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Why You Need Web Scraping Protection For Your Website

What is Web Scraping?

Web scraping is the act of taking content form a website with the intent of using it for purposes outside the direct control of the site owner. It is essentially using a website’s content or anything you can find on the website against terms of use or against the data license of the content being displayed on the website. There are a number of reasons people scrape content from your website:

  • Steal intellectual property
  • Gain competitive advantage
  • Damage SEO ranking
  • Create aggregation or meta-sites
  • Perform market research
There are a number of reasons why somebody must be crawling your website but none of them typically are good. In going forward, we suggest that, if you are going to run a commercial website, you need to be able to tell the difference between human traffic and bad bots.

Content sharing websites, news websites, online media are most vulnerable industries to web scraping.

Who is behind Web Scraping?

There are many different identities who are crawling your website. Your competitors, aggregators are mostly behind web scraping. Sometime its hackers and of course its search engines. And it is important to separate out the good bots which would be search engines from the bad bots. But it is a big challenge to determine the difference between hackers, aggregators and competitors. The search engines bots are generally very easy to identify and separate out. The good bots which you all want on your website are typically very obedient and they respect robots.txt file and identify themselves easily. It is those who are trying to spoof search engines, those are typically your competitors, aggregators and hackers that are difficult to identify and stop.

The Impact of Web Scraping

Web Scraping bots impact websites in a very negative way.

  • Direct loss of business and genuine users with degraded SEO
  • Slowdowns , frequent downtime and poor user experience
  • Increase in costs (infrastructure and people) - Anyone who has ever run a website understands clearly how expensive bandwidth and server resources are and bots can really hike the server expenditure by more than 100%
  • Distortion of web analytics - There are lots of sites out there giving you traffic insights, not understanding the real traffic vs bot traffic. If you don't have a bot protection technology in place, your actual genuine traffic might be 30%-50% less than what you think it is.
  • Lost trust and brand value of the business

Web scrapers aren't behind your content, they are behind your business and you need to protect your website from web scraping to protect your business. An accurate bot protection platform can stop web scraping within a few seconds and you can keep your content and pricing as your competitive advantage while also realizing other benefits like managing bot traffic to optimize web server costs and improved SEO.

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