A guide to profitable web scraping for online businesses in 2023

SEPTEMBER 13, 2023 WEB-SCRAPING EXPERT OPINION
A guide to profitable web scraping for online businesses in 2023
According to available statistics, people create 328,77 million TB of data every day. What’s more, 90% of information in the world has appeared in the last 2 years alone. Accordingly, web scraping is growing in popularity, as this tool helps with searching for and studying data. What is web scraping and how can you earn with it? Let’s find out.

Web scraping is automatic or manual online data collection to find cheaper goods, analyze your competitors, or track a brand’s reputation. In the end you get a dataset that you can use in your own work or sell.
What is Web Scraping

What should I know about web scraping?

The term “web scraping” is often used interchangeably with “data parsing.” Both terms imply data analysis; however, parsing does not include scanning of services.

The whole process looks like this: you select online resources that interest you, create or buy a bot, extract data, structurize the extracted information, and end up with an intuitive and convenient spreadsheet to work with.

However, services usually don’t take kindly to being used for data farming, so they protect themselves using various scripts. For example, they might hide the email address that users send their requests to when using a feedback form to protect clients’ and employees’ data, trade secrets, and intellectual property.

Yet you do not have to violate websites’ policies in order to scan them: you just need to be careful about which data to collect and how to use it. We advise against extracting personal data or password-protected information. Use generalized information and do not claim that it is your own content, and the owners of the projects you’ve scanned should not have any issues with your actions.

You also need to consider the frequency and timing of your requests. A small website might not handle a large number of requests properly and consequently go down. Send your requests more sparingly and run your scripts at night when online projects are less busy.

How can I earn with web scraping?

How can I earn with web scraping
You can monetize web scraping in different ways. Let’s look at the most popular ones:

Competitive intelligence
This is how companies can study the competitiveness of their goods and services. Businesses collect data regarding prices of similar products from their competitors, compare them and set the most favorable price for buyers, thus increasing their own income.
Developing bots
You can write scripts to speed up information search. Scrapers collect offers from various pages, sort them using the necessary criteria, and select the best. This is a great way to look for holiday accommodations, transportations subcontractors, or construction and development offers. You can also sell software that aggregates content from different sources. It can be used to track your brand’s mentions or search for news that will look great on your blog.
Resale of goods
You can use web scraping to find discounted goods and resell them below their market value. A script scans online shops, finds discounted articles, compares the new price to the old one, and calculates the discount percentage. You then buy the product claiming the best available offer, and set your own price as the average between the original and discounted ones, reselling the product once the original discount offer expires.
Selling data
Companies need data to train their neural networks; bookmakers need data to calculate their rates. Scrapers collect and clean data, adding structure to it. Bookmakers buy information about individual players or teams to save time on analyzing fragmented information.
Selling ads
Lisbdnet.com is one example of this monetization method. The project creator collected and organized popular Google queries using hundreds of thousands of headings, and added relevant YouTube videos to the answers. This web service used millions of keywords for ranking and rose to the top of search results, as it was accessed 6 million times a month. Before the project was blocked, its author earned money by selling ads. You can build upon this idea, using AI-generated content instead. This will need more time, but your resource won’t get banned and you won’t lose an income source.

How can I earn with web scraping?

Scapers scan hundreds or even thousands of pages a day. You can automate this process using the following:
  • Octoparse, DataOx, ScrapingBot software. These are pre-configured and ready to work out of the box, so they are a great fit even for those who don’t know much about coding. The only disadvantage is that it’s paid-for software, and trial versions come with limited functionality.
  • Beautiful Soup, Requests, lxml, Cheerio, Puppeteer libraries. They help you automate one or several scraping steps; however, by themselves they are not sufficient to set up the entire scraping process.
  • Scrapy, Selenium, Apify SDK frameworks. They contain tools for extracting, analyzing, and storing data in the necessary format.
  • Javascript, Python, Go, or PHP bots. They scan pages, and extract and systematize content. You can find ready-made scripts or write them yourself.

Besides these tools, you will need proxies for web scraping. First of all, a scraper refreshes services multiple times while doing its job, and antifraud systems might treat its actions as a DDoS attack and block it. Do not send too many requests from the same IP address; it’s better to use several dynamic proxies and configure your request frequency in such a way that they do not look suspicious. This will prevent you from being identified and blocked.

Secondly, resources employ defensive software that complicates web scraping. For example, an application might scan a service and receive data in Russian instead of English. By activating a proxy with the necessary geolocation you can bypass this restriction.
Some websites also keep track of digital fingerprints, i.e. device data that is employed for user identification. A multi-accounting antidetect browser is great at bypassing this defensive measure. Octo Browser:
  • uses digital fingerprints of real devices that do not raise suspicions from defensive systems;
  • supports API for web scraping automation;
  • quickly and easily adds and saves all popular proxy types;
  • allows you to work with virtual profiles directly without having to launch the browser client app itself.

Octo Browser preserves the anonymity of web scrapers, reduces the costs of using physical servers, manual authorization and solving captchas, and also helps with getting access to online resources that require authentication. You can learn more about how a multi-accounting browser makes web scraping easier here.

Conclusions

Web scraping is a legal way to collect data online. It involves scanning web pages manually or using bots, cleaning up the collected data, and using it for business purposes or selling it. The most important thing to remember is to always respect resources that you scan and information that you collect. Using proxies with a multi-accounting browser will protect your scrapers from getting banned. Now, it’s time to get creative, come up with your own scraping use case, and earn some money.

Like the article? Share it with your friends!

Related articles
Join Octo Browser now
Or contact the support team in chat for any questions, at any time.