Lots of people use an Amazon data extractor to get the product information they need, but few know how to properly use it. If you don’t scrape the data the right way, you can get banned from Amazon. Take some time to learn how to do it properly so you can get all of the data you need and still get to use the site when you are done.
Choose the Right Amazon Data Extractor
It’s normal to do a quick Google search for a data scraper and pick the first one you see. After all, that site must have done something right to make it to the top of the search listings, right? You might as well give it a go and see how it works.
In reality, there are lots of ways to make it to the top of the search listings. Getting a top billing doesn’t necessarily mean someone is selling a top-rate product.
You need to check the software’s reputation before you invest in it. Take the time to read the product reviews, and do so with a bit of skepticism. Some scraping companies pay for reviews, so you need to make sure the reviews look legitimate. If they all say the same thing or if they sound unnatural, it is best to go with a different company. It might take some time to find a company that has authentic reviews, but it will be time well spent.
You also need to pay attention to the price. Some scraping software is really cheap, and some is really expensive. You might think that the best software costs top dollar and the worst software is cheap or free, but that isn’t necessarily the case. You will find good and bad options at both price points, so do your research.
Now, let’s say that you decide to go with an open-source code or a script. You need to give that code a close look so you know everything that it is doing. Some unscrupulous coders hide malicious code in the script. You don’t want to end up doing something that you don’t want to do, so give the code a onceover to make sure it is legitimate. If you don’t know how to check the code, ask a friend to help. You can probably even hire someone on Fiverr to give it a look for you.
Next, you need to be careful about viruses. Enable your virus protection before you download the scraper. If it contains a virus, your antivirus software should stop the download in its tracks. Then, you can find another program that doesn’t have a virus.
Of course, for this to work, your antivirus software needs to be up to date. Check for any updates before downloading the scraper.
Always Use Proxies
Amazon doesn’t like people to scrape its data, and it fights back through IP bans. In fact, Amazon is known to dole out one IP ban after another, and rumor has it that these bans are permanent. That means if your IP gets banned, you’ll never get to shop on Amazon again. Imagine what life without Amazon would be like. That’s not a pleasant thought. How would get the best products delivered to your house?
Fortunately, you can use a proxy that works with big websites to avoid a ban. Proxies switch out your IP addresses, making it much harder to detect you. Even if your proxy gets detected, you will still be okay, since the proxy will get banned instead of your personal IP address. That means you will still be able to access Amazon, even if your proxy is detected.
Choosing Your Proxies
It’s still a good idea to be smart when selecting proxies. Instead of just picking up a few proxies, get a bunch of them and configure your scraping tool to rotate them out quickly. The faster they rotate, the less likely you will stand out to Amazon.
When you pick out your proxies, make sure you go with private proxies instead of public ones. Public proxies aren’t only slow; they are also often banned right from the start. You are going to be very frustrated if you spend your time using public proxies. They might be free, but they don’t work as well as dedicated proxies do.
Finally, choose proxies that originate in the United States. That way, they can communicate with Amazon’s datacenter quickly. If your proxies originate in another country, they will have to do a lot of bouncing around before they make it to Amazon’s servers. That means you will spend a lot of time waiting for your data.
Spend Time Configuring Your Scraping Tool
Your Amazon data extractor can be your best friend or your worst enemy, depending on how you configure it. If you’re going to get the most out of it, you are going to have to spend some time configuring the settings.
It’s important to understand that Amazon is one of the best in the business when it comes to detecting bots, even when those bots use proxies. You have to outsmart Amazon’s algorithms if you’re going to scrape the data.
How do you outsmart it? It all comes down to making your bot act like a human.
Limit the Requests
First, think about how you interact with Amazon. When you browse Amazon, you don’t make a ton of requests at once. You spend time on each page, looking through the information. You don’t fire off one request after the next because your brain can’t take in tons and tons of information in a millisecond.
That means you need to slow your bot down. If your scraper makes too many requests at once, it will be an easy mark for Amazon. First and foremost, Amazon will know you are using a bot. Second, and even more importantly, Amazon might accuse you of performing a DDoS attack. It will shut you down if it thinks you are trying to hurt the site.
Finally, you need to think about your own system. If you try to make a ton of requests at once, your system might have trouble keeping up. You could experience significant lags, which will be frustrating. Avoid these issues by limiting the number of requests you make at once.
Vary Your Actions
You also need to vary things up, just as you would if you were surfing the web. Keep things unpredictable so it will look like a human is on the site. If you complete the exact same actions over and over again, Amazon will begin to wonder what is going on. Keep the site guessing, and you will be able to get all of the data you want and need.
Be Careful How You Use the Data
While lots of people use data scrapers for good reasons, some people push the limits and end up getting in trouble. In order to understand this, you just need to look at Padmapper and 3Taps. These two companies got in some hot water due to data scraping, and you can learn a lot from them.
3Taps scraped Craigslist for all of its real estate listings and then sold the data to other companies, one of which was Padmapper. Padmapper took the data and put it on Google Maps. It was basically the company’s business model, and Craigslist didn’t like it a bit. In a sense, Padmapper and 3Taps created their entire business models around stealing data from Craigslist. They were piggybacking off the success of Craigslist, and it caused a lot of friction between the companies.
Craigslist got so mad that it sued Padmapper and 3Taps. It turned into a three-year legal battle, and in the end, the companies agreed that they would no longer use data from Craigslist. That’s not the worst of it, though. 3Taps also agreed that it would pay Craigslist $1 million. This lawsuit and judgment created some pretty big waves in digital communities, and now, people think twice about what they do with data.
Learn from Their Mistakes
You don’t want that to happen to you, so you should never use the data you scrape as part of your business model. You can scrape data to get price points or to see what descriptions that companies are using, but don’t use that data as the foundation of your business model.
This includes copying the descriptions. As tempting as it might be to scrape the product descriptions and use them for your site, they should only be a guide. Do not copy them or you will likely get caught.
Also, don’t follow the lead of 3Taps and sell the data. It could end up costing you a bundle.
You should stay pretty safe if you follow three basic rules.
First and foremost, don’t harvest non-public data. If it is data that you can access with an account, you should be safe in this regard. However, if the data isn’t available to the general public, you should leave it alone. This all comes down to privacy. You don’t want to harvest data that is locked away, as that is a violation of the owner’s privacy. You do not want to get in that type of battle.
Second, never sell what you harvest. You don’t want to directly profit off the data that you harvest. Sure, you can use it to conduct research so you can make more money, but that extra money shouldn’t come from selling the data. The data could end up in the wrong hands, and you could be on the wrong end of a lawsuit. Just use it for your own personal research and nothing else.
Finally, never build a business model around scraped data. That is essentially stealing, and you can get in a lot of trouble. If your business isn’t built around the data that you scrape, websites shouldn’t even realize that you scraped the data. However, if your site ends up looking a little too much like Amazon, you are going to be in trouble. The website might come after you, and there is no telling what will happen.
This basically all comes down to being smart with the data that you scrape via Amazon scraping. Your Amazon data extractor is a tool that will help you get the data, but you need to be smart about what you do with it. Otherwise, you could end up in trouble.
Now You’re Ready to Get Data!
There are lots of good reasons to scrape data from major websites. Follow these tips so you can get your data without any problems. Then, use the data to conduct important research so you can build your business. With the right amount of research, there is no telling what you can do with your business. You can make more money, expand, and even enter new markets.
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