Introduction

People out there are looking for jobs in the Data Science field but do we really need jobs if we have the right skillset? Let's find out.

Before we go forward, it's important to understand what 'Web Scraping' means.

In simple terms, Web Scraping is the process of collecting structured web data in an automated fashion. It’s also called web data extraction.

Scraping the web can be a good source of income if you put in the time and effort. Making money off of web scraping is very possible and not as difficult as it seems. In this article, we will talk about how to scrape the web and create datasets that can be used by businesses for marketing or their personal use.

What is Scrapy and why do we need it?

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Sometimes Kaggle is not enough, and you need to generate your data set.
Maybe you want to scrape the images of your favourite singer or the Data Science interview questions on Quora. Whatever your reasons, scraping the web can give you very interesting data, and help you compile datasets.

Scrapy was designed originally for web scraping. However, it can also collect data through APIs, or be used as a general web crawler. It’s the scrapers' best friend today, you just need to understand the basics of python programming or need to learn from a professional to use it well.

Who needs your services?

In a world where everyone wants to make money, Web Scraping has become a very unique and new way to make money on the side. Where if you apply it to the right situations it can make you a ton of money, and it is easier to do than most people think.

Scraped data gets used in all sorts of useful ways. Some of them are:

  • Build and sell a list of leads:
    Every sale starts with a lead. As a result, all kinds of businesses around the world will spend thousands of dollars on high-quality lead lists. There’s a slew of startups out there that are trying to automate lead generation and outbound sales. Data helps them track down the right people in the right companies while providing context and sometimes contact details to boot, following scraping practices for building high-quality lead lists helping you give good returns.
  • Data to compete in markets:
    A slew of companies uses data to track product information. Think of price comparison apps for consumers, spotting price changes by their competitors so they can adjust prices faster, monitoring that their resellers are not offering their product for a lower price than agreed, and also applying sentiment analysis across end-user forums.
  • Hiring process:
    HR departments and companies are more interested in profiles or the candidates they should be headhunting, to begin with. There’s a lot of information that can be collected across the web and help them decide which candidate will be a good fit for the position they’ve offered.
  • Scrape data to build an app:
    Why not try your hand at app development?
    I know, this sounds quite intimidating. But with web scraping, you can scrape the data you need to build a simple app without the need for any coding skills.
    For example, let’s say you’d want to create a simple investment app that sends you an email when a stock hits a specific price. This you can do using the Yahoo finance data.
  • Uncover market opportunities:
    You can use web scraping to identify market opportunities and gaps in product offerings. For example, let’s assume you’ve scraped data on all mobile phones being sold on Amazon/Flipkart. From your research, you have noticed that there’s a certain price range for which all products get low review scores. For example, mobiles priced within the 7000 to 10000 price range all average about 3 stars in review scores. They also get tons of reviews, meaning that people are buying them but are not pleased with them. This means there is a gap in the market for mid-range mobiles that can meet the customers’ expectations.
  • Resolve lawsuits:
    Legal departments and companies use data to gather documents for discovery or due diligence purposes. This data helps them trendsetting with legal developments in and around the industry or mining laws and jurisprudence that may be related to their legal cases.
  • Government using it:
    An obvious agency using data is governments. National statistics offices, for instance, are seeking to automate computing consumer price indexes. And law enforcement agencies are scraping the dark web to locate and watch criminals. To great effect, we dare add: not a month goes by without busting a human trafficking ring in India, and Scrapy helps government do that.
  • Take up paid web scraping gigs:
    Why not work for a web scrapper firm. Many companies often decide to outsource their web scraping jobs and can offer some pretty decent payouts for more complex jobs. Also, you can scrape LinkedIn to find your Job.

Pro-Players in the Market

We will talk about a few companies that are pros at web scrapping.

The following companies offer support contracts and consultancy services for Scrapy, and can also develop bespoke crawlers to meet your need.

  • Zyte (formerly Scrapinghub) is currently the largest company sponsoring Scrapy development. It specializes in web crawling, it was founded by Scrapy creators and employs crawling experts including many Scrapy core developers.
  • Arbisoft scours massive websites several layers deep to collect valuable data powering leading firms around the world. It offers real-time crawling and custom-built fully-managed spiders. Over 6 years of quality service, their Python engineers have come to trust Scrapy as their tool of choice.
  • Datahut provides Scrapy consulting services across different business verticals like e-commerce, content discovery, lead generation, opinion mining, etc. They provide clean ready to use data in the most common formats.
  • SayOne uses Scrapy to power its web crawling and visualization services. They have a strong team of crawling experts who specialize in crawling, information extraction, and application integration. They also offer web & mobile app development.
  • Lambert Labs specializes in using Scrapy to aggregate structured and unstructured text, images, and videos from across the web. It combines Scrapy with Selenium to crawl JavaScript-rendered websites in real-time. Lambert Labs also offers web development, automated testing, data science, and DevOps.
  • Tryolabs is a Boutique dev Shop specialized in building Python apps with Machine Learning components. They embed Scrapy into their customers’ applications as well as into their products.
  • Intoli uses Scrapy to provide customized web scraping solutions, delivering data that is used by clients to power their core products, for lead generation, and competitor research. They specialize in advanced services such as cross-site data aggregation, user logins, and bypassing captchas.

Domain Centric Service Providers

There are millions of datasets online that are free and accessible to everyone. This data is often easily gathered and thereby offered to anyone who wants to use them. On the other hand, some data is not as easy to get and takes either time or a lot of work to put in a nice clean dataset. This has become the evolution of selling data.

Some companies focus on getting data that may be hard to obtain and structuring that data into a nice clean spreadsheet or dashboard that others can use at a certain cost. Following are a few which are using Scrapy for that purpose:

  1. Parsely: Uses Scrapy to scrape articles from hundreds of news sites
  2. DirectEmployers Foundation: Uses Scrapy to scrape job postings from many websites, which are published on the My.jobs site.
  3. Oposicionesaldia: Uses Scrapy to collect data from jobs postings, scholarships, and online free courses in Spain.
  4. Flax: It is a search consulting company based in Cambridge (UK) that uses Scrapy to power the crawling needs of its solutions.
  5. Médialab Sciences Po: Medialab is using Scrapy to develop a web mining tool for Social Sciences researchers.
  6. Lyst: Uses Scrapy to crawl and scrape the fashion websites they index.
  7. ScraperWiki: It is a data services company based in Liverpool providing bespoke solutions for data scraping and aggregation using Scrapy as a core technology.
  8. Data.Gov.Uk: UK government data aggregation site (tweet).
    Iberestudios: Uses Scrapy to collect data from master's degrees, doctorates, and postgraduate degrees in Spain.
  9. Dealshelve: Uses Scrapy to scrape daily deals from many sites.
  10. CareerBuilder: Uses Scrapy to scrape job offers from many sites.
  11. GrabLab: Is a Russian company that specializes in web scraping, data collection, and web automation tasks.
  12. Simple Spot: It uses Scrapy to build its geolocalized information service.
  13. Monetate: Uses Scrapy daily to collect catalogue information from their clients.
    the urge: is a Fashion Search Engine focussed on using Artificial Intelligence to help shoppers find the fashion they’re looking for. They use Scrapy at scale to crawl retailers’ websites for Fashion products.
  14. Alistek: Uses Scrapy for updating partner-related information in their OpenERP-based back-office system, by scraping various data sources, both on the web and off-line.
  15. Zhitongba: Is a company trying to help people better commute within big cities in China. They use Scrapy to scrape ride-sharing information from multiple sources.

Some of the other companies are Offertazo, Lionseek, Stilivo, Mapado, Zopper, WP Rocket, Competera, Jobijoba, Data Quarry, Allclasses, MonkeyLearn, Neu.land GmbH, Cocon.Se, PolitePol.

Closing Thoughts

In this article, we discussed how can we use Scrapy to make money and also listed the companies that use Scrapy as their business model and provide data-related services.

We have tried to cover some of the very basics of scraping data from websites so that you can get a start in this lucrative online business opportunity.

Hope now you have a clearer vision of what web scraping is and how to use it to your benefit.

Stay tuned for more. See you next time!