Myths and Facts about Web Scraping - Part 2

Myths and Facts about Web Scraping - Part 2

May 8, 2020

Web scraping has been gaining immense popularity due to its user friendly and easy nature which helps one to find all the data they require and help to store it at one place. When something gets so much popularity in no time there’s ought to be myths about it. And its human nature to believe it but to be safe and know what to do lets dive in and get in some information about important facts and myths about web scraping. In this article we’ll be addressing a few myths and facts about web scraping so lets get into the article right away!

Web crawling is same as Web scraping.

Because of the tongue twisting factor and because of the sake of it these two words are often mixed. Web crawling basically as the word suggests is a technique of locating information on the World Wide Web. Indexing all the words in documents, adding them to data base etc. They are nothing but a software used by big Companies like google, yahoo and similar ones for when you search for something they manage to find the relevant information. Web crawling is a broader concept. On the other hand web scraping is a narrower process as it targets a particular site. It is targeted towards a specific site to get specific type of data for various market, educational purposes. So for the matter of fact web crawling and web scraping are not same processes they are indeed very different and ones must know the difference irrespective of if they are using it or hiring people to do it.

Web scraping is automated.

Now I wouldn’t say that this is entirely a myth because it holds to be true for crawling and scraping as both these processes are pretty automatically done and requires less human time and effort. But as we mentioned earlier we have to separate and segregate the data based on it’s important because the data we collect is raw data now no one can do that for us except for ourselves. There are possibilities of errors that might occur when scraping data which are also important to be acknowledged and fixed. These particular tasks are not automated and need to be done manually. So the fact remains that to extract relevant data there needs to be human factor that plays a very important role and not everything can be automated.

Scraped data can be used for any purpose.

As tempting as this may sound it is totally a myth and data can’t be used for any purpose whatsoever. One always needs to careful while using the extracted data. Many companies use scraping to create business competition which is understandable but when you start feeding on for profit from someone else’s data its wrong. There are a lot many websites that are used for public consumption and using data from such sources is not a problem. Problem occurs when one uses private data and sells it to some other third party to seek benefits. Such acts might also led to some serious legal consequences. We all know that web scraping and crawling indeed provides data for multipurpose use but it would be wrong if it is handled carelessly. So that fact remains that one can’t use scraped data for any purpose they want as it is not just meant for them but it is for public use. And it would be proven unethical if one is to scrap someone’s private information without permission.

Web scraping only has business advantage..

This is absolutely false. To be honest web scraping is useful for many other activities than just businesses. Although using them in businesses can have undue advantages it is unclear to state that it is only used in business. Web scraping might help one to extract data and strategise business and plan few steps ahead. One of the best practices is to not copy someone’s idea blindly but to refine it and use it appropriately. Web scraping can be used for a lot of more things like for educational purposes and so on. So the fact remains that web scraping can be used for one’s research paper, projects, or a presentation. It will best provide great results and help one realise your efforts.

So concluding this article I would like to say that web scraping is obviously going to have its advantages and disadvantages but its upto each one if you want to believe in myths or facts. And I hope this article helps one realise the difference between same.


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