Phrases like “the web is held together by [insert ad hoc, totally precarious binding agent]” have been around for a while for a reason.
While the services we rely on tend to sport hugely impressive availability considering, that still doesn’t negate the fact that the macro web is a tangled mess of semi or unstructured data, and site-by-site nuances.
Put this together with the fact that the web is by far our largest source of valuable external data, and you have a task as high reward as it is error prone. That task is web scraping.
As one of three western entities to crawl and structure a vast majority of the web, we’ve learned a thing or two about where web crawling can wrong. And incorporated many solutions into our rule-less Automatic Extraction APIs and Crawlbot.
In this guide we round up some of the most common challenges for teams or individuals trying to harvest data from the public web. And we provide a workaround for each. Want to see what rule-less extraction looks like for your site of interest? Check out our extraction test drive!(more…)