Amazon is one of the top retailers online. Actually, it’s one of the top retailers in general, so you know the site has a lot of great data. Due to its popularity, there are tons of reasons to scrape it. Scraping Amazon allows people to get pricing data to help them determine their own prices. It also helps people aggregate review scores or conduct important competitive research.
Scraping Amazon might be popular, but that does not mean it is easy. Amazon does everything it can to prevent people from scraping its site. If it catches you scraping it, it blocks your IP address so you can’t get back onto the site.
Don’t worry, though. There are some strategies you can use to scrape Amazon effectivity without getting detected. Use all of these tips so you’ll be successful when scraping the site.
Use Rotating Proxies
Amazon does a great job of detecting bots. It checks for IP addresses, and if it notices the same IP address making a large number of requests, it will shut it down.
You don’t want that to happen to your personal IP address. Imagine what your life would be like if you were banned from Amazon. You would never be able to order toothpaste in bulk at a reasonable price again.
That’s why you need to use a proxy. Proxies mask your identity and provide Amazon with a different IP address that isn’t associated with you. That way, if you do get banned, it won’t be your own IP address that gets banned, so you can still get that toothpaste.
Of course, you don’t want to get banned, which is why you need to take the additional step of using rotating proxies. That way, your IP address will keep switching out, making it even harder to detect bot activity.
You have a couple of options for this. You can have the company rotate the proxies for you, or you can buy proxies in bulk and have the scraping tool you use rotate them out. Either way will work just fine as long as you rotate them out on a regular basis. Consider switching the proxies up every 20 minutes or so for the best results.
Select the Right Scraping Software
You aren’t going to go in and manually scrape Amazon for data. Instead, you will invest in some software to do it for you. There are so many options out there that it’s impossible to go over them all. In fact, you might be a little overwhelmed when deciding which scraping software to get.
You can go with a well-known scraper, such as WebHarvey, or you can go a different route and try something new. Whatever method you choose, it’s important to read the reviews before you use the software. You will quickly find that a lot of the software out there makes claims but fails to deliver. Doing some research will save you a ton of time and a lot of frustration.
Now, what if you go with an open source code? If that’s the case, you need to give the code a once-over before you begin using it. If you don’t know how to do that, you can hire someone to do it for you. You can find someone on Upwork or Fiverr to take on the job. If the person knows how to read code, it won’t take him or her long to determine if the code is legitimate and does what it says it is going to do. Then, you will be ready to start scraping for data.
Limit Your Queries
Scraping Amazon isn’t a matter of simply choosing a piece of software and putting it to work. You must configure the software to get the best results. That includes determining how many queries per second the software can make.
There are two reasons you need to do this. First, if you fail to limit the number of queries per second, Amazon will realize you’re using a bot. This is true, even if you use proxies. As you know, Amazon shuts down IP addresses if it realizes you’re using a bot, and you don’t want that to happen.
Second, Amazon might think you’re conducting a DDoS attack if you make too many requests at once. That means Amazon will prevent you from making any additional requests.
You can avoid both problems by limiting the number of queries you make. You can have the software make more queries per second than you would be able to make yourself, but don’t let it go crazy, as that will cause you some problems. There isn’t a hard and fast rule to the number of queries you can make per second. In fact, you might have to play around with it a bit to find the sweet spot when scraping Amazon.
Don’t Take More Than You Need
Data hoarding is pretty normal in the age of scraping. People grab as much data as they can, even if they don’t need it. That means they take images, prices, product descriptions, seller information, reviews, and everything else from Amazon, even if they only need pricing data.
They take it in case they need it later. Here’s the thing, though. Data doesn’t age well. Don’t take data just because you think you might need it down the road. That data will be old and irrelevant when you finally do need it. That means you’ll waste your time getting data that you can’t even use. Just take what you need, and keep your tools on hand in case you need to go back and get more later. That way, the data will be fresh and ready to use when you need it, and you won’t have to spend as much time scraping Amazon. You also won’t waste hard drive space storing data you can’t even use.
Cache the Pages You Visit
Scraping a big website like Amazon takes a lot of work, even if you have a bunch of tools in place. You need a lot of resources to grab the data you need, and that can put a lot of pressure on your system. Because of that, you don’t want to reload pages you’ve already visited.
That means you need to cache the pages you’ve visited. Then, your system won’t have to reload the pages if you need to go back to them. That’ll make it easier for you to get the data you need, and it will also allow you to fly under the radar. You won’t have to connect to Amazon’s servers to access cached pages, so you won’t have to worry about an IP ban.
Divide Your Tasks Up into Stages
Amazon is huge. It has more data than most sites have, and it would be a mistake to try to get it all at once. One of the best Amazon scraping tips you can follow is to divide your tasks into different stages. For instance, you could gather all of the links you need in stage one. Then, you could download and scrape the data in stage two.
By dividing it into stages, you are less likely to overwhelm your system. You’re also less likely to stand out to Amazon for all the wrong reasons. Plus, it will be much easier for you to manage the data when you divide it up into stages. You won’t be overwhelmed with a ton of data at once.
In order to make this happen, begin the process by thinking about what you need. Consider all of the data you need, and then create a plan to get it. Come up with the various stages, and configure your scraper to get the data you need for each stage. Then, put your scraper to work.
Keep a List of Pages You’ve Crawled
You don’t want to have to scrape a page over and over again. You want to scrape it once and be done with it, unless you need to get updated data. That is why it’s so important that you keep a record of all the pages you’ve scraped. Then, if something happens and your scraper stops working, you’ll know exactly where to pick up and start again. You won’t waste your time if you use this method. Make sure you keep your records updated so you’ll be ready to pick up and start again at any time.
Be Smart with How You Use the Data
Most people scrape Amazon for good reasons. They want to conduct competitor research or get some pricing information. However, some people scrape Amazon as a way to start a business. They basically steal Amazon’s information and use it to create their own websites.
Your entire business plan shouldn’t be built around the data you get from Amazon. If it is, Amazon will likely go after you and try to get your site shut down. Use the information as a supplement to what you already have, not as a way to run your own business.
Don’t Sell the Data
Never sell the data you scrape from Amazon. You should not profit from the data you scrape. If you do, there is a good chance Amazon will go after you. You don’t want to have a powerhouse like Amazon fighting against you, so never put any of the data you scrape up for sale. Keep it to yourself and don’t profit from it. That would be a huge mistake.
Start Scraping Today
Scraping Amazon is somewhat complicated, but you can do it if you follow these tips. Start by picking up some proxies and a scraper tool. Remember to rotate your proxies and take it slow so you don’t stand out and get banned.
Then, you can gather the data you need and use it to take your own website to the next level. Be careful how you use the data, though. Use it for basic research and not as a business plan. Also, don’t sell the data, as that will put you right on Amazon’s radar. That is the last place you want to be.
Keep all of this in mind as you move forward. Then, you can enjoy the benefits of scraping the site.