If you’re a business owner, you’re probably fully aware of the increasing importance of data scraping and gathering. We have two excellent solutions for data scraping, proxies, and a scraping API, both with their advantages and disadvantages. So, let’s see what web scraping is, why it’s important for businesses, and compare the two data scraping solutions.
Web Scraping Is the Data Gathering Tool of the 21st Century
In the big data industry, data scraping has become an essential way of accessing valuable and precious data that can benefit a wide range of business organizations. From price comparison data to contact information of potential prospects, organizations can greatly benefit from such data gathering tools.
Web scraping can be defined as the process of collecting any data that is publicly available and not protected by copyrights for your personal/professional needs. If your business requires you to extract data from some website, web scraping is a perfect solution for your needs.
Industries such as marketing and advertising, retail, finances, and IT rely on web scraping to improve their operations. With that in mind, web scraping offers a few benefits to business:
- Consistency and reliability
- Reduced workload
- Data management
Scraping Data With Proxies Vs API Data Scraping
Both proxies and scraping API are web scraping tools. However, there are a few differences between the two. A proxy acts as an intermediary between the internet and the user that changes the user’s IP to reroute the user’s request and allow them to scrape data safely from any website. On the other hand, the primary purpose of scraping APIs is to deliver the request to the provider and respond back to the user.
A proxy allows the user to scrape one website for data, while a scraping API allows the user to extract data from different, more accessible sources than e-commerce websites and search engines. If you want to find which solution works best for your business, learn more and read this in-depth article comparing proxies vs scraper API.
Scraping data with proxies offers a few benefits:
- Increased reliability and reduced blocking – since target websites have different ways of preventing web scraping, proxies help get around these preventions and allow the user to crawl websites more reliably by reducing the chance of getting blocked or banned.
- Bypassing geo-restrictions – proxies are great at unlocking content restricted in certain locations, making them the best solution for accessing online retailers to scrape product data.
- Consistency – proxies allow users to make multiple requests to a target website without being blocked or banned.
- Bypassing blanket IP bans – some websites impose bans for blanket IP requests, but proxies allow the user to bypass those bans and access the wanted data.
Scraping data with scraping APIs also offers a few benefits. APIs are an increasingly more popular solution for accessing public websites that offer products. In fact, if what you get with a website’s public APIs is enough for your business needs, using APIs is more cost-efficient than using proxies.
Nowadays, APIs are more popular because many public websites have APIs. If your target website offers an API, simply customize your web scraper to collect consistent data without the need to use proxies, and save along the way.
Regardless of what data gathering tool you choose, web scraping isn’t without its challenges. Some of the well-known challenges include:
You can scrape only fewer complex websites – more complex websites have a range of measures to prevent you from scraping their data. If you want to access their data, it will turn out to be a challenge.
Stable home page – if a website has a frequent change of the home page structure, automated web scraping won’t do you any good.
Structured data – if you’re looking to gather data from different sources, web scraping won’t provide the wanted results, as each target site has an entirely different structure.
Low protection – if a website has some kind of data protection, it will be harder to extract the information.
What to Look for as a Business
Proxies are a better solution for bigger, well-established organizations with an in-house scraping infrastructure and resources. Since more prominent companies can choose the scraping targets of their choice, proxies are more useful than a web scraping API, especially residential and datacenter proxies.
However, if it’s a small business in question, with no resources for building and maintaining a proxy infrastructure, scraper APIs, such as a real-time crawler, are a better option for growing a business and staying competitive.
The Role of Scraping in Modern Business Organizations
In the age of digitalization, one of the best ways to gain a sustainable competitive advantage is to leverage the power of data. There is no industry where data doesn’t matter one way or another.
Since data is a primary resource for competition, data gathering has different purposes for modern business organizations:
- Marketing and sales
- Price comparison
- Brand management and reputation
- Customer and competitor analysis
- Lead generation and customer retention
- Strategic concerns
- Improved SEO
The choice between choosing a scraper API or proxies solely depends on your business needs and available resources. If you’re a large enterprise with a well-established scraper solution, proxies are the perfect data gathering tool for you.
However, if you’re running a smaller organization without the necessary resources for creating and maintaining a proxy infrastructure, web scraper API sounds like a more promising solution.