Scraping Data From E-Commerce Websites
Table of Contents
In July 1994 saw the birth of Amazon thus signaling a new era in shopping. Two and half decades down the line, more than 2 million sellers are on Amazon.
Flipkart, eBay, Alibaba, Clubfactory and several other competitors have established their presence. Each of these has magnanimous volumes of listings that are updated multiple times in the day. This provides a treasure house of data.
Many organizations go for data crawling to obtain relevant data from these e-commerce websites.
In this article, I will explore the different problems and look at plausible solutions for those.
1. Large Scale Data Extraction
If we look at the website of any e-commerce organization, we will see that there are 5-10 main categories.
Each of these has more than 20 subcategories. All these hundreds of items will have their description, thumbnail image, ratings, reviews, shipping details, and other information.
If you use a web data extractor, it will simply get all this information out of the website and paste it in a systematic manner in a spreadsheet.
It can be initiated only once or twice a day for each e-commerce website. This is so because it’s indeed a time-consuming process. This leads to loss of precision of data which affects the very purpose of collecting the data.
To do away with this problem, organizations can opt for handing the task to an outsourcing team.
They will build a web crawler for you that will give you absolute control over the quality and source of data.
While collecting data from multiple sources, it may be noted that e-commerce websites are very versatile in terms of structure.
This creates a need for online data scraper to be adjusted accordingly. Outsourcing this to a professional team will allow you to get past the responsibility of debugging the flow and will save your organization a considerable amount of time and money.
2. Getting Blacklisted or Blocked
Although there are hundreds of e-commerce websites available, there are 2-3 major players who hold 80% of the data that you need.
These are also those very websites that are the most advanced and are capable of identifying abnormalities in IP addresses.
When you communicate with any webpage, you will need to do it through your IP. The IP address is your system’s identity card in the world of computer networks.
When one uses a web scraping application, it often asks for huge resources from the websites in a short period.
The advanced e-commerce websites can identify such occurrences and decipher that it is an application and not a real person.
As a defensive act, it blacklists your IP address. This is like the website is blocking you and you won’t be access data on the website.
Thus, one needs to be extra cautious when dealing with data from e-commerce websites. Professionals know how to web scrape these websites without getting caught.
They configure the bot to crawl at a rate that would mimic the browsing speed of a human user. They also have a good understanding of the user-agent concept and switch it as per the expectations of the website in question.
Understanding Blacklisting In Layman’s Terms
In layman’s terms, a user-agent allows a website to identify the browser that is interacting with. Web scraping consultants have a list of user-agents and they switch between these.
That way, the website feels that it is interacting with different users.
When one is looking to extract images from a website, professionals find ways to rotate the IP addresses.
They use proxy IP providers to allocate requests to multiple IP addresses.
That way, smooth and uninterrupted web scraping is achieved by making it difficult for the e-commerce website to detect any abnormality in data collected by a particular IP address.
3. ReCaptcha preventing scraping
E-commerce websites (among others) have identified a pattern in how most applications work.
These applications know how to web scrape in a basic way wherein a huge number of requests is a server in a small time frame.
Most of the top e-commerce websites can identify such a sudden load on the server. To deal with this, websites ask the user to solve a Captcha to differentiate himself from an automated program.
This is where most web scraping tools fail.
Professional web scrapers understand that the concept of Captcha is based on too many requests being sent concurrently.
They can use conventional data extraction tools and impose artificial speed on them to create a delay between successive requests to the server.
Captcha may be of different types. While some are of graphic types and require a piece of text to be decoded, others require a puzzle to be solved.
More About ReCaptcha You Need To Know
Professional service providers can use the tools in a manner such that it will be able to get past the simple captchas.
Collaboration with anti-captcha providers sometimes gives them the opportunity of allowing the web data extractor to get past complex captcha as well.
Thus, if there is someone who can help you get past all the anti-scraping techniques employed by the top e-commerce websites, it is the professional consultants.
In a market that has so many service providers, it is indeed challenging to identify who will be the most suitable for your business needs.
While a lot of things come into consideration here, there is no need to look any further for your e-commerce website scrapping needs. Having years of experience and a keen interest in this field.
Mr. Faruque Azam has been providing exceptional web scraping services to satisfied clients for years. He has just what it takes to extract information out of e-commerce websites and give you relevant data.
This data will help you make crucial business decisions and turn your business into the success story that you had always pictured.