5 Major Challenges That Make Amazon Data Scraping Painful
Amazon has been on the cutting edge of collecting, storing, and analyzing a large amount of data. Be it customer data, product information, data about retailers, or even information on the general market trends. Since Amazon is one of the largest e-commerce websites, a lot of analysts and firms depend on the data extracted from here to derive actionable growing e-commerce industry demands sophisticated analytical techniques to predict market trends, study customer temperament, or even get a competitive edge over the myriad of players in this sector. To augment the strength of these analytical techniques, you need high-quality reliable data. This data is called alternative data and can be derived from multiple sources. Some of the most prominent sources of alternative data in the e-commerce industry are customer reviews, product information, and even geographical data. E-commerce websites are a great source for a lot of these data elements. It is no news that Amazon has been at the forefront of the e-commerce industry, for quite some time now. Retailers fight tooth and nail to scrape data from Amazon. However, Amazon data scraping is not easy! Let us go through a few issues you may face while scraping data from is Amazon Data Scraping Challenging? Before you start Amazon data scraping, you should know that the website discourages scraping in its policy and page-structure. Due to its vested interest in protecting its data, Amazon has basic anti-scraping measures put in place. This might stop your scraper from extracting all the information you need. Besides that, the structure of the page might or might not differ for various products. This might fail your scraper code and logic. The worst part is, you might not even foresee this issue springing up and might even run into some network errors and unknown responses. Furthermore, captcha issues and IP (Internet Protocol) blocks might be a regular roadblock. You will feel the need to have a database and the lack of one might be a huge issue! You will also need to take care of exceptions while writing the algorithm for your scraper. This will come in handy if you are trying to circumvent issues due to complex page structures, unconventional (non-ASCII) characters, and other issues like funny URLs and huge memory requirements. Let us talk about a few of these issues in detail. We shall also cover how to solve them. Hopefully, this will help you scrape data from Amazon successfully. 1. Amazon can detect Bots and block their IPsSince Amazon prevents web scraping on its pages, it can easily detect if an action is being executed by a scraper bot or through a browser by a manual agent. A lot of these trends are identified by closely monitoring the behavior of the browsing agent. For example, if your URLs are repeatedly changed by only a query parameter at a regular interval, this is a clear indication of a scraper running through the page. It thus uses captchas and IP bans to block such bots. While this step is necessary to protect the privacy and integrity of the information, one might still need to extract some data from the Amazon web page. To do so, we have some workarounds for the same. Let us look at some of these:Rotate the IPs through different proxy servers if you need to. You can also deploy a consumer-grade VPN service with IP rotation random time-gaps and pauses in your scraper code to break the regularity of page the query parameters from the URLs to remove identifiers linking requests the scraper headers to make it look like the requests are coming from a browser and not a piece of code. 2. A lot of product pages on Amazon have varying page structuresIf you have ever attempted to scrape product descriptions and scrape data from Amazon, you might have run into a lot of unknown response errors and exceptions. This is because most of your scrapers are designed and customized for a particular structure of a page. It is used to follow a particular page structure, extract the HTML information of the same, and then collect the relevant data. However, if this structure of the page changes, the scraper might fail if it is not designed to handle exceptions. A lot of products on Amazon have different pages and the attributes of these pages differ from a standard template. This is often done to cater to different types of products that may have different key attributes and features that need to be highlighted. To address these inconsistencies, write the code so as to handle exceptions. Furthermore, your code should be resilient. You can do this by including ‘try-catch’ phrases that ensure that the code does not fail at the first occurrence of a network error or a time-out error. Since you will be scraping some particular attributes of a product, you can design the code so that the scraper can look for that particular attribute using tools like ‘string matching’. You can do so after extracting the complete HTML structure of the target page. Also Read: Competitive Pricing Analysis: Hitting the Bullseye in Profit Generation3. Your scraper might not be efficient enough! Ever got a scraper that has been running for hours to get you some hundred thousands of rows? This might be because you haven’t taken care of the efficiency and speed of the algorithm. You can do some basic math while designing the algorithm. Let us see what you can do to solve this problem! You will always have the number of products or sellers you need to extract information about. Using this data, you can roughly calculate the number of requests you need to send every second to complete your data scraping exercise. Once you compute this, your aim is to design your scraper to meet this condition! It is highly likely that single-threaded, network blocking operations will fail if you want to speed things up! Probably, you would want to create multi-threaded scrapers! This allows your CPU to work in a parallel fashion! It will be working on one response or another, even when each request is taking several seconds to complete. This might be able to give you almost 100x the speed of your original single-threaded scraper! you will need an efficient scraper to crawl through Amazon as there is a lot of information on the site! 4. You might need a cloud platform and other computational aids! A very high-performance machine will be able to speed the process up for you! You can thus avoid burning the resources of your local system! To be able to scrape a website like Amazon, you might need high capacity memory resources! You will also need network pipes and cores with high efficiency! A cloud-based platform should be able to provide these resources to you! You do not want to run into memory issues! If you store big lists or dictionaries in memory, you might put an extra burden on your machine-resources! We advise you to transfer your data to permanent storage places as soon as possible. This will also help you speed the process is an array of cloud services that you can use for reasonable prices. You can avail one of these services using simple steps. It will also help you avoid unnecessary system crashes and delays in the process. 5. Use a database for recording informationIf you scrape data from Amazon or any other retail website, you will be collecting high volumes of data. Since the process of scraping consumes power and time, we advise you to keep storing this data in a database. Store each product or sellers’ record that you crawl as a row in a database table. You can also use databases to perform operations like basic querying, exporting, and deduping on your data. This makes the process of storing, analyzing, and reusing your data convenient and faster! Also Read: How Scraping Amazon Data can help you price your products rightSummaryA lot of businesses and analysts, especially in the retail and e-commerce sector need Amazon data scraping. They use this data to make prices comparison, studying market trends across demographics, forecasting product sales, reviewing customer sentiment, or even estimating competition rates. This can be a repetitive exercise. If you create your own scraper, it can be a time-consuming, challenging ever, Datahut can scrape e-commerce product information for you from a wide range of web sources and provide this data in readable file formats like ‘CSV’ or other database locations as per client needs. You can then use this data for all your subsequent analyses. This will help you save resources and time. We advise you to conduct thorough research on the various data scraping services in the market. You may then avail the service that suits your requirements the wnload Amazon Data sampleWish to know more about how Datahut can help in your e-commerce data scraping needs? Contact us today. #datascraping #amazon #amazonscraping #ecommerce #issuewithscraping #retail
Web Scraping 101: 10 Myths that Everyone Should Know
1. Web Scraping is illegal
Many people have false impressions about web scraping. It is because there are people don’t respect the great work on the internet and use it by stealing the content. Web scraping isn’t illegal by itself, yet the problem comes when people use it without the site owner’s permission and disregard of the ToS (Terms of Service). According to the report, 2% of online revenues can be lost due to the misuse of content through web scraping. Even though web scraping doesn’t have a clear law and terms to address its application, it’s encompassed with legal regulations. For example:
Violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA)
Violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)
Trespass to Chattel
Copy right infringement
Breach of contract
Photo by Amel Majanovic on Unsplash
2. Web scraping and web crawling are the same
Web scraping involves specific data extraction on a targeted webpage, for instance, extract data about sales leads, real estate listing and product pricing. In contrast, web crawling is what search engines do. It scans and indexes the whole website along with its internal links. “Crawler” navigates through the web pages without a specific goal.
3. You can scrape any website
It is often the case that people ask for scraping things like email addresses, Facebook posts, or LinkedIn information. According to an article titled “Is web crawling legal? ” it is important to note the rules before conduct web scraping:
Private data that requires username and passcodes can not be scrapped.
Compliance with the ToS (Terms of Service) which explicitly prohibits the action of web scraping.
Don’t copy data that is copyrighted.
One person can be prosecuted under several laws. For example, one scraped some confidential information and sold it to a third party disregarding the desist letter sent by the site owner. This person can be prosecuted under the law of Trespass to Chattel, Violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), Violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) and Misappropriation.
It doesn’t mean that you can’t scrape social media channels like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. They are friendly to scraping services that follow the provisions of the file. For Facebook, you need to get its written permission before conducting the behavior of automated data collection.
4. You need to know how to code
A web scraping tool (data extraction tool) is very useful regarding non-tech professionals like marketers, statisticians, financial consultant, bitcoin investors, researchers, journalists, etc. Octoparse launched a one of a kind feature – web scraping templates that are preformatted scrapers that cover over 14 categories on over 30 websites including Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, eBay, Instagram and more. All you have to do is to enter the keywords/URLs at the parameter without any complex task configuration. Web scraping with Python is time-consuming. On the other side, a web scraping template is efficient and convenient to capture the data you need.
5. You can use scraped data for anything
It is perfectly legal if you scrape data from websites for public consumption and use it for analysis. However, it is not legal if you scrape confidential information for profit. For example, scraping private contact information without permission, and sell them to a 3rd party for profit is illegal. Besides, repackaging scraped content as your own without citing the source is not ethical as well. You should follow the idea of no spamming, no plagiarism, or any fraudulent use of data is prohibited according to the law.
Check Below Video: 10 Myths About Web Scraping!
6. A web scraper is versatile
Maybe you’ve experienced particular websites that change their layouts or structure once in a while. Don’t get frustrated when you come across such websites that your scraper fails to read for the second time. There are many reasons. It isn’t necessarily triggered by identifying you as a suspicious bot. It also may be caused by different geo-locations or machine access. In these cases, it is normal for a web scraper to fail to parse the website before we set the adjustment.
Read this article: How to Scrape Websites Without Being Blocked in 5 Mins?
7. You can scrape at a fast speed
You may have seen scraper ads saying how speedy their crawlers are. It does sound good as they tell you they can collect data in seconds. However, you are the lawbreaker who will be prosecuted if damages are caused. It is because a scalable data request at a fast speed will overload a web server which might lead to a server crash. In this case, the person is responsible for the damage under the law of “trespass to chattels” law (Dryer and Stockton 2013). If you are not sure whether the website is scrapable or not, please ask the web scraping service provider. Octoparse is a responsible web scraping service provider who places clients’ satisfaction in the first place. It is crucial for Octoparse to help our clients get the problem solved and to be successful.
8. API and Web scraping are the same
API is like a channel to send your data request to a web server and get desired data. API will return the data in JSON format over the HTTP protocol. For example, Facebook API, Twitter API, and Instagram API. However, it doesn’t mean you can get any data you ask for. Web scraping can visualize the process as it allows you to interact with the websites. Octoparse has web scraping templates. It is even more convenient for non-tech professionals to extract data by filling out the parameters with keywords/URLs.
9. The scraped data only works for our business after being cleaned and analyzed
Many data integration platforms can help visualize and analyze the data. In comparison, it looks like data scraping doesn’t have a direct impact on business decision making. Web scraping indeed extracts raw data of the webpage that needs to be processed to gain insights like sentiment analysis. However, some raw data can be extremely valuable in the hands of gold miners.
With Octoparse Google Search web scraping template to search for an organic search result, you can extract information including the titles and meta descriptions about your competitors to determine your SEO strategies; For retail industries, web scraping can be used to monitor product pricing and distributions. For example, Amazon may crawl Flipkart and Walmart under the “Electronic” catalog to assess the performance of electronic items.
10. Web scraping can only be used in business
Web scraping is widely used in various fields besides lead generation, price monitoring, price tracking, market analysis for business. Students can also leverage a Google scholar web scraping template to conduct paper research. Realtors are able to conduct housing research and predict the housing market. You will be able to find Youtube influencers or Twitter evangelists to promote your brand or your own news aggregation that covers the only topics you want by scraping news media and RSS feeds.
Dryer, A. J., and Stockton, J. 2013. “Internet ‘Data Scraping’: A Primer for Counseling Clients, ” New York Law Journal. Retrieved from
Best 5 Web Scraping APIs For Harvesting Amazon Data
Frequently Asked Questions about is web scraping amazon legal
Is web scraping allowed in Amazon?
Since Amazon prevents web scraping on its pages, it can easily detect if an action is being executed by a scraper bot or through a browser by a manual agent. … It thus uses captchas and IP bans to block such bots.Oct 27, 2020
Can you get in trouble for web scraping?
Web Scraping is illegal Web scraping isn’t illegal by itself, yet the problem comes when people use it without the site owner’s permission and disregard of the ToS (Terms of Service). According to the report, 2% of online revenues can be lost due to the misuse of content through web scraping.Aug 16, 2021
What is web scraping Amazon?
Top 5 Best Scraping Tools For Amazon. Web scraping is the process of fetching a web page and extracting the data found on it. Once you have the information, you’ll typically want to parse, analyze, reformat or copy it into a spreadsheet.