Web Crawling: Why is Service a Better Option than Software?
Written by Pradeep on February 12, 2014
Data Discovery Holds the Future
An overwhelming proportion of data that businesses use for the purpose of developing business insights in decision making is derived from the internet, and the tendency to depend on data-informed insights is expected to become a more conspicuous mainstream practice with the expansion of Internet of Things.
The futuristic projections claim that within the end of this decade, billions of household appliances and digital devices would be interconnected via internet, giving a sharp raise to data management and analytics businesses and the demand for skilled data scientists and analysts.
Discovering the right data for the right purpose is something like finding a holy grail of business intelligence, and the task is likely to be more challenging in the future, considering the excessively large volume, variety, and velocity of data. This explains why data service centers, which are becoming a kind of in-house business partners for the entrepreneurs in managing and making sense of data, are considered to be among the most promising industries of the future.
Web Crawling for Data Mining and Web Indexing
Going back to the basics, when it comes to developing business insights and intelligence out of the dust cloud of data on the internet, most of the data mining and data extraction jobs begin with the process of web crawling. All the search engines—including Google, Yahoo, and Bing—and data management companies—including innovative startups and established big data companies like IBM, HP, and Teradata—use web crawling as a primary tool to collect data and metadata.
Web crawling is a process of web scanning in which crawler, bot, or spider go through the internet and produce an index of the web pages (URLs) for post-processing and download the web contents. In this process, they also locate and extract the texts and catalog the hyperlinks and tags.
Search engines use web crawling for indexing the websites so that users can find the pages promptly when they hit the key words, and it is also used for automated maintenance tasks on the web pages or to verify that intended corrections have been made and the errors have been removed.
Web Crawling Options and the Dilemma of Choice
Making a shift from the conventional mode of business to high-tech savvy mode is a difficult process. This usually leads the businesses to the dilemma regarding the choice that best suits them. This is not entirely unjustified considering the fact that opting for an inappropriate choice can also lead to the misguided business decision and the consequential financial harm.
There are a plethora of free and paid-for web crawling options available to the businesses, but certainly all are not of equal merit and usefulness. The crawling options can be bundled up into three categories:
- Buying a web crawling software product
- Getting online service from the independent data management companies
- Developing a data processing extension within the company
In the age of data-informed and data-driven business intelligence, it has become all the more important for the business to understand the differences in the options they have and then determine what option adds to their competitive advantage.
Of the three options above, when it comes to making a choice, most of the companies prefer to eliminate the third option firstly because it only adds to the financial burden of the businesses and secondly because in the age of technological sophistication, business can not possess all the skills and expertise they need. Instead, collaboration has become today’s business intuition for gearing up functionality and reducing the costs.
Talking about service vs. software is just like talking about skill vs. tool. Certainly, both of the options have their advantages, but the important fact to consider is no matter how good the tool might be, the first precondition to get the best results out of its use is having a good skill. Based on our experience of having worked in both lines, we can say that the advantages of web crawling service far exceed that of web crawling software. The reasons are:
- Zero Technical Hassle – Customers do not need to be data experts. They make a purchase of the service or service package and get the end results without any technical hassle of handling the data.
- Requirement-based and Customized Search – With the technical experts, who can easily reconfigure and optimize the crawlers to meet the customer needs, on the other side, customers get the kind of data exactly in the form and structure they need. Besides, with the customer needs into consideration, the data experts know where to scale up or down to get the content or context focused specific set of data for meeting the targeted goals and priorities.
- Greater Processing Efficiency – A data management center has the facilities to process a large volume of data in an efficient manner. Services with greater bandwidth allow multi-functional robots to work simultaneously. Regardless of the volume of data to be collected from numerous websites, web crawling service performs the tasks efficiently and get the results at the right time.
- Free of Bugs and Hidden Errors – It is not that all the web crawling software products come with bugs and hidden errors, but when they do, they can be of no little harm. Unregulated robots can cause severe problems and even alter the server logs. With service mode, however, the software that runs the service is experimented in various scenarios, and whenever a bug or error appears technical experts sit together to resolve the problem and to provide an error-free service to the customers.
- Regular Updates – One of the important aspects of purchasing a service package is the benefit of regular update. Service providers always strive to offer the improved and up-to-date services to their customers. Once the services are updated they become immediately available with service synchronization.
- Enhanced Security – Service centers take special precautions to maintain higher level of confidentiality of customer data. Moreover, the data is usually backed up so that it can be retrieved even when customers experience system failure and lose their data.
- Standby Technical Support – The best thing about service is the facility of technical support that comes attached with the purchase or subscription of the service. Customers do not have to be stuck in helplessness when they are unable to get the right data or when they encounter some kind of technical difficulty. There is always somebody in the service center ready to get the customers out of the trouble.
Web Crawling at Grepsr
Grepsr is a service-based data crawling company. It uses software as a service (SaaS) for providing the greater control to its customers to get the data services when, where, and how they want.
A powerful crawling software runs at the back of our system, and we have applied a wide range of scalable technologies to get the most reliable outcomes and to give the customers an experience of greater flexibility. The major seven advantages of web crawling service mentioned above are the strengths that highlight our service qualities.