Web Scraping Is Now an Online Arms Race No Internet Marketer Can Ignore
Updated: Feb 12
The rate at which websites have grown in the past is simply astounding. According to Internet Livestats, there are more than a billion websites generating data and recording digital footprints. These websites and the data recorded is a goldmine for companies and brands. These are the source of a huge amount of data-driven insights and consumer needs, which can help any brand skyrocket their business.
Giants like Amazon, Walmart, Zara all in the past have relied on big data to drive their businesses to the pinnacle of success. Zara uses big data to keep a track of trends thought consumer opinions and trend data to ahead in the curve and ensures that a fresh stock reaches their retails stores every 21 days.
Take Amazon’s example. Recently they made the headlines after they successfully managed to block Walmart’s bots, which were scraping its websites several million times a day to keep a track of its pricing strategy and tactics. Walmart’s bots found themselves blocked from the listing for weeks and were forced to resort to secondary sources to get the data they required. Amazon’s proficiency with bots not only allows it to block the bots of its competitors, but it also spires on them through their website at the same time.
Thought automated scraping is one of the best solutions to gather big data and start the process of analysis, people are always under the impression that such type of tech is only available with industry giants. But now with the technology emerging every day and services getting cheaper,
the benefits of big data and data and web scraping not limited to industry giants anymore.
They are available to anyone willing to invest.
Data is power
What was once a simple tool to extract data and info from the websites, has now turned into
a race for companies and brands to sabotage data extraction of other brands and achieve that competitive advantage. Similarly, third-party services and tech have emerged which help brands
to block of these tactics and competitors scraping their data.
To overcome the problem of getting false information, companies have deployed proxy networks, which helps them hide their identities and information. However, these proxy networks can be identified by the companies and thus many companies resort to a P2P network.
A P2P network consists of consumers who are willing to route some commercial requests through their IP in return for benefits like free use of an application, ad-free browsing, using the P2P network themselves and more. So companies collecting info through this method will be seen as a consumer on the web and can keep collecting data without the risk of being blocked.
Data was a power which initially rested in the hands of Fortune 500 companies which they deployed to slay their competitors. However, newer with web scraping technologies, it’s now more easily available in the hands of smaller companies to use.
How companies use data scraping to get ahead in the online arms race?
Some companies generate high-quality sales leads rather than buying contact lists.
Other companies scrape job boards to find out which companies are growing and
Let’s look at Proven, a skincare brand. They have a continually updated database of 8 million reviews. 100,000 beauty products and over 4,000 scientific articles about skincare and the ingredients they use in the products. Their machine algorithm discovers a link between creams, toners, and cleansers to develop a link between skin type, ethnicity and skin conditions like pimples and irritations. Customers fill out these questionnaires and AI helps them choose the right product for their skin.
This race for data is very prevalent in the online advertising industry. The giants in this industry need to make sure that hackers don’t use their advertising platforms and methods to spread viruses and malware. This threat has become more eminent with the rapid growth in digital marketing. The big companies constantly need to scrape ad servers to ensure that the content is legitimate and safe.
For instance, Walmart, one of the oldest retail stores in the world, has now taken the world by storm with its Data Cafe initiative- which is a state of the art data analytics hub. The amount of data that Walmart encounters is humongous and to make a sense of all of this, Walmart has connected made the Data Cafe, which is connected over 200 streams of internal and external data which is accessible to all employees. This has enhanced Walmart’s business decision-making capabilities immensely and has allowed it to take real-time action based on data insights and trend shifts.
Not too far behind the game is Airbnb which uses big data to help its consumers find their most preferred home for the stay. Airbnb draws its data from a list of preferences selected by its consumers and then sifts through its list of properties based on price range and keywords.
This has helped Airbnb skyrocket its business by providing excellent service quick and more efficiently.
Another company playing the big data game right is Uber. As soon as you book a cab from Uber, it connects you to the nearest driver. This process takes 15 seconds or less and in this while, Uber has your destination as well as pick up point recorded. Over time Uber will know the routes your travel and how frequently. This data for every person who has ever used Uber accumulate into a huge database and helps Uber in various services like price determination.
Data is the newest weapon in everyone’s arsenal today and to not be able to leverage it will be a big disadvantage.
If you are looking for web scraping to transform your business, Contact Datahut, your big data experts.