Virginia Web Scraping

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Friday, 30 December 2016

How Data Mining is Useful to Companies?

How Data Mining is Useful to Companies?

Every business, organization and government bodies are collecting large amount of data for research and development. Such huge database can make them to have the information on hand when required. But most important is that it takes much time to find important information from the data. "If you want to grow rapidly, you must take quick and accurate decisions to grab timely available opportunities."

By applying the process of data mining, you can easily extract and filter required information from data. It is a processing of refining data and extracting important information. This process is mainly divided into 3 sections; pre-processing, mining and validation. In pre-processing, large amount of relevant data are collected. The mining section includes data classification, clustering, error correction and linking information. The last but important is validate without which you can not make trust on information. In short, data mining is a process of converting data into authentic information.

Let's have look on how data mining is useful to companies.

Fast and Feasible Decisions: To search information from huge bundle of data require more time. It also irritates a person who is doing such. With annoyed mind one can not take accurate decisions that's for sure. By having help of data mining, one can easily get information and make fast decisions. It also helps to compare information with various factors so the decisions become more reliable. Data mining is helpful in every decision to make it quick and feasible.

Powerful Strategies: After data mining, information becomes precise and easy to understand. While making strategies, one can easily analyze information in various dimensions. This analysis helps to get real idea about the strategy implementation. Management bodies can implement powerful strategies effectively to expand business boundaries.

Competitive Advantage: Information is easily available and precise so that one can compare it with competitors' information. It is very much required that you must compare the data otherwise you will have to suffer in business. After doing competitive analysis, one can make corrective decisions to go ahead from competitors. This way company can gain competitive advantage.

Your business can get all the benefits of data mining at cutting rates through outsourcing.

Source :

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Know What the Truth Behind Data Mining Outsourcing Service

Know What the Truth Behind Data Mining Outsourcing Service

We came to that, what we call the information age where industries are like useful data needed for decision-making, the creation of products - among other essential uses for business. Information mining and converting them to useful information is a part of this trend that allows companies to reach their optimum potential. However, many companies that do not meet even one deal with data mining question because they are simply overwhelmed with other important tasks. This is where data mining outsourcing comes in.

There have been many definitions to introduced, but it can be simply explained as a process that involves sorting through large amounts of raw data to extract valuable information needed by industries and enterprises in various fields. In most cases this is done by professionals, professional organizations and financial analysts. He has seen considerable growth in the number of sectors or groups that enter my self.
There are a number of reasons why there is a rapid growth in data mining outsourcing service subscriptions. Some of them are presented below:

A wide range of services

Many companies are turning to information mining outsourcing, because they cover a wide range of services. These services include, but are not limited to data from web applications congregation database, collect contact information from different sites, extract data from websites using the software, the sort of stories from sources news, information and accumulate commercial competitors.

Many companies fall

Many industries benefit because it is fast and realistic. The information extracted by data mining service providers of outsourcing used in crucial decisions in the field of direct marketing, e-commerce, customer relationship management, health, scientific tests and other experimental work, telecommunications, financial services, and a whole lot more.

A lot of advantages

Subscribe data mining outsourcing services it's offers many benefits, as providers assures customers to render services to world standards. They strive to work with improved technologies, scalability, sophisticated infrastructure, resources, timeliness, cost, the system safer for the security of information and increased market coverage.

Outsourcing allows companies to focus their core business and can improve overall productivity. Not surprisingly, information mining outsourcing has been a first choice of many companies - to propel the business to higher profits.


Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Data Extraction - A Guideline to Use Scrapping Tools Effectively

Data Extraction - A Guideline to Use Scrapping Tools Effectively

So many people around the world do not have much knowledge about these scrapping tools. In their views, mining means extracting resources from the earth. In these internet technology days, the new mined resource is data. There are so many data mining software tools are available in the internet to extract specific data from the web. Every company in the world has been dealing with tons of data, managing and converting this data into a useful form is a real hectic work for them. If this right information is not available at the right time a company will lose valuable time to making strategic decisions on this accurate information.

This type of situation will break opportunities in the present competitive market. However, in these situations, the data extraction and data mining tools will help you to take the strategic decisions in right time to reach your goals in this competitive business. There are so many advantages with these tools that you can store customer information in a sequential manner, you can know the operations of your competitors, and also you can figure out your company performance. And it is a critical job to every company to have this information at fingertips when they need this information.

To survive in this competitive business world, this data extraction and data mining are critical in operations of the company. There is a powerful tool called Website scraper used in online digital mining. With this toll, you can filter the data in internet and retrieves the information for specific needs. This scrapping tool is used in various fields and types are numerous. Research, surveillance, and the harvesting of direct marketing leads is just a few ways the website scraper assists professionals in the workplace.

Screen scrapping tool is another tool which useful to extract the data from the web. This is much helpful when you work on the internet to mine data to your local hard disks. It provides a graphical interface allowing you to designate Universal Resource Locator, data elements to be extracted, and scripting logic to traverse pages and work with mined data. You can use this tool as periodical intervals. By using this tool, you can download the database in internet to you spread sheets. The important one in scrapping tools is Data mining software, it will extract the large amount of information from the web, and it will compare that date into a useful format. This tool is used in various sectors of business, especially, for those who are creating leads, budget establishing seeing the competitors charges and analysis the trends in online. With this tool, the information is gathered and immediately uses for your business needs.

Another best scrapping tool is e mailing scrapping tool, this tool crawls the public email addresses from various web sites. You can easily from a large mailing list with this tool. You can use these mailing lists to promote your product through online and proposals sending an offer for related business and many more to do. With this toll, you can find the targeted customers towards your product or potential business parents. This will allows you to expand your business in the online market.

There are so many well established and esteemed organizations are providing these features free of cost as the trial offer to customers. If you want permanent services, you need to pay nominal fees. You can download these services from their valuable web sites also.


Friday, 9 December 2016

Scraping in PDF Files - Improving Accessibility

Scraping in PDF Files - Improving Accessibility

Scraping of data is one procedure where mechanically information is sorted out that is contained on the Net in HTML, PDF and various other documents. It is also about collecting relevant data and saving it in spreadsheets or databases for retrieval purposes. On a majority of sites, text content can be easily accessed in the source code however a good number of business houses are making use of Portable Document Format. This format had been launched by Adobe and documents in this format can be easily viewed on almost any operating system. Some people convert documents from word to PDF when they need sending files over the Net and many convert PDF to word so that they could edit their documents. The best benefit that one gets for making use of it is that documents look a replica of the original and there is no form of disturbance in viewing them as they appear organized and same on almost all operating systems. The downside of the format is that text in such files is converted into a picture or image and then copying and pasting it is not possible any more.

Scraping in this format is a procedure where data is scraped that is available in such files. Most diverse of the tools is needed in order to carry out scraping in a document that is created in this format. You'd find two main forms of PDF files where one is built from a text file and the other firm is where it is built from some image. There is software brought by Adobe itself which can capably do scraping in text based files. For files that are image-based, there is a need to make use of special application for the task.

OCR program is one primary tool to be used for such a matter. Optical Recognition Program is capable in scanning documents for small picture that can be segregated into letters. The pictures are compared with actual letters and given they match well; the letters get copied into one file. These programs are able to do scraping in an apt way in image-based files pretty much aptly however it cannot be said that they are perfect. Once the procedure is done you could search through data so as to find those areas and parts which you had been looking for. More often than not it is difficult to find a utility that can obtain exact data that is needed without proper customization. But if thoroughly checked, you cou


Monday, 5 December 2016

Data Discovery vs. Data Extraction

Data Discovery vs. Data Extraction

Looking at screen-scraping at a simplified level, there are two primary stages involved: data discovery and data extraction. Data discovery deals with navigating a web site to arrive at the pages containing the data you want, and data extraction deals with actually pulling that data off of those pages. Generally when people think of screen-scraping they focus on the data extraction portion of the process, but my experience has been that data discovery is often the more difficult of the two.

The data discovery step in screen-scraping might be as simple as requesting a single URL. For example, you might just need to go to the home page of a site and extract out the latest news headlines. On the other side of the spectrum, data discovery may involve logging in to a web site, traversing a series of pages in order to get needed cookies, submitting a POST request on a search form, traversing through search results pages, and finally following all of the "details" links within the search results pages to get to the data you're actually after. In cases of the former a simple Perl script would often work just fine. For anything much more complex than that, though, a commercial screen-scraping tool can be an incredible time-saver. Especially for sites that require logging in, writing code to handle screen-scraping can be a nightmare when it comes to dealing with cookies and such.

In the data extraction phase you've already arrived at the page containing the data you're interested in, and you now need to pull it out of the HTML. Traditionally this has typically involved creating a series of regular expressions that match the pieces of the page you want (e.g., URL's and link titles). Regular expressions can be a bit complex to deal with, so most screen-scraping applications will hide these details from you, even though they may use regular expressions behind the scenes.

As an addendum, I should probably mention a third phase that is often ignored, and that is, what do you do with the data once you've extracted it? Common examples include writing the data to a CSV or XML file, or saving it to a database. In the case of a live web site you might even scrape the information and display it in the user's web browser in real-time. When shopping around for a screen-scraping tool you should make sure that it gives you the flexibility you need to work with the data once it's been extracted.


Wednesday, 30 November 2016

An Easy Way For Data Extraction

An Easy Way For Data Extraction

There are so many data scraping tools are available in internet. With these tools you can you download large amount of data without any stress. From the past decade, the internet revolution has made the entire world as an information center. You can obtain any type of information from the internet. However, if you want any particular information on one task, you need search more websites. If you are interested in download all the information from the websites, you need to copy the information and pate in your documents. It seems a little bit hectic work for everyone. With these scraping tools, you can save your time, money and it reduces manual work.

The Web data extraction tool will extract the data from the HTML pages of the different websites and compares the data. Every day, there are so many websites are hosting in internet. It is not possible to see all the websites in a single day. With these data mining tool, you are able to view all the web pages in internet. If you are using a wide range of applications, these scraping tools are very much useful to you.

The data extraction software tool is used to compare the structured data in internet. There are so many search engines in internet will help you to find a website on a particular issue. The data in different sites is appears in different styles. This scraping expert will help you to compare the date in different site and structures the data for records.

And the web crawler software tool is used to index the web pages in the internet; it will move the data from internet to your hard disk. With this work, you can browse the internet much faster when connected. And the important use of this tool is if you are trying to download the data from internet in off peak hours. It will take a lot of time to download. However, with this tool you can download any data from internet at fast rate.There is another tool for business person is called email extractor. With this toll, you can easily target the customers email addresses. You can send advertisement for your product to the targeted customers at any time. This the best tool to find the database of the customers.

However, there are some more scraping tolls are available in internet. And also some of esteemed websites are providing the information about these tools. You download these tools by paying a nominal amount.


Saturday, 26 November 2016

How to scrape search results from search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo

How to scrape search results from search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo

Search giants like Google, Yahoo and Bing made their empire on scraping others content. However, they don’t want you to scrape them. How ironic, isn’t it?

Search engine performance is a very important metric all digital marketers want to measure and improve. I’m sure you will be using some great SEO tools to check how your keywords perform. All great SEO tool comes with a search keyword ranking feature. The tools will tell you how your keywords are performing in google, yahoo bing etc.

 How will you get data from search engines If you want to build a keyword ranking app?

 These search engines have API’s but the daily query limit is very low and not useful for the commercial purpose. The only solution is to scrape search results. Search engine giants obviously know this :). Once they know that you are scraping, they will  block your IP, Period!

 How do Search engines detect bots?

 Here are the common methods of detection of bots.

* IP address: Search engines can detect if there are too many requests coming from a single IP. If a high amount of traffic is detected, they will throw a captcha.

 * Search patterns: Search engines match traffic patterns to an existing set of patterns and if there is huge variation, they will classify this as a bot.

 If you don’t have access to sophisticated technology, it is impossible to scrape search engines like google, Bing or Yahoo.

 How to avoid detection

There are some things you can do to  avoid detection.

    Scrape slowly and don’t try to squeeze everything at once.
    Switch user agents between queries
    Scrape randomly and don’t follow the same pattern
    Use intelligent IP rotations
    Clear Cookies after each IP change or disable them completely

Thanks for reading this blog post.


Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Outsource Data Mining Services to Offshore Data Entry Company

Outsource Data Mining Services to Offshore Data Entry Company

Companies in India offer complete solution services for all type of data mining services.

Data Mining Services and Web research services offered, help businesses get critical information for their analysis and marketing campaigns. As this process requires professionals with good knowledge in internet research or online research, customers can take advantage of outsourcing their Data Mining, Data extraction and Data Collection services to utilize resources at a very competitive price.

In the time of recession every company is very careful about cost. So companies are now trying to find ways to cut down cost and outsourcing is good option for reducing cost. It is essential for each size of business from small size to large size organization. Data entry is most famous work among all outsourcing work. To meet high quality and precise data entry demands most corporate firms prefer to outsource data entry services to offshore countries like India.

In India there are number of companies which offer high quality data entry work at cheapest rate. Outsourcing data mining work is the crucial requirement of all rapidly growing Companies who want to focus on their core areas and want to control their cost.

Why outsource your data entry requirements?

Easy and fast communication: Flexibility in communication method is provided where they will be ready to talk with you at your convenient time, as per demand of work dedicated resource or whole team will be assigned to drive the project.

Quality with high level of Accuracy: Experienced companies handling a variety of data-entry projects develop whole new type of quality process for maintaining best quality at work.

Turn Around Time: Capability to deliver fast turnaround time as per project requirements to meet up your project deadline, dedicated staff(s) can work 24/7 with high level of accuracy.

Affordable Rate: Services provided at affordable rates in the industry. For minimizing cost, customization of each and every aspect of the system is undertaken for efficiently handling work.

Outsourcing Service Providers are outsourcing companies providing business process outsourcing services specializing in data mining services and data entry services. Team of highly skilled and efficient people, with a singular focus on data processing, data mining and data entry outsourcing services catering to data entry projects of a varied nature and type.

Why outsource data mining services?

360 degree Data Processing Operations
Free Pilots Before You Hire
Years of Data Entry and Processing Experience
Domain Expertise in Multiple Industries
Best Outsourcing Prices in Industry
Highly Scalable Business Infrastructure
24X7 Round The Clock Services

The expertise management and teams have delivered millions of processed data and records to customers from USA, Canada, UK and other European Countries and Australia.

Outsourcing companies specialize in data entry operations and guarantee highest quality & on time delivery at the least expensive prices.

Herat Patel, CEO at 3Alpha Dataentry Services possess over 15+ years of experience in providing data related services outsourced to India.

Visit our Facebook Data Entry profile for comments & reviews.

Our services helps to convert any kind of  hard copy sources, our data mining services helps to collect business contacts, customer contact, product specifications etc., from different web sources. We promise to deliver the best quality work and help you excel in your business by focusing on your core business activities. Outsource data mining services to India and take the advantage of outsourcing and save cost.


Monday, 24 October 2016

What are the ethics of web scraping?

What are the ethics of web scraping?

Someone recently asked: "Is web scraping an ethical concept?" I believe that web scraping is absolutely an ethical concept. Web scraping (or screen scraping) is a mechanism to have a computer read a website. There is absolutely no technical difference between an automated computer viewing a website and a human-driven computer viewing a website. Furthermore, if done correctly, scraping can provide many benefits to all involved.

There are a bunch of great uses for web scraping. First, services like Instapaper, which allow saving content for reading on the go, use screen scraping to save a copy of the website to your phone. Second, services like, an app which tells you where and how you are spending your money, uses screen scraping to access your bank's website (all with your permission). This is useful because banks do not provide many ways for programmers to access your financial data, even if you want them to. By getting access to your data, programmers can provide really interesting visualizations and insight into your spending habits, which can help you save money.

That said, web scraping can veer into unethical territory. This can take the form of reading websites much quicker than a human could, which can cause difficulty for the servers to handle it. This can cause degraded performance in the website. Malicious hackers use this tactic in what’s known as a "Denial of Service" attack.

Another aspect of unethical web scraping comes in what you do with that data. Some people will scrape the contents of a website and post it as their own, in effect stealing this content. This is a big no-no for the same reasons that taking someone else's book and putting your name on it is a bad idea. Intellectual property, copyright and trademark laws still apply on the internet and your legal recourse is much the same. People engaging in web scraping should make every effort to comply with the stated terms of service for a website. Even when in compliance with those terms, you should take special care in ensuring your activity doesn't affect other users of a website.

One of the downsides to screen scraping is it can be a brittle process. Minor changes to the backing website can often leave a scraper completely broken. Herein lies the mechanism for prevention: making changes to the structure of the code of your website can wreak havoc on a screen scraper's ability to extract information. Periodically making changes that are invisible to the user but affect the content of the code being returned is the most effective mechanism to thwart screen scrapers. That said, this is only a set-back. Authors of screen scrapers can always update them and, as there is no technical difference between a computer-backed browser and a human-backed browser, there's no way to 100% prevent access.

Going forward, I expect screen scraping to increase. One of the main reasons for screen scraping is that the underlying website doesn't have a way for programmers to get access to the data they want. As the number of programmers (and the need for programmers) increases over time, so too will the need for data sources. It is unreasonable to expect every company to dedicate the resources to build a programmer-friendly access point. Screen scraping puts the onus of data extraction on the programmer, not the company with the data, which can work out well for all involved.


Thursday, 13 October 2016

How to do data scraping from PDF files using PHP?

How to do data scraping from PDF files using PHP?

Situations arise when you want to scrap data from PDF or want to search PDF files for matching text. Suppose you have website where users uploads PDF files and you want to give search functionality to user which searches all uploaded PDF file content for matching text and show all PDFs that contains matching search keywords.

Or you might have all London real estate properties details in PDF report file and you want to quickly grab scrape data from PDF reports then you might need PDF scraping library.

To integrate such functionality to web application is not similar to normal search functionality that we do with database search.

Here is the straight solution for this problem. This involves PDF Data Scraping to plain text and match search terms. I have written this post for the people who want to do PDF data scraping or want to make their PDF files to be Searchable.

We are going to use class named class.pdf2text.php which converts PDF text to into ASCII text, so the class is known for PDF extraction. This PHP class ignores anything in PDF that is not a text.

Let’s see very basic example (Taken from author’s file):


include "class.pdf2text.php";

$a = new PDF2Text();
$a->setFilename('web-scraping-service.pdf'); //grab the pdf file reside in folder where PHP files resides.

$a->decodePDF();//converts PDF content to text
echo $a->output();


“Web Scraping is a technique using which programmer can automate the copy paste manual work and save the time. This is PDF w eb scraping using PHP. We at Web Data Scraping offer Web Scraping and Data Scraping Service. Vist our website”

For more complex extraction you can apply regular expression on the text you get and can parse text that you want from PDF. But keep in mind this has limitation and do not work with all types of PDF extraction.

But the wonderful use of this class is to make utility that allow user to search inside PDF when they search on web search bar. Last but not least, You can also find many PDF scraping software available in market that can do complex scraping from PDF files.


Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Web Scraping – A trending technique in data science!!!

Web Scraping – A trending technique in data science!!!

Web scraping as a market segment is trending to be an emerging technique in data science to become an integral part of many businesses – sometimes whole companies are formed based on web scraping. Web scraping and extraction of relevant data gives businesses an insight into market trends, competition, potential customers, business performance etc.  Now question is that “what is actually web scraping and where is it used???” Let us explore web scraping, web data extraction, web mining/data mining or screen scraping in details.

What is Web Scraping?

Web Data Scraping is a great technique of extracting unstructured data from the websites and transforming that data into structured data that can be stored and analyzed in a database. Web Scraping is also known as web data extraction, web data scraping, web harvesting or screen scraping.

What you can see on the web that can be extracted. Extracting targeted information from websites assists you to take effective decisions in your business.

Web scraping is a form of data mining. The overall goal of the web scraping process is to extract information from a websites and transform it into an understandable structure like spreadsheets, database or csv. Data like item pricing, stock pricing, different reports, market pricing, product details, business leads can be gathered via web scraping efforts.

There are countless uses and potential scenarios, either business oriented or non-profit. Public institutions, companies and organizations, entrepreneurs, professionals etc. generate an enormous amount of information/data every day.

Uses of Web Scraping:

The following are some of the uses of web scraping:

    Collect data from real estate listing
    Collecting retailer sites data on daily basis
    Extracting offers and discounts from a website.
    Scraping job posting.
    Price monitoring with competitors.
    Gathering leads from online business directories – directory scraping
    Keywords research
    Gathering targeted emails for email marketing – email scraping
    And many more.

There are various techniques used for data gathering as listed below:

    Human copy-and-paste – takes lot of time to finish when data is huge
    Programming the Custom Web Scraper as per the needs.
    Using Web Scraping Softwares available in market.

Are you in search of web data scraping expert or specialist. Then you are at right place. We are the team of web scraping experts who could easily extract data from website and further structure the unstructured useful data to uncover patterns, and help businesses for decision making that helps in increasing sales, cover a wide customer base and ultimately it leads to business towards growth and success.

We have got expertise in all the web scraping techniques, scraping data from ajax enabled complex websites, bypassing CAPTCHAs, forming anonymous http request etc in providing web scraping services.


Sunday, 11 September 2016

How Web Scraping for Brand Monitoring is used in Retail Sector

How Web Scraping for Brand Monitoring is used in Retail Sector

Structured or unstructured, business data always plays an instrumental part in driving growth, development, and innovation for your dream venture. Irrespective of industrial sectors or verticals, big data, seems to be of paramount significance for every business or enterprise.

The unsurpassed popularity and increasing importance of big data gave birth to the concept of web scraping, thus enhancing growth opportunities for startups. Large or small, every business establishment will now achieve successful website monitoring and tracking.
How web scraping serves your branding need?

Web scraping helps in extracting unorganized data and ordering it into organized and manageable formats. So if your brand is being talked about in multiple ways (on social media, on expert forums, in comments etc.), you can set the scraping tool algorithm to fetch only data that contains reference about the brand. As an outcome, marketers and business owners around the brand can gauge brand sentiment and tweak their launch marketing campaign to enhance visibility.

Look around and you will discover numerous web scraping solutions ranging from manual to fully automated systems. From Reputation Tracking to Website monitoring, your web scraper can help create amazing insights from seemingly random bits of data (both in structured as well as unstructured format).
Using web scraping

The concept of web scraping revolutionizes the use of big data for business. With its availability across sectors, retailers are on cloud nine. Here’s how the retail market is utilizing the power of Web Scraping for brand monitoring.

Determining pricing strategy

The retail market is filled with competition. Whether it is products or pricing strategies, every retailer competes hard to stay ahead of the growth curve. Web scraping techniques will help you crawl price comparison sites’ pricing data, product descriptions, as well as images to receive data for comparison, affiliation, or analytics.

As a result, retailers will have the opportunity to trade their products at competitive prices, thus increasing profit margins by a whopping 10%.

Tracking online presence

Current trends in ecommerce herald the need for a strong online presence. Web scraping takes cue from this particular aspect, thus scraping reviews and profiles on websites. By providing you a crystal clear picture of product performance, customer behavior, and interactions, web scraping will help you achieve Online Brand Intelligence and monitoring.
Detection of fraudulent reviews

Present-day purchasers have this unique habit of referring to reviews, before finalizing their purchase decisions. Web scraping helps in the identification of opinion-spamming, thus figuring out fake reviews. It will further extend support in detecting, reviewing, streamlining, or blocking reviews, according to your business needs.
Online reputation management

Web data scraping helps in figuring out avenues to take your ORM objectives forward. With the help of the scraped data, you learn about both the impactful as well as vulnerable areas for online reputation management. You will have the web crawler identifying demographic opinions such as age group, gender, sentiments, and GEO location.

Social media analytics

Since social media happens to be one of the most crucial factors for retailers, it will be imperative to Scrape Social Media websites and extract data from Twitter. The web scraping technology will help you watch your brand in Social Media along with fetching Data for social media analytics. With social media channels such as Twitter monitoring services, you will strengthen your firm’s’ branding even more than before.
Advantages of BM

As a business, you might want to monitor your brand in social media to gain deep insights about your brand’s popularity and the current consumer behavior. Brand monitoring companies will watch your brand in social media and come up with crucial data for social media analytics. This process has immense benefits for your business, these are summarized over here –

Locate Infringers

Leading brands often face the challenge thrown by infringers. When brand monitoring companies keep a close look at products available in the market, there is less probability of a copyright infringement. The biggest infringement happens in the packaging, naming and presentation of products. With constant monitoring and legal support provided by the Trademark Law, businesses could remain protected from unethical competitors and illicit business practices.

Manage Consumer Reaction and Competitor’s Challenges

A good business keeps a check on the current consumer sentiment in the targeted demographic and positively manages the same in the interest of their brand. The feedback from your consumers could be affirmative or negative but if you have a hold on the social media channels, web platforms and forums, you, as a brand will be able to propagate trust at all times.

When competitor brands indulge in backbiting or false publicity about your brand, you can easily tame their negative comments by throwing in a positive image in front of your target audience. So, brand monitoring and its active implementation do help in positive image building and management for businesses.
Why Web scraping for BM?

Web scraping for brand monitoring gives you a second pair of eyes to look at your brand as a general consumer. Considering the flowing consumer sentiment in the market during a specific business season, you could correct or simply innovate better ways to mold the target audience in your brand’s favor. Through a systematic approach towards online brand intelligence and monitoring, future business strategies and possible brand responses could be designed, keeping your business actively prepared for both types of scenarios.

For effective web scraping, businesses extract data from Twitter that helps them understand ‘what’s trending’ in their business domain. They also come closer to reality in terms of brand perception, user interaction and brand visibility in the notions of their clientele. Web scraping professionals or companies scrape social media websites to gather relevant data related to your brand or your competitor’s that has the potential to affect your growth as a business. Management and organization of this data is done to extract out significant and reference building facts. Future strategy for your brand is designed by brand monitoring professionals keeping in mind the facts accumulated through web scraping. The data obtained through web scraping helps in –

Knowing the actual brand potential,
Expanding brand coverage,
Devising brand penetration,
Analyzing scope and possibilities for a brand and
Design thoughtful and insightful brand strategies.

In simple words, web scraping provides a business enough base of information that could be used to devise future plans and to make suggestive changes in the current business strategy.

Advantages of Web scraping for BM

Web scraping has made things seamless for businesses involved in managing their brands and active brand monitoring. There is no doubt, that web scraping for brand monitoring comes with immense benefits, some of these are –

Improved customer insight

When you have in hand and factual knowledge about your consumer base through social media channels, you are in a strong position to portray your positive image as a brand. With more realistic data on your hands, you could develop strategies more effectively and make realistic goals for your brand’s improvement. Social media insights also allows marketers to create highly targeted and custom marketing messages – thus leading to better likelihood of sales conversion.

Monitoring your Competition

Web scraping helps you realize where your brand stands in the market among the competition. The actual penetration of your brand in the targeted segment helps in getting a clear picture of your present business scenario. Through careful removal of competition in your concerned business category, you could strengthen your brand image.

Staying Informed

When your brand monitoring team is keeping track of all social media channels, it becomes easier for you to stay informed about latest comments about your business on sites like Facebook, Twitter and social forums etc. You could have deep knowledge about the consumer behavior related to your brand and your competitors on these web destinations.

Improved Consumer Satisfaction and Sales

Reputation tracking done through web scraping helps in generating planned response at times of crisis. It also mends the communication gap between consumer and the brand, hence improving the consumer satisfaction. This automatically translates into trust building and brand loyalty improving your brand’s sales.

To sign off

By granting opportunities to monitor your social media data, web scraping is undoubtedly helping retail businesses take a significant step towards perfect branding. If you are one of the key players in this sector, there’s reason for celebration ahead!


Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Why Healthcare Companies should look towards Web Scraping

Why Healthcare Companies should look towards Web Scraping

The internet is a massive storehouse of information which is available in the form of text, media and other formats. To be competitive in this modern world, most businesses need access to this storehouse of information. But, all this information is not freely accessible as several websites do not allow you to save the data. This is where the process of Web Scraping comes in handy.

Web scraping is not new—it has been widely used by financial organizations, for detecting fraud; by marketers, for marketing and cross-selling; and by manufacturers for maintenance scheduling and quality control. Web scraping has endless uses for business and personal users. Every business or individual can have his or her own particular need for collecting data. You might want to access data belonging to a particular category from several websites. The different websites belonging to the particular category display information in non-uniform formats. Even if you are surfing a single website, you may not be able to access all the data at one place.

The data may be distributed across multiple pages under various heads. In a market that is vast and evolving rapidly, strategic decision-making demands accurate and thorough data to be analyzed, and on a periodic basis. The process of web scraping can help you mine data from several websites and store it in a single place so that it becomes convenient for you to a alyze the data and deliver results.

In the context of healthcare, web scraping is gaining foothold gradually but qualitatively. Several factors have led to the use of web scraping in healthcare. The voluminous amount of data produced by healthcare industry is too complex to be analyzed by traditional techniques. Web scraping along with data extraction can improve decision-making by determining trends and patterns in huge amounts of intricate data. Such intensive analyses are becoming progressively vital owing to financial pressures that have increased the need for healthcare organizations to arrive at conclusions based on the analysis of financial and clinical data. Furthermore, increasing cases of medical insurance fraud and abuse are encouraging healthcare insurers to resort to web scraping and data extraction techniques.

Healthcare is no longer a sector relying solely on person to person interaction. Healthcare has gone digital in its own way and different stakeholders of this industry such as doctors, nurses, patients and pharmacists are upping their ante technologically to remain in sync with the changing times. In the existing setup, where all choices are data-centric, web scraping in healthcare can impact lives, educate people, and create awareness. As people no more depend only on doctors and pharmacists, web scraping in healthcare can improve lives by offering rational solutions.

To be successful in the healthcare sector, it is important to come up with ways to gather and present information in innovative and informative ways to patients and customers. Web scraping offers a plethora of solutions for the healthcare industry. With web scraping and data extraction solutions, healthcare companies can monitor and gather information as well as track how their healthcare product is being received, used and implemented in different locales. It offers a safer and comprehensive access to data allowing healthcare experts to take the right decisions which ultimately lead to better clinical experience for the patients.

Web scraping not only gives healthcare professionals access to enterprise-wide information but also simplifies the process of data conversion for predictive analysis and reports. Analyzing user reviews in terms of precautions and symptoms for diseases that are incurable till date and are still undergoing medical research for effective treatments, can mitigate the fear in people. Data analysis can be based on data available with patients and is one way of creating awareness among people.

Hence, web scraping can increase the significance of data collection and help doctors make sense of the raw data. With web scraping and data extraction techniques, healthcare insurers can reduce the attempts of frauds, healthcare organizations can focus on better customer relationship management decisions, doctors can identify effective cure and best practices, and patients can get more affordable and better healthcare services.

Web scraping applications in healthcare can have remarkable utility and potential. However, the triumph of web scraping and data extraction techniques in healthcare sector depends on the accessibility to clean healthcare data. For this, it is imperative that the healthcare industry think about how data can be better recorded, stored, primed, and scraped. For instance, healthcare sector can consider standardizing clinical vocabulary and allow sharing of data across organizations to heighten the benefits from healthcare web scraping practices.

Healthcare sector is one of the top sectors where data is multiplying exponentially with time and requires a planned and structured storage of data. Continuous web scraping and data extraction is necessary to gain useful insights for renewing health insurance policies periodically as well as offer affordable and better public health solutions. Web scraping and data extraction together can process the mammoth mounds of healthcare data and transform it into information useful for decision making.

To reduce the gap between various components of healthcare sector-patients, doctors, pharmacies and hospitals, healthcare organizations and websites will have to tap the technology to collect data in all formats and present in a usable form. The healthcare sector needs to overcome the lag in implementing effective web scraping and data extraction techniques as well as intensify their pace of technology adoption. Web scraping can contribute enormously to the healthcare industry and facilitate organizations to methodically collect data and process it to identify inadequacies and best practices that improve patient care and reduce costs.


Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Three Common Methods For Web Data Extraction

Three Common Methods For Web Data Extraction

Probably the most common technique used traditionally to extract data from web pages this is to cook up some regular expressions that match the pieces you want (e.g., URL's and link titles). Our screen-scraper software actually started out as an application written in Perl for this very reason. In addition to regular expressions, you might also use some code written in something like Java or Active Server Pages to parse out larger chunks of text. Using raw regular expressions to pull out the data can be a little intimidating to the uninitiated, and can get a bit messy when a script contains a lot of them. At the same time, if you're already familiar with regular expressions, and your scraping project is relatively small, they can be a great solution.

Other techniques for getting the data out can get very sophisticated as algorithms that make use of artificial intelligence and such are applied to the page. Some programs will actually analyze the semantic content of an HTML page, then intelligently pull out the pieces that are of interest. Still other approaches deal with developing "ontologies", or hierarchical vocabularies intended to represent the content domain.

There are a number of companies (including our own) that offer commercial applications specifically intended to do screen-scraping. The applications vary quite a bit, but for medium to large-sized projects they're often a good solution. Each one will have its own learning curve, so you should plan on taking time to learn the ins and outs of a new application. Especially if you plan on doing a fair amount of screen-scraping it's probably a good idea to at least shop around for a screen-scraping application, as it will likely save you time and money in the long run.

So what's the best approach to data extraction? It really depends on what your needs are, and what resources you have at your disposal. Here are some of the pros and cons of the various approaches, as well as suggestions on when you might use each one:

Raw regular expressions and code


- If you're already familiar with regular expressions and at least one programming language, this can be a quick solution.

- Regular expressions allow for a fair amount of "fuzziness" in the matching such that minor changes to the content won't break them.

- You likely don't need to learn any new languages or tools (again, assuming you're already familiar with regular expressions and a programming language).

- Regular expressions are supported in almost all modern programming languages. Heck, even VBScript has a regular expression engine. It's also nice because the various regular expression implementations don't vary too significantly in their syntax.


- They can be complex for those that don't have a lot of experience with them. Learning regular expressions isn't like going from Perl to Java. It's more like going from Perl to XSLT, where you have to wrap your mind around a completely different way of viewing the problem.

- They're often confusing to analyze. Take a look through some of the regular expressions people have created to match something as simple as an email address and you'll see what I mean.

- If the content you're trying to match changes (e.g., they change the web page by adding a new "font" tag) you'll likely need to update your regular expressions to account for the change.

- The data discovery portion of the process (traversing various web pages to get to the page containing the data you want) will still need to be handled, and can get fairly complex if you need to deal with cookies and such.

When to use this approach: You'll most likely use straight regular expressions in screen-scraping when you have a small job you want to get done quickly. Especially if you already know regular expressions, there's no sense in getting into other tools if all you need to do is pull some news headlines off of a site.

Ontologies and artificial intelligence


- You create it once and it can more or less extract the data from any page within the content domain you're targeting.

- The data model is generally built in. For example, if you're extracting data about cars from web sites the extraction engine already knows what the make, model, and price are, so it can easily map them to existing data structures (e.g., insert the data into the correct locations in your database).

- There is relatively little long-term maintenance required. As web sites change you likely will need to do very little to your extraction engine in order to account for the changes.


- It's relatively complex to create and work with such an engine. The level of expertise required to even understand an extraction engine that uses artificial intelligence and ontologies is much higher than what is required to deal with regular expressions.

- These types of engines are expensive to build. There are commercial offerings that will give you the basis for doing this type of data extraction, but you still need to configure them to work with the specific content domain you're targeting.

- You still have to deal with the data discovery portion of the process, which may not fit as well with this approach (meaning you may have to create an entirely separate engine to handle data discovery). Data discovery is the process of crawling web sites such that you arrive at the pages where you want to extract data.

When to use this approach: Typically you'll only get into ontologies and artificial intelligence when you're planning on extracting information from a very large number of sources. It also makes sense to do this when the data you're trying to extract is in a very unstructured format (e.g., newspaper classified ads). In cases where the data is very structured (meaning there are clear labels identifying the various data fields), it may make more sense to go with regular expressions or a screen-scraping application.

Screen-scraping software


- Abstracts most of the complicated stuff away. You can do some pretty sophisticated things in most screen-scraping applications without knowing anything about regular expressions, HTTP, or cookies.

- Dramatically reduces the amount of time required to set up a site to be scraped. Once you learn a particular screen-scraping application the amount of time it requires to scrape sites vs. other methods is significantly lowered.

- Support from a commercial company. If you run into trouble while using a commercial screen-scraping application, chances are there are support forums and help lines where you can get assistance.


- The learning curve. Each screen-scraping application has its own way of going about things. This may imply learning a new scripting language in addition to familiarizing yourself with how the core application works.

- A potential cost. Most ready-to-go screen-scraping applications are commercial, so you'll likely be paying in dollars as well as time for this solution.

- A proprietary approach. Any time you use a proprietary application to solve a computing problem (and proprietary is obviously a matter of degree) you're locking yourself into using that approach. This may or may not be a big deal, but you should at least consider how well the application you're using will integrate with other software applications you currently have. For example, once the screen-scraping application has extracted the data how easy is it for you to get to that data from your own code?

When to use this approach: Screen-scraping applications vary widely in their ease-of-use, price, and suitability to tackle a broad range of scenarios. Chances are, though, that if you don't mind paying a bit, you can save yourself a significant amount of time by using one. If you're doing a quick scrape of a single page you can use just about any language with regular expressions. If you want to extract data from hundreds of web sites that are all formatted differently you're probably better off investing in a complex system that uses ontologies and/or artificial intelligence. For just about everything else, though, you may want to consider investing in an application specifically designed for screen-scraping.

As an aside, I thought I should also mention a recent project we've been involved with that has actually required a hybrid approach of two of the aforementioned methods. We're currently working on a project that deals with extracting newspaper classified ads. The data in classifieds is about as unstructured as you can get. For example, in a real estate ad the term "number of bedrooms" can be written about 25 different ways. The data extraction portion of the process is one that lends itself well to an ontologies-based approach, which is what we've done. However, we still had to handle the data discovery portion. We decided to use screen-scraper for that, and it's handling it just great. The basic process is that screen-scraper traverses the various pages of the site, pulling out raw chunks of data that constitute the classified ads. These ads then get passed to code we've written that uses ontologies in order to extract out the individual pieces we're after. Once the data has been extracted we then insert it into a database.


Friday, 12 August 2016

Getting Data from the Web

Getting Data from the Web

You’ve tried everything else, and you haven’t managed to get your hands on the data you want. You’ve found the data on the web, but, alas — no download options are available and copy-paste has failed you. Fear not, there may still be a way to get the data out. For example you can:

Get data from web-based APIs, such as interfaces provided by online databases and many modern web applications (including Twitter, Facebook and many others). This is a fantastic way to access government or commercial data, as well as data from social media sites.

Extract data from PDFs. This is very difficult, as PDF is a language for printers and does not retain much information on the structure of the data that is displayed within a document. Extracting information from PDFs is beyond the scope of this book, but there are some tools and tutorials that may help you do it.

Screen scrape web sites. During screen scraping, you’re extracting structured content from a normal web page with the help of a scraping utility or by writing a small piece of code. While this method is very powerful and can be used in many places, it requires a bit of understanding about how the web works.

With all those great technical options, don’t forget the simple options: often it is worth to spend some time searching for a file with machine-readable data or to call the institution which is holding the data you want.

In this chapter we walk through a very basic example of scraping data from an HTML web page.
What is machine-readable data?

The goal for most of these methods is to get access to machine-readable data. Machine readable data is created for processing by a computer, instead of the presentation to a human user. The structure of such data relates to contained information, and not the way it is displayed eventually. Examples of easily machine-readable formats include CSV, XML, JSON and Excel files, while formats like Word documents, HTML pages and PDF files are more concerned with the visual layout of the information. PDF for example is a language which talks directly to your printer, it’s concerned with position of lines and dots on a page, rather than distinguishable characters.
Scraping web sites: what for?

Everyone has done this: you go to a web site, see an interesting table and try to copy it over to Excel so you can add some numbers up or store it for later. Yet this often does not really work, or the information you want is spread across a large number of web sites. Copying by hand can quickly become very tedious, so it makes sense to use a bit of code to do it.

The advantage of scraping is that you can do it with virtually any web site — from weather forecasts to government spending, even if that site does not have an API for raw data access.
What you can and cannot scrape

There are, of course, limits to what can be scraped. Some factors that make it harder to scrape a site include:

Badly formatted HTML code with little or no structural information e.g. older government websites.

Authentication systems that are supposed to prevent automatic access e.g. CAPTCHA codes and paywalls.

Session-based systems that use browser cookies to keep track of what the user has been doing.

A lack of complete item listings and possibilities for wildcard search.

Blocking of bulk access by the server administrators.

Another set of limitations are legal barriers: some countries recognize database rights, which may limit your right to re-use information that has been published online. Sometimes, you can choose to ignore the license and do it anyway — depending on your jurisdiction, you may have special rights as a journalist. Scraping freely available Government data should be fine, but you may wish to double check before you publish. Commercial organizations — and certain NGOs — react with less tolerance and may try to claim that you’re “sabotaging” their systems. Other information may infringe the privacy of individuals and thereby violate data privacy laws or professional ethics.
Tools that help you scrape

There are many programs that can be used to extract bulk information from a web site, including browser extensions and some web services. Depending on your browser, tools like Readability (which helps extract text from a page) or DownThemAll (which allows you to download many files at once) will help you automate some tedious tasks, while Chrome’s Scraper extension was explicitly built to extract tables from web sites. Developer extensions like FireBug (for Firefox, the same thing is already included in Chrome, Safari and IE) let you track exactly how a web site is structured and what communications happen between your browser and the server.

ScraperWiki is a web site that allows you to code scrapers in a number of different programming languages, including Python, Ruby and PHP. If you want to get started with scraping without the hassle of setting up a programming environment on your computer, this is the way to go. Other web services, such as Google Spreadsheets and Yahoo! Pipes also allow you to perform some extraction from other web sites.
How does a web scraper work?

Web scrapers are usually small pieces of code written in a programming language such as Python, Ruby or PHP. Choosing the right language is largely a question of which community you have access to: if there is someone in your newsroom or city already working with one of these languages, then it makes sense to adopt the same language.

While some of the click-and-point scraping tools mentioned before may be helpful to get started, the real complexity involved in scraping a web site is in addressing the right pages and the right elements within these pages to extract the desired information. These tasks aren’t about programming, but understanding the structure of the web site and database.

When displaying a web site, your browser will almost always make use of two technologies: HTTP is a way for it to communicate with the server and to request specific resource, such as documents, images or videos. HTML is the language in which web sites are composed.
The anatomy of a web page

Any HTML page is structured as a hierarchy of boxes (which are defined by HTML “tags”). A large box will contain many smaller ones — for example a table that has many smaller divisions: rows and cells. There are many types of tags that perform different functions — some produce boxes, others tables, images or links. Tags can also have additional properties (e.g. they can be unique identifiers) and can belong to groups called ‘classes’, which makes it possible to target and capture individual elements within a document. Selecting the appropriate elements this way and extracting their content is the key to writing a scraper.

Viewing the elements in a web page: everything can be broken up into boxes within boxes.

To scrape web pages, you’ll need to learn a bit about the different types of elements that can be in an HTML document. For example, the <table> element wraps a whole table, which has <tr> (table row) elements for its rows, which in turn contain <td> (table data) for each cell. The most common element type you will encounter is <div>, which can basically mean any block of content. The easiest way to get a feel for these elements is by using the developer toolbar in your browser: they will allow you to hover over any part of a web page and see what the underlying code is.

Tags work like book ends, marking the start and the end of a unit. For example <em> signifies the start of an italicized or emphasized piece of text and </em> signifies the end of that section. Easy.

An example: scraping nuclear incidents with Python

NEWS is the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) portal on world-wide radiation incidents (and a strong contender for membership in the Weird Title Club!). The web page lists incidents in a simple, blog-like site that can be easily scraped.

To start, create a new Python scraper on ScraperWiki and you will be presented with a text area that is mostly empty, except for some scaffolding code. In another browser window, open the IAEA site and open the developer toolbar in your browser. In the “Elements” view, try to find the HTML element for one of the news item titles. Your browser’s developer toolbar helps you connect elements on the web page with the underlying HTML code.

Investigating this page will reveal that the titles are <h4> elements within a <table>. Each event is a <tr> row, which also contains a description and a date. If we want to extract the titles of all events, we should find a way to select each row in the table sequentially, while fetching all the text within the title elements.

In order to turn this process into code, we need to make ourselves aware of all the steps involved. To get a feeling for the kind of steps required, let’s play a simple game: In your ScraperWiki window, try to write up individual instructions for yourself, for each thing you are going to do while writing this scraper, like steps in a recipe (prefix each line with a hash sign to tell Python that this not real computer code). For example:

  # Look for all rows in the table
  # Unicorn must not overflow on left side.

Try to be as precise as you can and don’t assume that the program knows anything about the page you’re attempting to scrape.

Once you’ve written down some pseudo-code, let’s compare this to the essential code for our first scraper:

  import scraperwiki
  from lxml import html

In this first section, we’re importing existing functionality from libraries — snippets of pre-written code. scraperwiki will give us the ability to download web sites, while lxml is a tool for the structured analysis of HTML documents. Good news: if you are writing a Python scraper with ScraperWiki, these two lines will always be the same.

  url = ""
  doc_text = scraperwiki.scrape(url)
  doc = html.fromstring(doc_text)

Next, the code makes a name (variable): url, and assigns the URL of the IAEA page as its value. This tells the scraper that this thing exists and we want to pay attention to it. Note that the URL itself is in quotes as it is not part of the program code but a string, a sequence of characters.

We then use the url variable as input to a function, scraperwiki.scrape. A function will provide some defined job — in this case it’ll download a web page. When it’s finished, it’ll assign its output to another variable, doc_text. doc_text will now hold the actual text of the website — not the visual form you see in your browser, but the source code, including all the tags. Since this form is not very easy to parse, we’ll use another function, html.fromstring, to generate a special representation where we can easily address elements, the so-called document object model (DOM).

  for row in doc.cssselect("#tblEvents tr"):
  link_in_header = row.cssselect("h4 a").pop()
  event_title = link_in_header.text
  print event_title

In this final step, we use the DOM to find each row in our table and extract the event’s title from its header. Two new concepts are used: the for loop and element selection (.cssselect). The for loop essentially does what its name implies; it will traverse a list of items, assigning each a temporary alias (row in this case) and then run any indented instructions for each item.

The other new concept, element selection, is making use of a special language to find elements in the document. CSS selectors are normally used to add layout information to HTML elements and can be used to precisely pick an element out of a page. In this case (Line. 6) we’re selecting #tblEvents tr which will match each <tr> within the table element with the ID tblEvents (the hash simply signifies ID). Note that this will return a list of <tr> elements.

As can be seen on the next line (Line. 7), where we’re applying another selector to find any <a> (which is a hyperlink) within a <h4> (a title). Here we only want to look at a single element (there’s just one title per row), so we have to pop it off the top of the list returned by our selector with the .pop() function.

Note that some elements in the DOM contain actual text, i.e. text that is not part of any markup language, which we can access using the [element].text syntax seen on line 8. Finally, in line 9, we’re printing that text to the ScraperWiki console. If you hit run in your scraper, the smaller window should now start listing the event’s names from the IAEA web site.

  Figure 58. A scraper in action (ScraperWiki)

You can now see a basic scraper operating: it downloads the web page, transforms it into the DOM form and then allows you to pick and extract certain content. Given this skeleton, you can try and solve some of the remaining problems using the ScraperWiki and Python documentation:

Can you find the address for the link in each event’s title?

Can you select the small box that contains the date and place by using its CSS class name and extract the element’s text?

ScraperWiki offers a small database to each scraper so you can store the results; copy the relevant example from their docs and adapt it so it will save the event titles, links and dates.

The event list has many pages; can you scrape multiple pages to get historic events as well?

As you’re trying to solve these challenges, have a look around ScraperWiki: there are many useful examples in the existing scrapers — and quite often, the data is pretty exciting, too. This way, you don’t need to start off your scraper from scratch: just choose one that is similar, fork it and adapt to your problem.


Friday, 5 August 2016

Data Mining vs Screen-Scraping

Data Mining vs Screen-Scraping

Data mining isn't screen-scraping. I know that some people in the room may disagree with that statement, but they're actually two almost completely different concepts.

In a nutshell, you might state it this way: screen-scraping allows you to get information, where data mining allows you to analyze information. That's a pretty big simplification, so I'll elaborate a bit.

The term "screen-scraping" comes from the old mainframe terminal days where people worked on computers with green and black screens containing only text. Screen-scraping was used to extract characters from the screens so that they could be analyzed. Fast-forwarding to the web world of today, screen-scraping now most commonly refers to extracting information from web sites. That is, computer programs can "crawl" or "spider" through web sites, pulling out data. People often do this to build things like comparison shopping engines, archive web pages, or simply download text to a spreadsheet so that it can be filtered and analyzed.

Data mining, on the other hand, is defined by Wikipedia as the "practice of automatically searching large stores of data for patterns." In other words, you already have the data, and you're now analyzing it to learn useful things about it. Data mining often involves lots of complex algorithms based on statistical methods. It has nothing to do with how you got the data in the first place. In data mining you only care about analyzing what's already there.

The difficulty is that people who don't know the term "screen-scraping" will try Googling for anything that resembles it. We include a number of these terms on our web site to help such folks; for example, we created pages entitled Text Data Mining, Automated Data Collection, Web Site Data Extraction, and even Web Site Ripper (I suppose "scraping" is sort of like "ripping"). So it presents a bit of a problem-we don't necessarily want to perpetuate a misconception (i.e., screen-scraping = data mining), but we also have to use terminology that people will actually use.


Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Best Alternative For Linkedin Data Scraping

Best Alternative For Linkedin Data Scraping

When I started my career in sales, one of the things that my VP of sales told me is that ” In sales, assumptions are the mother of all f**k ups “. I know the F word sounds a bit inappropriate, but that is the exact word he used. He was trying to convey the simple point that every prospect is different, so don’t guess, use data to come up with decisions.

I joined Datahut and we are working on a product that helps sales people. I thought I should discuss it with you guys and take your feedback.

Let me tell you how the idea evolved itself. At Datahut, we get to hear a lot of problems customers want to solve. Almost 30 percent of all the inbound leads ask us to help them with lead generation.

Most of them simply ask, “Can you scrape Linkedin for me”?

Every time, we politely refused.

But not anymore, we figured out a way to solve their problem without scraping Linkedin.

This should raise some questions in your mind.

1) What problem is he trying to solve?– Most of the time their sales team does not have the accurate data about the prospects. This leads to a total chaos. It will end up in a waste of both time and money by selling the leads that are not sales qualified.

2) Why do they need data specifically from Linkedin? – LinkedIn is the world’s largest business network. In his view, there is no better place to find leads for his business than Linkedin. It is right in a way.

3) Ok, then what is wrong in scraping Linkedin? – Scraping Linkedin is against its terms and it can lead to legal issues. Linkedin has an excellent anti-scraping mechanism which can make the scraping costly.

4) How severe is the problem? – The problem has a direct impact on the revenues as the productivity of the sales team is too low. Without enough sales, the company is a joke.

5) Is there a better way? – Of course yes. The people with profiles in LinkedIn are in other sites too. eg. Google plus, CrunchBase etc. If we can mine and correlate the data, we can generate leads with rich information. It will have better quality than scraping LinkedIn.

6) What to do when the machine intelligence fails? – We have to use human intelligence. Period!

Datahut is working on a platform that can help you get leads that match your ideal buyer persona. It will be a complete Business intelligence platform powered by machine and human intelligence for an efficient lead research & discovery.We named it Leadintel. We’ve also established some partnerships that help to enrich the data and saves the trouble of lawsuits.

We are opening our platform for beta users. You can request an invitation using the contact form. What do you think about this? What are your suggestions?

Thanks for reading this blog post. Datahut offers affordable data extraction services (DaaS) . If you need help with your web scraping projects let us know and we will be glad to help.


Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Extract Data from Multiple Web Pages into Excel using

In this tutorial, i will show you how to extract data from multiple web pages of a website or blog and save the extracted data into Excel spreadsheet for further processing.There are various methods and tools to do that but I found them complicated and I prefer to use to accomplish the doesn’t require you to have programming skills.The platform is quite powerful,user-friendly with a lot of support online and above all FREE to use.

You can use the online version of their data extraction software or a desktop application.The online version will be covered in this tutorial.

Let us get started.

Step 1:Find a web page you want to extract data from.
You can extract data such as prices, images, authors’ names, addresses,dates etc

Step 2:Enter the URL for that web page into the text box here and click “Extract data”.

Then click  “Extract data” will transform the web page into data in seconds.Data such as authors,images,posts published dates and posts title will be pulled from the web page as shown in the image below. extracted only 40 posts or articles from the first page of the blog!.
If you visit you will notice that the web page is having a total of 600+ pages at the time of writing this article and each page has 40 posts or articles on it as can be shown by the image below.
Next step will show you how to extract data from multiple pages of the web page into excel.

Step 3:Extract Data from Multiple Web Pages into Excel

Using the online tool you can extract data from 20 web pages maximum.Go to the bottom right corner of the online tool page and click “Download CSV” to save the extracted data from those 20 pages into Excel.
Note:Using the desktop application you can extract an unlimited number of pages and pin point only the data you want to extract.Check out this tutorial on how to use the desktop application.
Once you click “Download CSV” the following pop up window will appear.You can specify the number of pages you want to get data from up to a maximum of 20 pages then click “Go!”
You will need to Sign up for a free account to download that data as a CSV, or save it as an API.If you save it as an API you can go back to the API later to extract new data if the web page is updated without the need to repeat the steps we have done so far.Also, you can use the API for integration into other platforms.
Below image shows 20 rows out of 800 rows of data extracted from the 20 pages of the web page.


The online tool doesn’t offer much flexibility than the desktop application.For example, you can not extract more than 20 pages and you can not pin point the type of data you want to extract.For a more advanced tutorial on how to use the desktop application, you can check out this tutorial I created earlier.

Source URL :

Monday, 11 July 2016

4 Web Scraping Tools To Save You Time On Data Extraction

Either you are working on a product website, struggling to add live data feed to your app or merely need to pull out a huge amount of online data for analysis, an accurate web scraping tool can save you loads of time and keep you sane. Here are four powerful web scraping tools to save you from copy-pasting or spending time on writing your own scripts.

Uipath  specializes in developing various process automation software including web scraping and screen scraping software for desktop and web. Uipath web scraper is perfect for non-coders and easily surpasses most common data extraction challenges including page navigation, digging through flash and even scraping PDF files. All you need to do is open the web scraping wizard and simply highlight the data you need to extract. The tool will scrape all the data following this pattern at all pages you’ve chosen and sort it accordingly. You can add as many items for scraping as you like and have them sorted in respective columns. As a result, you receive a neat Excel or CSV document with all the data eliminated from duplicates.

Moreover, Uipath isn’t just about scraping. This software can be used not only for extracting data, but to manipulate the interface of another app, thus establishing data transfers among the two of them. Basically, this tool could be used to conduct any repetitive task a human could do, yet much faster and with higher accuracy.

Pros: You can automate form filling, clicking buttons, navigation etc. Uipath scraper is impressively accurate, fast and simple to use. It “reads” all types of data on screen (JS, HTML, Silverlight and more), plus you can train the software to emulate human actions of various complexity.

Cons: Premium software runs at a premium price. Uipath is an affordable professional solution, but may be a bit too pricey for personal use.  offers you a free desktop app to help you scrap all the data you need from an unlimited amount of web pages. The service treats each page as a potential data source to generate API from. If the page you’ve submitted has been previously processed, you can access its API and get some of the data. In other case, will guide you through the process of creating the scraping matrix by building connectors (for navigation) or extractors (to pull out the needed data). Afterwards, you submit a request for extraction and it’s typically processed within 24 hours. All the data is private and you can schedule auto refreshments at any chosen period of time.

Pros: The service is easy-to-use with no tech skills needed. It can  pages with data (those that needed login/pass), plus it’s free. Minimalistic effective design and simple navigation comes along.

Cons: has hard times navigating through combinations of javascript/POST and cannot navigate from one page to another (e.g. click next, second page etc).  Sometimes, it takes over 24 hours to receive the report.  Besides, it’s a browser-only app, non-compatible with other applications.

Kimono is a popular web scraper among app developers who prefer to power up their products with live data and no additional code. It saves you tons of time when you need to fill up your app with mashing data. Install Kimono Browser bookmarklet; highlight page elements you need to and provide some positive/negative examples to train the tool. After labeling all the data you can download it in CSV/JSON/a web endpoint format. The APIs created for your pages are stored in the cloud and you can run them on schedule. So far, Kimono is free to use with pro and enterprise solutions to be launched soon.

Pros: The tool works pretty fast and works great with scraping newsfeeds and prices. The data is rather accurate.

Cons: No page navigation available and you need to spend quite a lot of time to train Kimono before it starts to pull out the multi items data accurate enough. In general, I’d say Kimono is more of an app mash-ups creator than a full-scale web scraper.

 Screen Scraper  is pretty neat and tackles a lot of difficult tasks including navigation and precise data extractions, however it requires a bit of programming/tokenization skills if you’d like to run it super smooth. Launch the software, add a proxy, start recording the list of your actions and creating extracting patterns (some coding required). Works great with HTML and Javascript, however you should test it with Citrix and other platforms. Basically, screen scraper helps you writing simple web scraping scripts and lets you download the extracted data in txt/csv/excel format.

Pros: When set correctly, there’s no data extraction tasks Screen scraper fails to handle.
Cons: The tool is pricey and you’ll have to go through documentation and have basic coding skills to use it.

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Saturday, 9 July 2016

ECJ clarifies Database Directive scope in screen scraping case

EC on the legal protection of databases (Database Directive) in a case concerning the extraction of data from a third party’s website by means of automated systems or software for commercial purposes (so called 'screen scraping').

Flight data extracted

The case, Ryanair Ltd vs. PR Aviation BV, C-30/14, is of interest to a range of companies such as price comparison websites. It stemmed from  Dutch company PR Aviation operation of a website where consumers can search through flight data of low-cost airlines  (including Ryanair), compare prices and, on payment of a commission, book a flight. The relevant flight data is extracted from third-parties’ websites by means of ‘screen scraping’ practices.

Ryanair claimed that PR Aviation’s activity:

• amounted to infringement of copyright (relating to the structure and architecture of the database) and of the so-called sui generis database right (i.e. the right granted to the ‘maker’ of the database where certain investments have been made to obtain, verify, or present the contents of a database) under the Netherlands law implementing the Database Directive;

• constituted breach of contract. In this respect, Ryanair claimed that a contract existed with PR Aviation for the use of its website. Access to the latter requires acceptance, by clicking a box, of the airline’s general terms and conditions which, amongst others, prohibit unauthorized ‘screen scraping’ practices for commercial purposes.

Ryanair asked Dutch courts to prohibit the infringement and order damages. In recent years the company has been engaged in several legal cases against web scrapers across Europe.

The Local Court, Utrecht, and the Court of Appeals of Amsterdam dismissed Ryanair’s claims on different grounds. The Court of Appeals, in particular, cited PR Aviation’s screen scraping of Ryanair’s website as amounting to a “normal use” of said website within the meaning of the lawful user exceptions under Sections 6 and 8 of the Database Directive, which cannot be derogated by contract (Section 15).

Ryanair appealed

Ryanair appealed the decision before the Netherlands Supreme Court (Hoge Raad der Nederlanden), which decided to refer the following question to the ECJ for a preliminary ruling: “Does the application of [Directive 96/9] also extend to online databases which are not protected by copyright on the basis of Chapter II of said directive or by a sui generis right on the basis of Chapter III, in the sense that the freedom to use such databases through the (whether or not analogous) application of Article[s] 6(1) and 8, in conjunction with Article 15 [of Directive 96/9] may not be limited contractually?.”

The ECJ’s ruling

The ECJ (without the need of the opinion of the advocate general) ruled that the Database Directive is not applicable to databases which are not protected either by copyright or by the sui generis database right. Therefore, exceptions to restricted acts set forth by Sections 6 and 8 of the Directive do not prevent the database owner from establishing contractual limitations on its use by third parties. In other words, restrictions to the freedom to contract set forth by the Database Directive do not apply in cases of unprotected databases. Whether Ryanair’s website may be entitled to copyright or sui generis database right protection needs to be determined by the competent national court.

The ECJ’s decision is not particularly striking from a legal standpoint. Yet, it could have a significant impact on the business model of price comparison websites, aggregators, and similar businesses. Owners of databases that could not rely on intellectual property protection may contractually prevent extraction and use (“scraping”) of content from their online databases. Thus, unprotected databases could receive greater protection than the one granted by IP law.

Antitrust implications

However, the lawfulness of contractual restrictions prohibiting access and reuse of data through screen scraping practices should be assessed under an antitrust perspective. In this respect, in 2013 the Court of Milan ruled that Ryanair’s refusal to grant access to its database to the online travel agency Viaggiare S.r.l. amounted to an abuse of dominant position in the downstream market of information and intermediation on flights (decision of June 4, 2013 Viaggiare S.r.l. vs Ryanair Ltd). Indeed, a balance should be struck between the need to compensate the efforts and investments made by the creator of the database with the interest of third parties to be granted with access to information (especially in those cases where the latter are not entitled to copyright protection).

Additionally, web scraping triggers other issues which have not been considered by the ECJ’s ruling. These include, but are not limited to trademark law (i.e., whether the use of a company’s names/logos by the web scraper without consent may amount to trademark infringement), data protection (e.g., in case the scraping involves personal data), or unfair competition.

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Thursday, 30 June 2016

An Easy Way For Data Extraction

There are so many data scraping tools are available in internet. With these tools you can you download large amount of data without any stress. From the past decade, the internet revolution has made the entire world as an information center. You can obtain any type of information from the internet. However, if you want any particular information on one task, you need search more websites. If you are interested in download all the information from the websites, you need to copy the information and pate in your documents. It seems a little bit hectic work for everyone. With these scraping tools, you can save your time, money and it reduces manual work.

The Web data extraction tool will extract the data from the HTML pages of the different websites and compares the data. Every day, there are so many websites are hosting in internet. It is not possible to see all the websites in a single day. With these data mining tool, you are able to view all the web pages in internet. If you are using a wide range of applications, these scraping tools are very much useful to you.

The data extraction software tool is used to compare the structured data in internet. There are so many search engines in internet will help you to find a website on a particular issue. The data in different sites is appears in different styles. This scraping expert will help you to compare the date in different site and structures the data for records.

And the web crawler software tool is used to index the web pages in the internet; it will move the data from internet to your hard disk. With this work, you can browse the internet much faster when connected. And the important use of this tool is if you are trying to download the data from internet in off peak hours. It will take a lot of time to download. However, with this tool you can download any data from internet at fast rate.There is another tool for business person is called email extractor. With this toll, you can easily target the customers email addresses. You can send advertisement for your product to the targeted customers at any time. This the best tool to find the database of the customers.

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Thursday, 12 May 2016

A Content Marketer's Guide to Data Scraping

As digital marketers, big data should be what we use to inform a lot of the decisions we make. Using intelligence to understand what works within your industry is absolutely crucial within content campaigns, but it blows my mind to know that so many businesses aren't focusing on it.

One reason I often hear from businesses is that they don't have the budget to invest in complex and expensive tools that can feed in reams of data to them. That said, you don't always need to invest in expensive tools to gather valuable intelligence — this is where data scraping comes in.

Just so you understand, here's a very brief overview of what data scraping is from Wikipedia:

    "Data scraping is a technique in which a computer program extracts data from human-readable output coming from another program."

Essentially, it involves crawling through a web page and gathering nuggets of information that you can use for your analysis. For example, you could search through a site like Search Engine Land and scrape the author names of each of the posts that have been published, and then you could correlate this to social share data to find who the top performing authors are on that website.

Hopefully, you can start to see how this data can be valuable. What's more, it doesn't require any coding knowledge — if you're able to follow my simple instructions, you can start gathering information that will inform your content campaigns. I've recently used this research to help me get a post published on the front page of BuzzFeed, getting viewed over 100,000 times and channeling a huge amount of traffic through to my blog.

Disclaimer: One thing that I really need to stress before you read on is the fact that scraping a website may breach its terms of service. You should ensure that this isn't the case before carrying out any scraping activities. For example, Twitter completely prohibits the scraping of information on their site. This is from their Terms of Service:

    "crawling the Services is permissible if done in accordance with the provisions of the robots.txt file, however, scraping the Services without the prior consent of Twitter is expressly prohibited"

Google similarly forbids the scraping of content from their web properties:

Google's Terms of Service do not allow the sending of automated queries of any sort to our system without express permission in advance from Google.

So be careful, kids.

Content analysis

Mastering the basics of data scraping will open up a whole new world of possibilities for content analysis. I'd advise any content marketer (or at least a member of their team) to get clued up on this.

Before I get started on the specific examples, you'll need to ensure that you have Microsoft Excel on your computer (everyone should have Excel!) and also the SEO Tools plugin for Excel (free download here). I put together a full tutorial on using the SEO tools plugin that you may also be interested in.

Alongside this, you'll want a web crawling tool like Screaming Frog's SEO Spider or Xenu Link Sleuth (both have free options). Once you've got these set up, you'll be able to do everything that I outline below.

So here are some ways in which you can use scraping to analyse content and how this can be applied into your content marketing campaigns:

1. Finding the different authors of a blog

Analysing big publications and blogs to find who the influential authors are can give you some really valuable data. Once you have a list of all the authors on a blog, you can find out which of those have created content that has performed well on social media, had a lot of engagement within the comments and also gather extra stats around their social following, etc.

I use this information on a daily basis to build relationships with influential writers and get my content placed on top tier websites. Here's how you can do it:

Step 1: Gather a list of the URLs from the domain you're analysing using Screaming Frog's SEO Spider. Simply add the root domain into Screaming Frog's interface and hit start (if you haven't used this tool before, you can check out my tutorial here).

Once the tool has finished gathering all the URLs (this can take a little while for big websites), simply export them all to an Excel spreadsheet.

Step 2: Open up Google Chrome and navigate to one of the article pages of the domain you're analysing and find where they mention the author's name (this is usually within an author bio section or underneath the post title). Once you've found this, right-click their name and select inspect element (this will bring up the Chrome developer console).

Within the developer console, the line of code associated to the author's name that you selected will be highlighted (see the below image). All you need to do now is right-click on the highlighted line of code and press Copy XPath.

For the Search Engine Land website, the following code would be copied:


This may not make any sense to you at this stage, but bear with me and you'll see how it works.

Step 3: Go back to your spreadsheet of URLs and get rid of all the extra information that Screaming Frog gives you, leaving just the list of raw URLs – add these to the first column (column A) of your worksheet.
 Step 4: In cell B2, add the following formula:


Just to break this formula down for you, the function XPathOnUrl allows you to use the XPath code directly within (this is with the SEO Tools plugin installed; it won't work without this). The first element of the function specifies which URL we are going to scrape. In this instance I've selected cell A2, which contains a URL from the crawl I did within Screaming Frog (alternatively, you could just type the URL, making sure that you wrap it within quotation marks).

Finally, the last part of the function is our XPath code that we gathered. One thing to note is that you have to remove the quotation marks from the code and replace them with apostrophes. In this example, I'm referring to the "leftCol" section, which I've changed to ‘leftCol' — if you don't do this, Excel won't read the formula correctly.

Once you press enter, there may be a couple of seconds delay whilst the SEO Tools plugin crawls the page, then it will return a result. It's worth mentioning that within the example I've given above, we're looking for author names on article pages, so if I try to run this on a URL that isn't an article (e.g. the homepage) I will get an error.

 For those interested, the XPath code itself works by starting at the top of the code of the URL specified and following the instructions outlined to find on-page elements and return results. So, for the following code:


We're telling it to look for any element (//*) that has an id of leftCol (@id='leftCol') and then go down to the second div tag after this (div[2]), followed by a p tag, a span tag and finally, an a tag (/p/span/a). The result returned should be the text within this a tag.

Don't worry if you don't understand this, but if you do, it will help you to create your own XPath. For example, if you wanted to grab the output of an a tag that has rel=author attached to it (another great way of finding page authors), then you could use some XPath that looked a little something like this:


As a full formula within Excel it would look something like this:


Once you've created the formula, you can drag it down and apply it to a large number of URLs all at once. This is a huge time-saver as you'd have to manually go through each website and copy/paste each author to get the same results without scraping – I don't need to explain how long this would take.

Now that I've explained the basics, I'll show you some other ways in which scraping can be used…

2. Finding extra details around page authors

So, we've found a list of author names, which is great, but to really get some more insight into the authors we will need more data. Again, this can often be scraped from the website you're analysing.

Most blogs/publications that list the names of the article author will actually have individual author pages. Again, using Search Engine Land as an example, if you click my name at the top of this post you will be taken to a page that has more details on me, including my Twitter profile, Google+ profile and LinkedIn profile. This is the kind of data that I'd want to gather because it gives me a point of contact for the author I'm looking to get in touch with.

Here's how you can do it.

Step 1: First we need to get the author profile URLs so that we can scrape the extra details off of them. To do this, you can use the same approach to find the author's name, with just a little addition to the formula:

=XPathOnUrl(A2,"//a[@rel='author']", <strong>"href"</strong>)

The addition of the "href" part of the formula will extract the output of the href attribute of the atag. In Lehman terms, it will find the hyperlink attached to the author name and return that URL as a result.

 Step 2: Now that we have the author profile page URLs, you can go on and gather the social media profiles. Instead of scraping the article URLs, we'll be using the profile URLs.

So, like last time, we need to find the XPath code to gather the Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn links. To do this, open up Google Chrome and navigate to one of the author profile pages, right-click on the Twitter link and select Inspect Element.

Once you've done this, hover over the highlighted line of code within Chrome's developer tools, right-click and select Copy XPath.

 Step 3: Finally, open up your Excel spreadsheet and add in the following formula (using the XPath that you've copied over):

=XPathOnUrl(C2,"//*[@id='leftCol']/div[2]/p/a[2]", "href")

Remember that this is the code for scraping Search Engine Land, so if you're doing this on a different website, it will almost certainly be different. One important thing to highlight here is that I've selected cell C2 here, which contains the URL of the author profile page and not just the article page. As well as this, you'll notice that I've included "href" at the end because we want the actual Twitter profile URL and not just the words ‘Twitter'.

You can now repeat this same process to get the Google+ and LinkedIn profile URLs and add it to your spreadsheet. Hopefully you're starting to see the value in this, and how it can be used to gather a lot of intelligence that can be used for all kinds of online activity, not least your SEO and social media campaigns.

3. Gathering the follower counts across social networks

Now that we have the author's social media accounts, it makes sense to get their follower counts so that they can be ranked based on influence within the spreadsheet.

Here are the final XPath formulae that you can plug straight into Excel for each network to get their follower counts. All you'll need to do is replace the text INSERT SOCIAL PROFILE URL with the cell reference to the Google+/LinkedIn URL:





4. Scraping page titles

Once you've got a list of URLs, you're going to want to get an idea of what the content is actually about. Using this quick bit of XPath against any URL will display the title of the page:


To be fair, if you're using the SEO Tools plugin for Excel then you can just use the built-in feature to scrape page titles, but it's always handy to know how to do it manually!

A nice extra touch for analysis is to look at the number of words used within the page titles. To do this, use the following formula:


From this you can get an understanding of what the optimum title length of a post within a website is. This is really handy if you're pitching an article to a specific publication. If you make the post the best possible fit for the site and back up your decisions with historical data, you stand a much better chance of success.

Taking this a step further, you can gather the social shares for each URL using the following functions:







Note: You can also use a tool like URL Profiler to pull in this data, which is much better for large data sets. The tool also helps you to gather large chunks of data from other social networks, link data sources like Ahrefs, Majestic SEO and Moz, which is awesome.

If you want to get even more social stats then you can use the SharedCount API, and this is how you go about doing it…

Firstly, create a new column in your Excel spreadsheet and add the following formula (where A2 is the URL of the webpage you want to gather social stats for):


You should now have a cell that contains your webpage URL prefixed with the SharedCount API URL. This is what we will use to gather social stats. Now here's the Excel formula to use for each network (where B2 is the cell that contaiins the formula above):





Facebook Shares:


Facebook Comments:


Once you have this data, you can start looking much deeper into the elements of a successful post. Here's an example of a chart that I created around a large sample of articles that I analysed within

 The chart looks at the average number of social shares that an article on Upworthy receives vs the number of words within its title. This is invaluable data that can be used across a whole host of different on-page elements to get the perfect article template for the site you're pitching to.

See, big data is useful!

5. Date/time the post was published

Along with analysing the details of headlines that are working within a site, you may want to look at the optimal posting times for best results. This is something that I regularly do within my blogs to ensure that I'm getting the best possible return from the time I spend writing.

Every site is different, which makes it very difficult for an automated, one-size-fits-all tool to gather this information. Some sites will have this data within the <head> section of their webpages, but others will display it directly under the article headline. Again, Search Engine Land is a perfect example of a website doing this…

 So here's how you can scrape this information from the articles on Search Engine Land:


Now you've got the date and time of the post. You may want to trim this down and reformat it for your data analysis, but you've got it all in Excel so that should be pretty easy.

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