We often write about privacy-related tech and tell you how Infatica helps businesses around the globe. Today we'll talk about using residential proxies for solving complex data mining tasks.
What is data mining
Data mining is a process of analyzing large amounts of information to find factors, dependencies, and patterns that may be useful for business. Besides algorithms and data analysis tools, the critical task for successful mining is data collection.
One of the most popular ways of obtaining the needed amount of information is scraping. During the web scraping process, you visit websites relevant to some criteria and download the required data from them. Sounds easy, but only at first glance.
Where web scraping is used
The short answer is "everywhere where you need data to make efficient business decisions." For example, e-commerce companies monitor price changes on their competitors' website. This allows them to be flexible, and offer the best terms for customers, run successful marketing campaigns that can neutralize the activity of the particular rival.
Data from websites and social media could be collected for demand research and sentiment analysis.
Marketers collect data about marketing campaigns run by competing companies: what ads they run, which platforms use, how the copy looks like, what are differences in multiple regions or countries, etc.
What can go wrong
The number of companies using web scraping has increased dramatically over the last couple of years. Businesses use this data collection method for competitive intelligence and market analysis.
Usually, you need specialized software to run web scraping. Such software is a crawler that goes through the websites and downloads specified content. And as nowadays there are hundreds of thousands such scrapers in the wild, website owners learned how to counteract such an activity.
If the website owner understands that this particular visitor is not a real human, but a bot, nothing stops him from blocking it or even mislead the competitor by displaying fake data to a robot. As a result, you can get irrelevant data, which, if used, can lead to wrong business decisions and losses.
This is why you should bypass such blocks or attempts to trick the scraping software and prevent correct data mining. You can do this with residential proxies.
How residential proxies help in data mining: Infatica case study
So, how do you hide your scraping activity, avoid your software being blocked or fed with fake data? First, you need to understand how web scraping detection systems work.
Often they detect scraping bots and block them using the information about IP address. In many cases scraping software uses the so-called server IPs, which belongs to hosting providers. Regular users do not use such addresses. It is very easy to detect such IPs using an ASN number, and there are plenty of automated services for checking ASNs. Once the detection system understands that the visitor uses server IP, it can easily block access or manipulate the displayed data.
Such blockades are almost impossible in the case of residential proxies. These proxies are basically IP-addresses assigned regular users (homeowners) by their ISP. These addresses are marked in regional internet registries (RIR). So, if you use a residential proxy, all requests sent from the particular IP will be indistinguishable from the ones submitted by regular users.
Therefore, using our additional rotation mechanism allows bypassing anti-scraping systems. Requests for data will be sent from multiple addresses, and the server will see this activity as if regular visitors decided to go to the website. You do not block potential customers and do your best to display the correct information for them.
Infatica has more than 100 countries and territories available for purchasing residential IPs. So, our customers performing Data Mining tasks can easily collect data in multiple regions without being detected by anti-web scraping systems.