September 23, 2022
5 min.

Debunking The Most Popular Myths About Web Scraping

Myth #1 Web scraping is illegal

There are some people that use web scraping for malevolent motives, which is why there is such a misconception about it. The majority of people are unaware of the legality of data scraping, and businesses who likely have millions of records in their databases create this myth to frighten competitors. 

What is true is that it is completely legal so long as it is used with good intentions in mind and no Personally Identifiable Information or information that is password-protected is collected. The Terms of Use of target websites should also be carefully read in order to make sure that all guidelines and requirements are followed while collecting data from a particular website.

Myth #2 You must have coding skills for web scraping

These days, web scraping and data extraction are the focus of many tools and services. If you need to scrape a website, you don't even need to be a coder. A quick Google search will provide a long variety of services and programs that can provide you with the data you need.

Myth #3  It is possible to scrape any website or data

Web scraping has several restrictions and difficulties in addition to legal and ethical considerations. Even while a website could appear useful and simple to scrape, if it restricts scraping or includes copyrighted material, you won't be able to use the information you spent time and effort obtaining.

Some websites even set up barriers to prevent users from scraping publicly accessible data. Such sites take a lot of experience, knowledge, stability, time, and money to extract and collect data from. Also you cannot expect a scraper that functions on one website to function on another since each website has a distinct site structure and design.

Myth #4 The data is "ready to use" once collected.

When gathering target information, there are numerous factors to take into account. Imagine a scenario in which all the data you are gathering is in JSON format but your systems can only handle CSV files. Prior to use, data must be structured, synthesized, and cleaned in addition to being in the proper format. For instance, this can include deleting corrupted or duplicate files. The data can not be analyzed or used until it has been formatted, cleaned, and organized.

Myth #5 Web scraping is entirely automated process

Although web scraping is entirely automated, if any issues arise, human intervention will be needed. Experts must often check target websites so they can quickly identify structural changes and make the appropriate adjustments.

Myth #6 Web scraping and web crawling are the same 

Web scraping and web crawling - the terms that are sometimes used interchangeably, however their underlying techniques and processes differ greatly. The automatic collection of particular data points from websites using tools or services is known as data scraping. Scrapers use websites to collect certain data fields, which are then used for analysis and decision-making. They imitate human behavior.

Web crawling, on the other hand, indexes general information on websites using crawlers or bots. Crawling bots are used by search engines like Google and Bing to retrieve the general information displayed in search results. 

Myth #7 Web scraping and API are the same

The API is used to obtain the desired data from a web server after making your data request there. APIs use the HTTP protocol to return data in JSON format. That does not, however, imply that you can obtain any data you desire. As a result, they are not the same thing as web scraping.

Myth #8  Scraped data are only useful for Businesses

Businesses are able to get insightful knowledge about themselves, competitors, and the market when they have access to up-to-date, high quality data, which offers them a significant competitive advantage. Web scraping's usefulness and importance to other industries, however, are significantly undervalued if one believes that it exclusively aids businesses in their growth.

As you can see, data scraping is surrounded by a lot of myths. With the information at hand, you may approach your upcoming data gathering tasks with more confidence.

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