The web is the largest repository of data related to different industries. Businesses can make use of this information to understand their market and make informed decisions that facilitate the growth of the business.
This data is collected through market research and analyzed to provide vital information such as:
- Changes in market needs
- Competitors’ moves
- Product pricing
- Industry-related changes in technology
- Market response to various products
Market research is conducted through a technique known as web scraping.
What Is Web Data Extraction?
It refers to the automated and repeated collection of huge amounts of information from web pages with the use of a web scraper. The data collected is stored locally in a computer file. The data is then transformed from structured to unstructured and stored in a database for further analysis.
To avoid detection by the website owner, web data extraction is best carried out using a proxy server. A proxy acts as an intermediary between the computer making the web request and the web server. It hides the IP address of the computer extracting data, making it difficult to detect.
Here are five crucial factors you should take into consideration before choosing a web scraping service provider.
1) Available Resources
You need access to quality proxies for your web scraping project to be successful. Get a proxy server provider who can provide adequate rotating proxies and dedicated proxies. They should have IP addresses linked to different locations for easy access to geoblocked sites. Ensure that they have quality data center and residential proxies.
Choose a service provider who is able to grow with your business growth. As your data needs increase, the company should have enough resources to meet these needs, and not slow you down. You should not have to go through the process of outsourcing another provider to accommodate your new needs.
2) What is the Market Saying about The Company?
For any service provider you intend to transact with, there are other customers who have dealt with them before. Find out what they have to say about their services. Use review sites such as Trustpilot and other proxy service reviews websites to find out about the company’s shortcomings.
Social media is also a great place to get some reviews about the website. Their response to complaints will also speak a lot about their commitment to customer satisfaction, which will reflect on their products.
3) Customer Support
You need the assurance that support will be available when you need it. A lot of issues can occur when using the web scraper. For instance, changes in the website’s design could cause the website scraper not to function correctly. You need an expert to help you modify the scraper accordingly.
Find out how many account managers are available, and if all services are covered. Is their customer service 24/7? Which modes of communication are available? Telephone, email, or chat? Find out if the support comes at an extra cost?
4) Transparent Pricing Structure
For proper budgeting, you need to work with a company that is transparent about their pricing. There should not be any hidden costs. The crawling services and proxies should be easy to understand at a glance. They should have a clear pricing plan for the services you need.
The best kind of pricing is where you pay for what you use, unlike paying an equivalent amount for both small and large workloads. For instance, data center proxies should be charged per IP address while residential proxies should be charged per data used. This will make it easy to stay within your budget.
5) Quality of Data
The quality of data you receive from the web scraping service provider will affect the decisions you make with regard to your product pricing and market moves. It will affect your competitiveness and revenue. Get a company that is capable of scraping accurately. They should clean and classify the data into useful information.
Ensure that they will deliver the data in a file format that your computer systems can support. For instance, if you require your files in HTML format, get a provider who will deliver accordingly.
You need to outsource the best web scraping service that will help you obtain quality data for your market research.
Before committing your web scraping project to the service provider, look them up in proxy service review websites and check their reputation. Ensure that they have a quality web scraper and enough resources to handle both your present and future needs. Most importantly, they should provide quality rotating and private proxy servers for both data center and residential proxies.
Check the extent of their customer support, it should be adequate. Their prices should be clear, precise, and fit with your budget. The structure and quality of the data produced should meet your requirements.