One of the most plentiful sources of data is the one we use every day: the worldwide web. As the largest repository of open source data, the web can provide a answers for an almost endless number of questions. Recent estimates say that there are 50 billion webpages indexed by Google.
The flip-side of this coin is that the web’s information can be overwhelming in its volume. The sheer amount of data available online means that it’s often hard to access the exact information you need amongst the ‘noise’ of other web pages and domains.
That’s when scraped data comes into its own. Data providers can collect information from across the web at rapid speed. Based on the information you need, they can extract data from the right websites and pages automatically. The result? A web that starts to look less like a mess of infinite information, and more like a structured data product.
In this guide, we’ll explain what scraped data is, its sources, legal considerations of scraping, and how to monetize web scraped data.
1. What is Scraped Data?
Scraped data refers to information extracted from various online sources using automated tools, commonly known as web scrapers. This process involves collecting data from websites, social media platforms, forums, and other online repositories. The gathered information can include product details, user reviews, market trends, and more.
Common Sources of Scraped Data
Web scraping can target a multitude of sources, ranging from e-commerce websites and news portals to social media platforms and government databases. The diversity of scraped data sources makes it a valuable asset for businesses seeking insights into market trends, consumer behavior, and competitive landscapes.
Use Cases for Scraped Data
Scraped data can be used in various scenarios, from market research, sentiment analysis, and competitive intelligence to SEO monitoring and price comparison. For instance, e-commerce companies can use scraped data to monitor competitors' prices and adjust their pricing strategy accordingly. Similarly, data journalists can use scraped data to uncover patterns and stories hidden in the data.
Role of Scraped Data in Machine Learning and AI
Scraped data plays a significant role in training machine learning and AI models. By providing diverse and extensive data sets, web scraping empowers AI systems to improve their accuracy and predictive capabilities. This opens up a new market for selling scraped data to tech companies and AI research institutions.
As this handful of example use cases show, web scraped data is a lucrative resource. For that reason, there’s an increasing amount of web data providers, making a business selling web scraping services. Interested in how it works? Read on.
2. How to Sell Scraped Data
We’re seeing more and more companies and individuals begin a web scraping data business. For those considering entering the market of selling scraped data, there are key strategies and guidelines to follow.
Finding Potential Buyers
Identifying potential buyers involves understanding the specific needs of industries that can benefit from scraped data. This may include marketing firms, research institutions, and businesses seeking competitive intelligence.
Establishing fair and competitive pricing is crucial. Factors such as the depth of insights, the uniqueness of the data, and the demand in the market play a role in determining the value of scraped data.
Ensuring Data Quality and Accuracy
Maintaining data quality and accuracy is essential for building trust with buyers. Regularly updating datasets, implementing quality control measures, and providing transparent documentation can enhance the reliability of the offered data.
Legal and Ethical Guidelines to Follow
Adhering to legal and ethical guidelines is paramount. This includes obtaining consent when necessary, respecting the terms of service of scraped websites, and ensuring that the data is used responsibly.
We’ve discussed how to sell web scraped data on a high level. Next, we’ll look at more tangible examples of what web scraping services and companies are operating today.
4. Examples of Scraped Data Products & Companies
Exploring alternative ways to monetize scraped data can open up new opportunities for sellers. There are many forms in which web scraped data can be sold. The main two are web scraped data products and web scraped data-as-a-service
Scraped Data Products
Scraped data can be transformed into various products, such as market reports, trend analyses, and targeted lead lists. These products cater to the diverse needs of businesses seeking valuable insights.
Web scraping services can take various forms, including APIs and custom projects. APIs can provide real-time data extraction, allowing businesses to get the most up-to-date information.
On the other hand, custom projects are tailored to specific needs, enabling companies to obtain data from unique or niche sources. Both these services cater to the diverse demands of businesses and contribute to the versatility of web scraping as a commercial offering.
Collaborating with Companies in Need of Data Insights
Partnering with companies in need of data insights can be a mutually beneficial arrangement. This collaboration allows sellers to provide tailored solutions to specific industries while expanding the availability of structured web data.
Frequently asked questions surrounding web scraped data are related to its ethicality and legality. It’s this important that we’ll look to next.
4. Legality of Selling Scraped Data
Before delving into the business of selling scraped data, it's crucial to understand the legal considerations associated with this practice. Web scraping exists in a legal gray area, with various jurisdictions having different perspectives on its legitimacy.
Discussion on the Legality of Selling Scraped Data
The legality of selling scraped data depends on factors such as the purpose of scraping, the terms of service of the targeted websites, and the nature of the data collected. While some jurisdictions view web scraping as a legitimate business activity, others consider it a breach of terms or even an illegal act.
Potential Legal Consequences
Sellers of scraped data may face legal consequences, including cease and desist orders, lawsuits, or damage to their reputation. It's essential to be aware of and comply with the relevant laws and regulations to avoid legal issues.
There are risks associated with scraping and selling data aside from legality. Let’s consider them now.
5. Risks and Challenges
Despite the potential benefits, selling scraped data comes with its own set of risks and challenges.
Data Security and Protection
Protecting the scraped data from unauthorized access and ensuring compliance with data protection laws is crucial. Failure to do so can result in severe consequences, including legal action and damage to the seller's reputation.
Competitor Analysis and Market Saturation
The market for scraped data is competitive, and sellers must be aware of existing players and market saturation. Conducting thorough competitor analysis is essential for positioning oneself effectively and identifying unique selling propositions.
In an information economy, selling scraped data presents a unique business opportunity. It involves gathering data from various online sources, converting it into valuable insights, and selling it to businesses and research institutions. However, to succeed in this market, you need to understand your target audience, establish fair pricing, ensure data quality, and stay within the legal and ethical boundaries.
Scraped data has diverse applications, from market research and competitive intelligence to SEO monitoring and machine learning. The potential buyers of this data include marketing firms, research institutions, and businesses seeking competitive intelligence.
However, there are risks and challenges to consider. Data security, legal considerations, and market competition are factors that can influence the success of your business. It's also essential to respect the terms of service of the websites you scrape and ensure that your data is used responsibly.
Selling scraped data requires that you understand the technology and market for web scraping, have a commitment to quality and legality, and are able to stay competitive. If navigated correctly, selling web scraped data can open up a world of data monetization potential.
To learn more about data monetization on Data Commerce Cloud, get in touch.