What are the Different Tools I Can Use to Acquire Data from the Web?
Acquiring data from the web can be done in many forms: through a web scraper, RSS feeds, and through various web APIs.
Web scraping can be an effective way to copy and extract data from the web. Think of it as automating the process of a human browsing the web for data and pasting it into an Excel file on your computer. Web scraping services can distinguish between different syntactic and semantic components such as phone numbers, email addresses, contact information, etc. They can be extremely efficient when organizations only need them to extract information from a few websites.
RSS feeds are a practical solution to those who want to stay up-to-date on the latest trends in their industry, but have neither the time nor resources to continually track news from different social media sources and filter out relevant news. With RSS feeds, you can eliminate the noise and distraction of social media feeds while avoiding the filter bubble which only gives you news from people with views similar to your own – as well as a skewed view of reality.
Cost-Effective Web Data Consumption on Demand and at Scale
The challenge for most organizations who first choose to develop their own customized web scraper is that it can become difficult to scale. Being able to extract and structure data on demand and at scale is vital for organizations that need large masses of data for financial analysis, media and web monitoring, cyber security or additional AI or machine-learning analysis. Unfortunately, for these organizations who started first with a web scraper, scaling data can become expensive as an organization’s data needs increase.
Webhose’s web search API aggregates and unifies millions of unstructured HTML pages, into structured and easy to use format. Our crawlers download and structure millions of posts a day, storing and indexing the data so all you have to do is to define what part of the data you need. Your team can instead focus their resources on building their product or service rather than acquiring data.
Web data providers are an excellent choice for brand monitoring systems, reputation tracking platforms, financial algorithms and other big data solutions who rely on massive amounts of data to analyze and extract insights. This is the reason many reputable enterprise organizations such as Salesforce Radian6, Meltwater, Sysomos, Engagor, Kantar Media rely on Webhose to aggregate data for them – at a fraction of the cost of running the operation themselves.
Extracting and Structuring Data from Both the Open and Dark Web
You can also acquire data from both the open and darknets – you just need different tools for each. Aggregating data from the open web requires powerful crawlers that can download and structure millions of posts a day, storing and indexing the data. All you need to do is decide what data it is that you need.
But acquiring data from the deep and dark web is a different story. You’ll need an anonymized network and infrastructure so that you can safely monitor relevant activity for your organization while at the same time protecting your identity. Webhose’s darknet data feeds connect easily to your existing codebase or analytics systems with just a few lines of code. Once you do this, you’ll receive advanced crawling and data enrichment to discover and extract hidden content from all over the dark web.
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