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What Excessive Web Scraping does to your business

Web scraping has been a nuisance for website owners for years. Scrapers can steal your content, slow down your website, and increase your hosting costs.

Scraping... No, not this type of scraping

Web scraping involves extracting data from websites by accessing a site's HTML. It's typically executed using specialized 'bots' which can hammer your website incessantly. While scraping can have legitimate uses, when done excessively or maliciously, it can harm your business in several ways:

  • Increased Hosting Costs

    High server and bandwidth usage from scraping can slow down your site for genuine users. This might necessitate spending more on hosting, particularly with top-tier providers like AWS and Google Cloud. Over time, these elevated costs can strain your resources and dent your profits.
  • Competitive Espionage

    Rivals can deploy web scraping to continuously monitor your prices and adjust theirs in real-time, securing an undue edge.
  • Intellectual Property Theft

    Unique content — from articles and images to product descriptions — can be illicitly copied and republished, devaluing your original content. This unauthorized duplication can also adversely affect your SEO rankings.
  • Market Insight Theft

    Competitors can scrape reviews, feedback, or comments about your products to understand market sentiments, turning those insights to their advantage.

Is all scraping bad?

No, scraping can be used for legitimate purposes. For example, search engines like Google and Bing use bots to index websites and display relevant results to users. Without these bots scraping your website you would not show up on the search results of these search engines.

Legitimate bots can be controlled by the robots.txt file. This file is used to tell bots which pages they can and cannot access. However, some bots just ignore this and still can generate a lot of requests on your website.

What to do against excessive web scraping?

Open Access Strategy

Consider offering complete database or API access to frequently scraped data. Websites like Wikipedia provide entire database downloads, dramatically reducing their scrape-related issues.

Wikipedia Database Download Wikipedia allows full database downloads

Deploy an Intelligent Firewall

A firewall such as NetIngest can detect the bots in one of the following ways:

  • Global Block List

    Block whole sections of the internet that are known to attack websites.
  • Hosting IP Detection

    Automatically filter out traffic from compromised websites.
  • Proxy Block List

    Our updated list of known proxies restricts scraper access via these channels.
  • Anomaly Detection

    Spot irregular traffic patterns and set custom rules to ward off sophisticated scraping attacks.
  • Behavioral Rules

    React to specific user behaviors with NetIngest's advanced rule-setting capabilities.

How does this affect my customers?

A properly setup firewall should not affect your customers. NetIngest is designed to block malicious traffic while allowing legitimate users to access your website. Bots will be blocked or see a captcha page, while your customers will be able to access your website as usual.

By understanding the risks of web scraping and equipping your business with robust defense mechanisms, you can safeguard your website's integrity and value. Don't leave your business vulnerable to the perils of unchecked web scraping. Secure your website, preserve your content's value, and ensure a seamless experience for your genuine users.

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