You’ve probably heard of spiders crawling the Web gathering all sorts of data from websites, right?
Well, they’re actually bots or automated software engaged in Web scraping. That’s the term used to describe the automatic harvesting of basic information such as names, email addresses, product details, pricing comparisons, and many more which can be used for lead generation, brand monitoring, market intelligence, and more.
Web scraping can be done manually, although it would be much faster and cover more websites by using bots or, you guessed it, spiders (aka Web crawlers).
The data that have been scraped or copied are kept in a database or spreadsheet where they can be used for future reference or analysis. Web scraping is tolerated as long as it does not touch sensitive stuff such as copyrighted materials.