Web Scraping is the technological process of extracting data from websites into a structured database. Data science in recent times has evolved rapidly, and business owners worldwide know the value of data and information. And this created a demand for tools and resources that can help businesses collect the data from the internet and organize them according to their requirements.
With people migrating towards big data and data-driven decision-making, data scraping has risen in popularity in a short period. Though data scraping is a prominent tool, it is still new to many people. Alongside its popularity, it has grown with many myths and misconceptions. It has resulted in people thinking of data science as a non-user-friendly, illegal, and bogus tool.
In this article, we have busted the top absurd myths related to web scraping and listed the actual facts that everyone should know to understand what web scraping is.
Myth 1# Data Scraping is Illegal
It is one of the biggest misconceptions about data scraping, which is absolutely false. Web scraping as a process is not illegal. But its legality is highly subjective. It depends on what kind of data is being extracted and how it is used. Data scraping is legal if you are removing open-source data from websites abiding by their terms and conditions.
Along with this, you should be careful about how you will utilize the collected data. You can’t go against the rules and regulations of the website from where you are extracting data, on what kind of information can be removed, and for what purposes they can be used. If you do so, it might put you in legal issues.
Fact – Web Scraping is not illegal until you respect the terms and conditions of websites from where you are extracting data.
Myth #2 Web Scraping and Web Crawling are the same.
Web crawling and web scraping are not the same; they are two related concepts. Web scraping refers to the process of collecting data from websites and structuring them into a conveniently usable structure. In contrast, web crawling is the process of locating the required information and listing its URLs on the Web. All the search engines are an example of web crawling. When you search for a piece of information in a web browser, the search engine looks through all the websites and lists the websites that have your required information as a result—this process is called Web crawling.
Fact – Web Scraping and Web Crawling are not the same, and the key difference between them is in the technology and processes they use.
Myth #3 You need coding skills, and it is too hard to do web scraping.
Many think that web scraping is a highly technical process and requires coding knowledge. No, this is not true. Many data scraping tools and software are available in the market to help you easily extract data from websites in a few clicks without any complications.
Most tools are pre-programmed and have templates that can help anyone scrape data from websites and convert them into feasible data sets. If you are looking for a personalized scraping tool, you can approach data scraping solution designers like Relu consultancy, who can help you extract data according to your requirements. Our expert data scientists can design a perfect user-friendly, personalized data scraping tool that allows you to extract information in a short time without any hassle.
Fact – You don’t need to be a programmer to do web scraping. With data scraping tools and software, anyone can scrape web data easily.
Myth #4 Any website/information can be scraped, and extracted data can be used for anything.
Every website or information available on the Web is not available for scraping. As mentioned earlier, every website has its terms and conditions on how it should be crawled and what can be scraped. Many websites allow only minimal data extraction, while some websites don’t allow any type of extraction.
Every website has its unique design, structure and robots.txt files. So web scraping tools designed to extract data from one source cannot be used for other sources. For example, if you are using a scraper tool to extract leads from Facebook ads, you cannot use the same tool to extract leads from job portals.
You should be ethical while scraping data from websites. You should check copyrights and use the data extracted accordingly. In most cases, you can’t scrape confidential or copyrighted data and use it to gain profits.
Fact – Web data scraping is not versatile, and its scope is limited to the website structure, their robots.txt files, copyrights and terms & conditions.
Myth #5 Data extraction generated usable data only.
This statement is true. Data extraction tools and software are built with several back-end processes and algorithms to ensure they collect only the required and targeted information. But for this to happen, you should have the best data scraping tool that can be personalized to extract data according to your requirements. When the algorithms and processes are perfectly designed, the data collected will be of a high standard, which you can use to extract valuable insights.
Fact – Web scraping generates a high standard of usable datasets.
Myth #6 Data scraping is highly economical.
Yes, this is an actual fact. Businesses these days require extensive columns of data to boost their growth. You can’t depend on human resources to manually collect the required data crawling through lakhs of websites. It will be humanly impossible. You need to invest in in-house data teams or partner with specialized data scientist agencies like Relu consultancy. Only professional data scientists can help you build your tools and scrap the required data cost-efficiently. It will save a considerable amount of time, and human/financial resources, which business houses spend on other growth aspects.
Fact – web scraping is a cost-effective and efficient data collection process.
Web scraping is a highly powerful tool that can help businesses in their growth. But it can be used to its potential only when you understand the value and facts related to web scraping in depth. There are lots of myths and misconceptions surrounding data scraping; you need to analyze the facts, clear the misconceptions, and use web scraping to the fullest to extract the high-quality required information and build it into a usable database that can accelerate your business growth.
Relu consultancy provides the best web scraping services. We have a vibrant team of data engineers and scientists who will understand your needs and build the best and most accurate data scraping solution that can accelerate your business growth in a brief period.