Web scraping is ubiquitous in today’s e-commerce-driven world, from established powerhouses like Amazon that create their own system to smaller businesses that need to locate the proper scraping solution for their requirements. Of course, there are problems and solutions for e-commerce web scraping, most of which I will talk about in this article.
As an e-commerce business owner, you know that without actionable data such as customer reviews and real-time pricing tracking, you will simply not be able to compete for long. Actionable data is quick and dependable, which necessitates a solid proxy pool and an effective method of keeping them organized. Even the best scrapers may find this exceedingly difficult.
Many factors might cause such a protective action, the most prevalent of which is an irregularity in the IP address. For example, if you request too many resources in a short period of time, the server will suspect that the user is not a genuine person. The server blacklists your IP address to prevent misuse. An IP address serves as your identifier while communicating with an online resource through the internet. It is like having a driver’s license that allows you to buy a beer. You can’t buy alcohol in a bar until you present your ID.
A scraper must behave like a person to avoid getting banned. Because a crawler’s activity is programmed, it follows a specific pattern. Human interactions with the internet, on the other hand, are unpredictable. We need to disrupt the patterns by performing some random activities.
- Slow down your crawling speed: It goes without saying that humans cannot browse at breakneck speeds, but a bot can and will.
- Switch User-Agent: A user agent identifies the browser with which the website is communicating. If we send consistent queries with the same user agent, we expose the robotic identity.
- Rotate IP address: Requests should be routed to multiple IP addresses to make it more difficult for servers to identify an anomaly. IP rotation is the most effective strategy for ensuring uninterrupted web scraping. Many IP Proxy services have the ability to alter your IP address, but few provide quality rotating residential proxies.
Download Large Amounts of Data
Scraping data from Amazon or any other retail website will result in large amounts of data being collected. The disadvantage of voluminous scraping is that it takes a long time to accomplish your duties. Also, numerous visits to a site might activate its anti-scraping mechanism, resulting in extended waiting, significant system workload, and IP bans. In this case, you might need to consider using a scraper API. This is a web service that enables automated data extraction from websites.
Scraper API, for example, can sift through all the obstacles and provide only what you need. There is no need to worry about blockages or captchas. They automatically rotate IP addresses from a pool of over 40 million proxies with every single request, even retrying unsuccessful requests.
Apify is another software platform that lets you fully explore the possibilities of web scraping for your business. Apify allows you to crawl certain websites, extract structured data, and export it straight in JSON, Excel, or CSV formats.
Bot Access and Captcha
One of the problems and solutions for e-commerce web scraping that I will discuss is how to ensure that the bot has access to a website and passes Captchas. Data gathering is made more difficult by anti-scraping technology. Amazon is a good example of a website that employs advanced anti-bot techniques to reduce scraping. Several companies block IP addresses if a large number of requests come from one IP address.
Others employ CAPTCHA, which readily distinguishes between a human user and a scraper. While scraping, you will also come across Honey-Pot pages. These are trap pages, on which a human visitor would not be interested, but a bot is since bots open every link on a page.
- Use residential proxies to prevent making a high number of queries from a single IP address. In addition, residential proxies are the most reliable proxy when it comes to mimicking a regular user.
- Use IP rotation and session management. The best residential proxy providers have an easy-to-use dashboard from which you can easily manage your sessions.
In the preceding section, we covered how websites use CAPTCHA and traps to avoid web scrapers. There may be many ways to interpret the statement, but perhaps one of the most relevant is that web data mining might be illegal.
As a whole, the industry believes that web data extraction aids in knowledge dissemination and does no harm to anyone. Of course, abusing the server and making an unreasonable number of requests is plainly unacceptable. This disables the server from responding to subsequent queries. Or, if you sell someone else’s data under your brand name, you are doing copyright infringement, which is quite unlawful.
So, how can you be certain that your data collecting activities or the data extraction services you engage in are all legal?
- Respect the website’s terms and conditions.
- Ask the website owner if it is acceptable to scrape it.
- Don’t overwhelm any servers.
- Be transparent and use headers to identify yourself.
- Don’t do anything that violates the copyright.
These are some of the most typical issues you will face when scraping data. They are, nevertheless, simple to counter owing to the solutions we suggested. However, keep in mind that your data scraping has limitations. You can’t obtain data from cloud storage, but you can get whatever you need from the public web.
Knowledge is power, no doubt about it. Hopefully, the problems and solutions for e-commerce web scraping that we went through in this article will empower you. There is no doubt that if you want to collect meaningful data competitively, your path will be fraught with difficulties. Use the solutions mentioned above and get your business on track.