The Fine Line between Data Ethics and Web Scraping

Ordinary users are often amazed at how advertising offers them exactly what they are looking for. For example, if you are looking at where to buy sunglasses, your Facebook or Instagram feed becomes full of ads that are in line with your inquiry. Is this magic? No. It is AI that works in tandem with web-scraping.

What Is Web-Scraping?

Web-scraping is a way to collect information about users and their online behavior. Special pieces of code help to collect data about what the users are looking for on the Internet, where they are (country, city, region), which pages they subscribe to in social networks, where they work, what is their area of ​​interest. Also, web-scraping helps to find out the gender, age, presence of children, and other data that can really be hooked on from open or partially open sources.

Almost every site reports on the collection and processing of user data. You can agree to its terms and stay. Or you can disagree with notifications, cookies, and data collection and close the tab.

Why Do Marketers Love Web-Scraping and People Are Afraid of It?

On one hand, web-scraping is potentially dangerous for users’ personal data. This raises the question of the ethics and legality of data collection.

On the other hand, web-scraping allows sending letters randomly and show ads about anything. It is much more effective when you can show young mothers ads for toys or offer tickets for the next match to football fans. Web-scraping is:

  •  customer-oriented and targeted only to a specific audience
  •  cheap by sending exclusively to potential customers
  •  effective due to high ROI and low bounce rate

Any business, especially a startup, counts every penny and does not waste the budget in vain. This means that the future belongs to web-scraping and targeted marketing.

Balancing the Ethical and Practical Sides of Web-scraping

It turns out that parsing and the scraping technology itself are key in business to save money and time, which would have to be spent on filling in a lot of data, analyzing and processing them. However, there are still some parsers that are not entirely ethical when collecting prohibited information. As soon as this is discovered, the costs will increase significantly: you have to compensate for moral damage and pay fines.

So, parsers will simplify your work and business processes, make them cheaper and faster. How to refuse this? The only important thing is using parsers you can trust. For example, the service Zenscrape. The team behind Zenscrape is committed to honesty, and their transparency is on display in their web scraping tutorials.

What Can the Service Do?

Typically, information for analysis is collected and sent to companies using the API. It allows you to segment information, filter and format, etc. But the API code is not available on some sites. In such cases, you have to use the scrapers of the web parser. But it is very important to respect the privacy of users and their confidential data. You should not collect, search, or store information that cannot be considered publicly available. This is exactly how Zenscrape works.