Data collection is a very important requirement for any business. Companies need diverse information on a large-scale to keep up with the competition and current trends. It goes without saying that a business that does not keep pace with the competition and changing trends will soon sink.
What is more, the collected data needs to be accurate and timely, and the resultant action needs to be equally fast to be of any value. It’s accurate data that helps business owners or CEOs make better decisions.
So we know for sure that:
- Businesses use data to solve problems and to take corrective action.
- Accurate data enables a business to understand its performance.
- They can also use data to improve their processes.
In this article, we will go deeper into the reasons of reaching relevant data for business use. Also, we will cover the process of web scraping and data gathering. So let’s begin.
What is data accuracy?
Data consists of facts and figures put in a form that a computer can analyze. Naturally, a computer cannot say whether the data is accurate or not. It just processes the data to give the programmed output.
In computing, there is a term, garbage in garbage out (GIGO). This means if you feed a computer inaccurate or wrong data (garbage), that is what you will get as output. Thus, data accuracy is of paramount importance.
Accuracy refers to data that is unambiguous and consistent.
What do we mean that data needs to be unambiguous? For example, dates in the US are in the mm/dd/yyyy format, whereas it is in the dd/mm/yyyy format in the UK. If a computer is given data in the format 10/06/1992, does it mean 10th June 1992 or 6th October 1992? Accurate data needs to be unambiguous so that it is not misinterpreted.
Data needs to be in a consistent format. For example, New York City may be referred to as NYC, NY, or New York, which is inconsistent, as you can see. Accurate data need to be in a consistent format to be useful.
If the data is not accurate, a business will not be able to make the right decisions making it a sure recipe for disaster.
Why is it important for businesses to collect accurate data?
Businesses need to collect accurate data to enable them to keep pace with the fast-changing world. They use this data for the following purposes:
- In decision-making
- To solve problems and issues and to take corrective action
- To understand and improve their performance
Without accurate data, a business would find it difficult to keep pace with the industry and the changing market scenario. Businesses that do not spend time and resources on collecting and processing data will not succeed.
Also, data gathering might be used for multiple fields:
- Price intelligence
- Email protection
- Market research
- Travel fare aggregation
- Review monitoring
These are just the most common examples when it comes to extracting and using web data for analysis and further business processes.
How do businesses reach accurate and relevant data?
Since most businesses have an online presence nowadays, the best and fastest way to get accurate and relevant information, for example, on one’s competitors, is to do automated data mining.
For data mining or web scraping to be successful, the automated queries need to be designed to collect data that is unambiguous and consistent. This is a difficult task, but data mining is now quite a crucial part of any industry.
Web scraping is a process of extracting publicly available web data from third-part websites by using in-house built web scraper or ready-to-use web scraping tools.
Choosing one or the other way for scraping mostly depends on the needs of your business and the goals you want to reach. While creating your own web scraper requires a team of dedicated scraping specialists and developers, technical knowledge and resources, it’s a great choice for large-scale data gathering projects.
However, smaller businesses may need a more convenient way to harvest data without investing too much into the process of acquisition. In this case, there are quite a few web scraping tools or services on the market that do the whole work and handle the ready-to-use data. So the companies may focus more on data analysis and forget all the challenges that come up along the way.
The use of proxy servers
Speaking of challenges and obstacles, one of the main is anti-scraping measures on websites: while everyone is aware that competitors indulge in data mining, we have websites that ban requests from IP addresses that repeatedly search for data on their site. To overcome this, businesses use proxy servers for data mining. Proxy servers can hide the identity or IP address of the computer, making a query. Using a rotating proxy server, a business can make umpteen data requests of a site without being discovered. Proxy servers are widely used in data mining or web scraping.
Some websites use geo-blocking to block information requests from IP addresses that are not in a certain geographical region. For example, possibly certain information from a Brazilian website will not be accessible to a business in Australia. However, the Australian business can use a Brazil proxy to overcome this geo-blocking. Or the Australian business can use a residential Brazil proxy to access data from a Brazilian website. Visit and learn more about proxy pools in multiple locations around the world.
Proxy servers like data center proxies that use rotating IP addresses are quite commonly used for accurate data scraping. Businesses also use residential proxies in the same geographical area to overcome geo-blocking.
It is quite clear that proxy servers are an indispensable need for businesses in their quest for fast, accurate, and anonymous data mining. Proxy servers are also useful in overcoming sites that use geo-blocking. You can visit hackernoon and find out which proxy servers are the best.
Data is important in decision-making for any business. However, businesses need accurate data. Accurate data is data that is unambiguous and consistent. For a business to succeed, it needs accurate data.
This usually comes from data mining or web scraping. However, websites oppose web scraping or data mining. So, businesses use proxies to acquire their data anonymously. Proxy servers maintain anonymity and even help in overcoming geo-blocking of data.