If you’ve ever copied and pasted data from a website, you’ve performed the same task as any website scraper. But you did it only on a microscopic and manual scale. Today in this article, we are going to discuss – what is web scrapping, how it is done, and what are its uses and misuses? So, let’s take a look at web scraping:
What is Web scraping?
Also known as web data extraction, web scraping is the process of retrieving or “scraping” data from a website. This is done with the help of a website scraping tool that downloads content on a website in a matter of seconds. Unlike manually retrieving data, web scraping uses intelligent automation or automated bots to extract a huge amount of data points from a website.
How Web Scraping Is Done?
To understand how to scrape content from website, the process of web scraping is carried into two parts: a web crawler and a web scraper. A web crawler is Artificial Intelligence (AI) that browses the internet to index and search for desired content by following links and exploring. The crawler then leads the scraper to the website where scraper extracts the data requested. The web scraper is a specialized tool to extract data from a website.
What Are The Uses Of Web Scraping?
Web scraping has many applications from price monitoring to news and content monitoring. It is widely adopted for contact scraping where it is used for web indexing, data mining, online price change monitoring and price comparison, product review scraping, gathering real estate listings, weather data monitoring, website change detection. You can scrape anything posted publicly on the Internet like text, images, HTML code, CSS code, and so on with the help of a web scraper app.
Apart from its benefits, web scraping also has some disadvantages. Attackers can use web scraping to extract data for a variety of purposes. For example, content can be reused on another website to steal the original website’s search engine ranking. An attacker can also use a website’s HTML and CSS code to duplicate the look of a legitimate website for the branding of another company. Cybercriminals can also use scraped data to create phishing websites that can trick users into entering their personal information.
However, web scraping is more than what you might think. It has the potential to benefit businesses from several sectors in many ways. If you implement web scraping in a righteous way, you can obtain remarkable results from it. There are already many companies that use web scraped data to enhance their operations for their customer service experiences.
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