It should be a straightforward pricing model that anyone can grasp at a brief look. Complex payment systems are inconvenient and, at times, troubling. And in fact, they may even imply that there are hidden costs. When you scale up in the future, pricing should be predictable. Stare for a web scraping service with transparent and straightforward pricing. Ideally, the pricing scheme will allow you to estimate your future average cost quickly. So, the more consistent the pricing scheme, the more reliable the service is! You can also choose the providers that offer a pay-as-you-go pricing model—implying that you will be paying only for the data you request instead of charging separately for both large and small data requirements.
5. How do they deal with website pattern change?
Websites frequently experience technical updates to keep up with developments in UI/UX and incorporate more functionality. Web scrapers are strictly written concerning the web page's customizations at the setup moment; thus, regular revisions confuse the codes, causing scrapers to struggle. The Quality of data will be impacted if your service provider cannot detect it and tweak scrapers. When selecting a vendor, you must consider whether it is competent and prepared to adapt to the rapidly changing website patterns. The scraper would need to be updated to reflect the modifications. If the scraper does not efficiently handle these changes, you should avoid them.
6. How do they deal with Anti-scraping mechanisms?
Please remember that, because they don't want excessive bot activity to overwhelm their page, many websites have implemented anti-scraping mechanisms that prevent web scrapers from accessing their content. You may face challenges like bots, captchas, getting banned, and many more. To know more about these challenges, you can read this detailed Data hut blog: 10 Web Scraping Challenges You Need to Know. It's a pure hardship to choose suitable anti-scraping tools and get around these mechanisms. There are several options, but they can be costly and time-consuming. So, before appointing your web scraping service, inquire about their approach to the problem. An effective scraping service should have anti-scraping tools and robust technology to handle these situations while still upholding the target servers. You must ensure that your scraping service provider is capable of dealing with these obstacles promptly and cost-effectively.
7. What Are the Formats of Data Delivery?
The formats/file aspects you want this same data delivered is one of the most crucial web scraping questions to be asked. Whatever data format you require, please make sure that the web data scraping service can provide it. If you want it in CSV format, look for a web scraping service that offers CSV data. It is preferable to work with someone who can generate data in various formats so that you can continue to rely on them even if your needs change in the future. There are numerous methods for delivering data. Most vendors can deliver data in CSV, JSON, or standard formats or via an API. In conclusion, the vendor that can deliver data in a format that you are familiar and comfortable with will be the best!
8. How does the customer support system work?
Web scraping is all about massive and unstructured data to be converted in an organized and communicable format. Customer service is vital to deal with vast amounts of data that you may not even be able to manage. You may face issues about some figures or the structure or many other possible ways. Therefore you need someone who can clear your doubts on time without disrupting your deadlines. You will also require prompt responses to your inquiries. You will not have to worry about something going wrong if you have quality customer service in place. Make sure that the vendor is using modern customer support systems like Freshdesk or Zendesk. When looking for the best, customer care should be one of the top priorities of the service to be considered as your choice.
9. Customer reviews and competitive analysis
Last but not the least, customer ratings and reviews can play an essential role in deciding factors. Customers' point of view will tell you how their experience was and will they like to recommend this service to somebody else or not. Hence, do not forget to carefully evaluate these customer reviews and conduct a thorough competitive analysis to help you understand what your competitors are choosing. In addition, they must have conducted their own research, which will help you make comparatively quicker and more effective decisions.
Given the importance of web scraping, and adequately customized web scraping service is the one that can provide you with a competitive advantage. But choosing the right one for your organization can be a tough job until you have some key points to consider while evaluating your options. Now you have them! Make sure to ask yourself these nine web scraping questions before deciding which web scraping service to go for. Then, go for a web scraper like Datahut to automate your data scraping
Datahut, a web scraping service provider, handles the difficult work while you focus on becoming your organization's superhero. But, of course, it is entirely up to you whether to begin large or small; all we recognize is that we are eager to get you started! Contact datahut to learn more.