HOW TO SELECT A WEB SCRAPING SERVICE THAT IS ON POINT
Updated: Feb 5, 2021
The contemporary marketplace is like the Milky Way. Each of these businesses symbolises the stars. So when it is about how bright you shine, you need to plan way ahead of your competitors. That is where data acquisition comes into the picture. Now that decision-making relies on data, web scraping tools have become indispensable.
WHY DO YOU NEED A WEB SCRAPING SERVICE THAT IS ON POINT?
Setting up a retail business has become easier than before. This decade has witnessed extensive growth in the number of enterprise dealing with various products and services. Therefore, the number of online retailers has become more than one can anticipate.
The competition you will feel as an online retailer will be enough to push you under an enormous pile of pressure to succeed. This is when web scraping comes into the picture. Just around the corner, you can find many service providers.
But as a business that seeks to address problems and make a difference, one should provide for your needs efficiently. Your service provider should be able to align their work with your vision. So what should you be looking for in your ideal service provider? We, at Datahut, believe that the only factor that can ensure your success is the QUALITY of web scraping you get.
What is quality?
Quality is a term everyone can use. But do we understand it as well as we use it?
Henry Ford presented a clear picture of the term “quality” when he said:
Quality means doing it right when no one is looking.
We understand that you are good at what you do, that is retail marketing. But you need not be good at something like web scraping. And your service provider should respect that. So, even when you don’t have in-depth knowledge, your service-provider should do justice to the service they provide. Ensuring quality is essential at such times of neck-deep competition.
So let us introduce you to a few pointers that will help you select your ideal web scraping tool.
WHAT QUESTIONS YOU CAN ASK
With less technical knowledge, it can be tricky to assess someone’s expertise. But here is a list of questions that will make this a cakewalk for you.
QUESTIONS 1: IS THE DATA QUALITY IMPRESSIVE?
We get scraped data in its raw form. It needs to be structured so that one can understand it. Only after this, it can be moved forward for analysis. This particular step of cleaning up the data is what varies between companies.
The quality of data and its analysis depends highly on how your service-provider structures the raw data. The higher the data quality is, the better will be the service. And the better the service, the higher will be the rate of customer satisfaction.
So it is always helpful to ask for statistics that can serve as a reference to their previous work. As a safe side, try talking to the company’s other clients who can vouch for the quality of work they do.
QUESTION 2: HOW ADAPTABLE IS THEIR CRAWLER TO SUDDEN WEBSITE CHANGES?
No one wants to invite competition and especially not in the retail world. For that reason, websites use various anti-scraping techniques. One of them is to keep implementing a few changes on the site. Changes can be minimal, either structurally or visually.
But what will this do?
A web crawler follows a specific algorithm to scrape a website. This algorithm is mostly designed, keeping in mind the structure of the target website. So once, something has been changed in the website, your web crawler will become dysfunctional.
So to handle this issue, we need a web crawler that changes itself according to the changes in the website. Only then the crawler will keep on doing its task without any hindrance.
QUESTION 3: HOW FUTURISTIC IS YOUR WEB CRAWLER?
While selecting a new mobile, you look for the VOLTE attribute. Why? This precaution ensures that your phone will remain functional even with the next generation of a network like 5G. Same stands true for a web crawler.
With time your needs will change. You might want to crawl a more significant website. You might want to collect more amount of data and maybe even store it. Or by going a step further, you might ask for live data acquisition.
You can use any method to design a web crawler, but the end goal is to keep room for iterations. In the terminology used by tech geeks, we call this scalability. So, the next thing you need to enquire about is the scalability of the web crawler your service provider is going to give you or use on your behalf.
QUESTION 4: CAN THEY DO AWAY WITH THE ANTI-SCRAPING TECHNIQUES
You must have come across CAPTCHAS. They are one of the most common anti-scraping tools used by websites. These anti-scraping tools are used to differentiate between a genuine and non-genuine visitor. There are plenty of such methods.
The method of scraping a website is quite streamlined and straightforward, but it takes efforts to go undetected. Hence to get your job done with the minimum amount of adversary, you need a smart web scraping tool. Your tool should efficiently make its way around any such traps.
This issue makes it essential that you verify which anti-scraping tools are navigable with their web-scraping tool. After all, you don’t want any obstacle to success too.
QUESTION 5: WHAT PRICING MODEL DO THEY USE FOR WEB SCRAPING SERVICES?
Nobody wants to pay more than they get in return. It is true even for the big giants of a company. So the next thing is to verify if there are any hidden costs than make the price of the web scraping tool exorbitantly high.
Your service provider can flash a complicated model before you. But do try to dig deep even if it takes a good deal of effort. This way you will save yourself some money which you can use in some other sector of your retail business.
Ask your service provider to simplify the pricing model for your web crawler. This knowledge will help you in predicting the cost of any changes you might want later. If possible, go for pricing models where you have to pay in instalments or as you go. It will help you tackle the quality of service you are getting too.
QUESTION 6: WHAT FORMAT OF DATA DO THEY OFFER?
Data can be extracted and stored from websites in many formats. A few well-known of these formats are CSV and JSON With different data format, ease of data interpretation varies. Also, with different types of data units, it is better to choose various formats.
For instance, one format can be better suited for price comparison while the other one can be better for ad comparison. For this simple reason, try to finalise a web crawler that can deliver data in multiple formats.
QUESTION 7: HOW DO THEY DEAL WITH THEIR CUSTOMERS?
How much a company focuses on maintaining a good client relationship tells a good deal about them. From among the pool of options, you have to select someone who can be answerable to you.
You can have millions of query about the web crawler tool and your service provider should efficiently handle all of them, that too at the earliest. So please choose a service provider that uses some modern tools to manage their customer base like Zendesk. A provider who gives regular updates to their clients are always preferable.
All these questions will help you know if you are about to put the matter of your business in responsible hands or not.
GIVE DATAHUT A TRY!
Datahut believes in businesses and their potential. That is why we have based our data acquisition techniques on years of experimentation and learning. Design of each web crawler tool isn’t just a project for us. We believe that nothing supersedes quality.
So with every step you take towards success, we intend to be by your side. To experience a partnership that drives you further ahead, do try out our services!