Price scraping: How does it work and who is at risk? – Netacea
What is price scrapingHow does price scraping workThe impact of price scraping in retailHow to prevent price scrapingFrequently Asked Questions about price scrapingIs price scraping legal? How does a business protect itself against scraper bots and price scraping software? What happens if a business has its price data scraped by competitors? If prices are scraped from a website, does the customer then see this? How does scraping affect sales conversion rates? Is price scraping only used by large organisations? What happens if I report a scraper for breaking terms and conditions? How does getting hold of competitor pricing data affect sales? What is the best way for a company to protect itself against price scraping? Who are the typical victims of price scraping? How does the technology work to prevent scraper bots from accessing websites and price scrapers? Who are the perpetrators of price scraping? What is an example of price scraping? What is the impact of price scraping?
Scraper bots are commonly used for price scraping and to scrape content from websites for competitive advantage. Aggressive scraper bot activity slows down websites for customers, resulting in a bad user experience that costs the retailer revenue as frustrated customers are driven to competitors, while exposing vital pricing data.
What is price scraping
Price scraping is a technique used to extract pricing data from websites where bots search, find and copy the price data. Many websites use tools to prevent it
Price scraping is an illegal competitive price monitoring tool used to track other valuable information mainly used for e-commerce and travel sites. Competitors use this strategy to attract price-sensitive buyers by setting their prices lower than standard prices in the marketplace.
How does price scraping work
The attackers can use a price scraping bot to maintain a real-time repository of the entire product catalogue whilst regularly tracking the price changes to keep their database updated with the latest pricing information of their competitors. Therefore, companies can use this to raise their margins, cut expenses and ultimately display prices that increase their overall revenue.
The impact of price scraping in retail
Price scraping is one of the costliest bad bot threats to online retailers. They can jeopardize the overall security of e-commerce websites, customer loyalty and brand reputation. The more successful the retailer, the more likely they become a target of scraping.
Price scraping is a significant threat for e-commerce websites as their pricing strategies are exposed to competitors. Retailers can automate their scraping activity in large amounts, so their website automatically reflects the best price once analysing prices from competing sites.
While pricing information is generally available to customers, price scrapers illegally undercut competitors’ pricing and growth strategies. Price scraping can also result in skewed analytics, cart abandonment, and website slowdowns.
How to prevent price scraping
Retailers should choose to implement a dedicated bot management solution to block bots that carry out price scraping and other more serious attacks.
Scraper bots are becoming more sophisticated and increasingly difficult to detect as they imitate human interactions. Basic detection tools are unable to keep up with changes as bad bots find new ways to scrape websites, easily bypassing traditional methods such as WAF solutions.
Frequently Asked Questions about price scraping
Is price scraping legal?
No, it is against the law to scrape content from a website for competitive advantage. Most companies have adopted tools to prevent this.
How does a business protect itself against scraper bots and price scraping software?
Businesses should seek the best, most effective security solution for preventing scrapers from accessing their website in order to scrape content and/or prices, such as Netacea Bot Management.
What happens if a business has its price data scraped by competitors?
If a competitor gets hold of your pricing data, they may be able to undercut what you are charging, leading to lost sales and customer dissatisfaction. At the very least, a competitor will have an unfair advantage by gaining insight into your pricing strategies. Collecting data about prices and/or sales volume from your website is likely to result in customers shopping around for better deals, which can lead to lost sales and reduced business. Businesses that are concerned about competitors accessing their pricing data need to take steps to prevent it.
If prices are scraped from a website, does the customer then see this?
Most scrapers will scrape prices once they have identified a customer (when the customer is ready to buy) and hide it from that consumer.
How does scraping affect sales conversion rates?
For a business that is concerned about scraping, if prices are scraped then customers may be unable to compare your prices with those of competitors in the same way. This will obviously have an impact on sales conversion rates and lead to lost sales and lower profits for the business.
Is price scraping only used by large organisations?
No, price scraping is commonly used by all types of businesses.
What happens if I report a scraper for breaking terms and conditions?
Businesses have what they call T&Cs which will sometimes state that competitors are not allowed to access their website or data in some way. If you suspect somebody is scraping your website then it is important to investigate further and find out. If you discover that your T&Cs have been breached then it is imperative you report this activity for the safety of your business.
How does getting hold of competitor pricing data affect sales?
Price scraping has a significant impact on a business’s ability to compete with other businesses in terms of pricing, as well as leading to lost website sales by frustrated customers who abandon their order due to the slow performance of your business’s website.
What is the best way for a company to protect itself against price scraping?
This depends on a number of factors, but in general there are two options available: seek legal advice or employ a specialist technology solution.
Who are the typical victims of price scraping?
Price scraping is used by many different types of businesses for a range of reasons, so it could be a competitor, a customer or simply someone with an interest in price monitoring.
How does the technology work to prevent scraper bots from accessing websites and price scrapers?
Businesses can already use sophisticated tools to prevent scrape attacks in their network architecture, however these require an experienced IT team to establish best practices and implement ways of reducing risk within a company’s network. Netacea Bot Management allows you to easily create website rules which are then deployed via the cloud across your entire estate. This solution is designed specifically for business owners who want to be proactive about protecting themselves against threats such as price scraping but do not have the time or resources required to implement manual solutions.
Who are the perpetrators of price scraping?
What is an example of price scraping?
Price scraping is commonly used to target competitor pricing data and may be carried out by competitors, customers or even third parties.
What is the impact of price scraping?
Aggressive scraper bot activity slows down websites for customers, resulting in a bad user experience that costs the retailer revenue as frustrated customers are driven to competitors, while exposing vital pricing data.
Find out how Netacea rapidly stops sophisticated web scraping such as content scraping and price scraping. See Netacea in action.
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Web Scraping 101: 10 Myths that Everyone Should Know | Octoparse
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
Price Scraping: Learn the Basics – Prisync
You already know that you need to pay careful consideration to how you price your products. With hundreds of e-commerce stores being launched every single day, it’s imperative you stay on top and set competitive prices against your competition.
But how do you know what prices they’re charging?
What if you have 250 competitors? Are you supposed to go to each retailer one at a time and document their prices?
Of course not, that would be far too time-consuming and take away from the other important work you need to do.
The solution is e-commerce price scraping.
Let’s look at what price scraping is, what tools you need to do it, as well as some considerations for potential challenges you might encounter.
What is price scraping?
Price scraping is the extraction of price information using a bot or a web crawler.
The bots search, find and copy data from a website to be analyzed later.
However, scraping gets more and more difficult each day since many websites use tools to prevent it. These tools often mistake a real person with a bot. Even Google’s bot detectors do not work with 100% accuracy.
Subscription-based services like online newspapers or research databases suffer from scrapers that reach the content without subscribing. But not all scraping services are malignant.
In fact, in a growingly digitalized world, many businesses can benefit largely from the scraped data. The best example, e-commerce.
The first step to scraping your competitors’ prices is to find out who your competitors are in the first place.
If you’re selling budget t-shirts, then a designer t-shirt brand probably isn’t your closest competitor.
So think about the industry and define the businesses that have similar offerings to yours.
Once you’ve researched all these stores, it’s time to start collecting the data.
If you want to give price scraping a go, first know that you’ll need to have someone in your team who is technical or you’ll need to enlist the help of a technical person, perhaps a freelancer.
This technical person should be comfortable working with bots that they can train to scrape the data from your competitors.
Once you have access to your data, you’re able to adjust your prices in accordance with what they’re charging to make sure you always have a competitive advantage over your competition.
You could instruct a bot to crawl the prices just once and keep all the data in a spreadsheet.
However, the issue with this is it doesn’t account for price changes.
For example, if you increase your prices in December to match your competitors, and suddenly you realize that in January your sales fall, how do you know that they haven’t lowered their cost and as a result are taking over the market?
You don’t know because your price data is static from a one-time crawl.
What you need to do is automizing this process. Let’s learn how.
There are a number of tools but most often HTTrack or Scrapy can help you scrape websites in your target list.
Note that these tools generally require you to download their software before you start scraping.
Alternatively, if you don’t have access to bots, or are unable to use scraping tools, you could use a third-party SaaS solution like Prisync.
The benefit of using an out of the box solution is that it automatically tracks your competitors’ prices once you’ve determined which competitors you wanted to track.
All you need to do is enter your competitor list with the product prices you want to track and let the software do the rest of the work.
What’s more, it stops you from becoming perplexed by all the data.
Imagine you store all your data in a spreadsheet, to properly understand all the different visible prices, you’ll need to analyze the data you have and compare it to previous days, months or years.
To begin with, you’ll need to think carefully about the exact data you want to scrape. If you have 500 competitors, scraping everything on their website could cause difficulties in analyzing further down the line.
Second, once you have the data, you need to format it. You’ll find it difficult to analyze if it’s confusing to understand exactly what the data is saying.
As you can imagine, this would take some time and that time could be better spent working on other areas of growing your e-commerce business.
Wrapping up price scraping
E-commerce scraping can be a beneficial way for you to gain insight into how your competitors are marketing their products through price. You’ll be able to see when they offer significant discounts, see when they increase their prices and patterns in their marketing strategy.
Price scraping helps you acquire data about your competitors in order to make well-informed decisions as to where to take your e-commerce store next.
However, if you do decide to track your competitors’ pricing. Don’t get too bogged down by it.
Instead, use their prices as a guideline and focus on building a long-term pricing strategy, knowing that your decisions are backed by real data.
pricing strategiespricing terminology
Frequently Asked Questions about price scraper
Is price scraping legal?
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.Aug 16, 2021
What is price scraping?
What is price scraping? Price scraping is the extraction of price information using a bot or a web crawler. The bots search, find and copy data from a website to be analyzed later. However, scraping gets more and more difficult each day since many websites use tools to prevent it.Nov 20, 2018
Is scraping is legal?
Web scraping itself is not illegal. As a matter of fact, web scraping – or web crawling, were historically associated with well-known search engines like Google or Bing. These search engines crawl sites and index the web. … A great example when web scraping can be illegal is when you try to scrape nonpublic data.Nov 17, 2017