Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Advantages of Data Scraping

Unlike traditional search engines, which compile web sites based on popularity but provide no mechanism for extracting information, new software from companies such as Mozenda, Screen Scraper, and Fetch utilize a process called data scraping to gather relevant information from any website. Data scraping allows an organization to quickly and efficiently gather the needed data in an accessible format, without the bother of cutting and pasting. A user can have instant access to email addresses, competitor pricing, supplier information, and other specific data, arranged in a single display page that can double as a document.

Data Scraping Tools combines the broad collective power of a traditional search engine with the refined nuance of a personal file clerk. By pulling the needed information, based on the specific criteria entered by the user, the software can greatly simplify the process of assembling reports, comparing prices, and performing other analysis. Plus, Mozenda has an easy to use graphic interface, which allows anyone to use familiar browser features to master the software’s functionality instantly.

Data scraping culls incredibly valuable information that would otherwise be nearly impossible to acquire using traditional search engines and copy paste methodologies. While search engines tend to focus on displaying web site addresses, Mozenda goes into the website itself to extract the information you need. To demonstrate this specificity, Mozenda is able to recognize types of data formats like addresses, prices, and emails, and then capture those results cleanly into a CSV, XLS, or XML file.

Data scraping also allows you to quickly identify other specific information such as changes on web pages, new data values, and general updates to specific data sets. For example, if you’re scraping information from your suppliers catalog, Mozenda will not only compile recent products and prices, but also automatically update new products and price changes that the supplier adds to the catalog. By using data scraping, you can begin acquiring information that you can utilize in mere minutes instead of spending days or even weeks attempting to dig up the same information with traditional copy and paste.

In the case of Mozenda, their highly efficient data scraping software has won the company several high-profile clients, many among the Fortune 100 elite. These companies recognize that if the internet can be thought of as a giant database, then data scraping software is the ultimate database mining tool. In an age where every second counts against the competition, data scraping is the quickest route to getting critical information from the web in a useable format.

Additionally, for companies that compile detailed text-based reports, the time consuming chore of research is abbreviated by employing data scraping. By virtue of refinement and highly advanced programming, data scrapers can procure large amounts of information in readily useable formats at incredible speed. Individual user data, which previously had to be compiled by hand from a multitude of sources, becomes so simple and efficient to procure that any company can instantly make adjustments to implement more automated processes.

As the number of companies using data scraping technology grows, the marketplace is becoming increasingly competitive and proficient at finding new ways to seek out information. The software is constantly being refined and developed to match the needs of its users. Because the internet is such a rapidly changing medium, and the amount of information is always increasing, the need for an automated method of finding, acquiring, and utilizing this information is more important than ever. Data Scraping is one way to do this and provides a huge advantage to the companies that have figured it out.

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