When it’s easy to get any kind of data, it’s also easy to take advantage of it all. The possibilities are limitless with the right tools and technology. So how do you stay grounded when you have the capabilities to do anything? Here are four mindful tips to keep yourself accountable while web scraping responsibly.
Use the API
If a website has a public API (Application Programming Interface), you can avoid web scraping altogether. The API provides direct access to the data, giving you less work to do. Plus, APIs are made to share data between software. In order for different devices to communicate with one another, the API is the messenger for requests. Major companies like Amazon, Google, and Twitter have their own APIs. Check them out first if you’re in search of specific information.
Follow the site’s terms and conditions
We’re used to shrugging off the fine print and immediately clicking ‘agree’ on a site’s terms and conditions. But when you’re web scraping on the regular, it’s important to follow their guidelines. You often have to agree not to use the data for commercial use or collect personal information. Once you read a few terms and conditions, you can get an idea of what’s standard. If you ever run into questions, you can always contact the webmaster for clarifications.
Crawl at reasonable rates
When you crawl onto a site, avoid being aggressive to the server. This means limiting to a certain number of requests per second like one per 10–15 seconds. An excessive amount can get you flagged as a DDoS attack. The Robots Exclusion Standard or robots.txt is similar to a site’s terms and conditions but instead regulates crawler traffic. Robots.txt instructs crawlers what they have access to on a website and the number of requests they can send.
Acknowledge content ownership
Nobody likes the person that takes credit for other people’s work. Show some love to the content by acknowledging or tagging the owner. This includes creative work like logos, photos, videos, and designs. Be sure to check if the content is copyrighted before completing any web scraping project. If caught, copyright infringement can be a serious violation.
Scrape ethically with Proxyverse
Collect only what you need when it comes to your projects. After all, that extra information will just be taking space. Handle data with care and add value to the information you gather. Setting boundaries can help you determine what ethical scraping means to you.
Of course, Proxyverse is always here for all your web scraping needs. Web scrape anonymously with our rotating pool of residential proxies to stay protected and secured online.