If you are serious about using Craigslist as a potential source of information to help you with your marketing of either services or products, then there is a very real need for you to go ahead and use a Craigslist scraper to make life easier. If you are unsure as to what that is, then read on because you will quickly see how this is going to become a rather essential piece of kit for you.
You see, there is a major problem with Craigslist in that it is known to be rather tough to use when it comes to extracting as much data as possible. The reason for this is because they have set up the website differently to so many others out there and it does mean that getting information can often be a long, slow and seriously painful experience.
However, it does not have to be like that.
You see, sites such as these use something known as API. Now, if we use Facebook as an example, then the way that their API works is that it allows you to extract data but you are unable to post things. Craigslist is different in that it does the complete opposite with its API and that is where you are going to run into difficulties unless you take certain action that then makes life that little bit easier for you.
The point of them working their site in this way is also easy to understand. It means that people with accounts are able to post in bulk and that is what is keeping the website going. However, in the process of setting things up in this way it does also then mean that it makes it harder to get all of that information.
Now, it could be argued by some that Craigslist does have an RSS feed so there should be an opportunity to scrape data, but you have to remember that in their opinion they are going to be unable to actually do anything or gain from sharing that data. So, they have made it as difficult as possible for other people to do that very action.
Also, using software that is classed as being third-party is going to be against the terms and conditions of the website leading to you being banned, so how do you get around that?
Well, the answer is actually quite easy
If you are serious about trying to scrape Craigslist and are planning on using a tool in order to do this, then the only option that is actually available to you is to use proxies. This will protect your initial IP and you can see the proxies as really being set up to crash and burn as you will go throw them quite quickly with Craigslist banning them in next to no time.
But there is another rather important reason as to why you would want to use proxies when using Craigslist scraper software, it is illegal. Now, we are not just talking about them banning you, but if you try to scrape a huge amount of data from their website at the one time then it is not the first time that they have actually gone ahead and taken that individual to court.
This is something that you will certainly not want to happen to you and the only way to get around this issue is to use proxies so that your real location is hidden. This is going to protect you in more ways than one so it makes sense for you to employ them.
Here is something that is quite useful to be pointed out, Craigslist is not exactly a website that is known for wholesale changes. A lot of people have even pointed out that if you compare the site to when it was launched in 2006 then the actual layout and everything else is pretty much identical.
However, there is a big difference and it is one that you need to be aware of. They have taken steps since their initial inception to hide as much data as possible. In actual fact, if you look at the postings then contact numbers and emails tend to be hidden away or masked and the entire idea here is to stop people from spamming others and scraping for all of that information.
Furthermore, Craigslist does have things in place to stop spam including you perhaps having to undergo phone verification which does then pose a problem for people that are looking at scraping the website. This may all sound as if it is going to be putting you off doing it, but that should certainly not be the case if you know what you are doing and how to do things correctly.
Now we have to look at the reasons as to why you would want to even scrape the website in the first place when you consider how difficult it is proving to be. To be honest, there are actually more reasons than you may have initially considered and it is interesting to look at them.
This is not all about getting contact details. Instead, you may want to scrape various sections so that you can check what people are selling certain products or services for as this can then have an impact on what you are doing. Furthermore, you might just want details of products and see what people are selling although it has to be admitted that this kind of approach does tend to be less popular than scraping for contact details.
However, there are other cool reasons why a Craigslist scraper can be useful and it is not all just for the sake of market research. Instead, there are a number of ways in which it can be used for profit as we will now explore.
This is a website where you are able to scrape for details of products that are in demand and where somebody is selling them for a low price. If we use concert tickets as an example then you can easily get them from this website and then sell them at a higher price elsewhere making a profit in the middle.
Of course, you might also be wanting to send out emails or whatever to the different people that you have just managed to obtain their contact details for, but then that is why you need to be very well prepared and understand why you are going to be scraping Craigslist to begin with. After all, you are going against their terms and conditions and they have already made it very difficult for people to do these actions so it makes so much sense to know what you are doing before Craigslist is able to pick up on it and starts to dish out their very own idea of punishment to you.
Finally, the question here is how on earth you scrape the website and there are various important steps that you need to follow in order to be able to get the kind of information that you are looking for.
The first thing to do is to make sure that you are using a suitable tool. You want a scraper that can get the job done in next to no time and bring together all of the results in an easy to follow manner.
Next, make sure that you use reliable proxies and you should look at either shared proxies or even rotating proxies so that your scraping is often undetected for a longer period of time. This is something that you should only ever get from a reliable supplier where the connection speed is fast and also the connections do not continually break down. Do your research and test drive some proxies first before you really go into it at full speed.
Finally, just make sure that you set up the scraper tool correctly and tie it in with the proxies so that things do not slip through the net and your real IP is then revealed. It is always best to then check it out slowly and do some light scraping first and be prepared to burn through a few proxies before you then feel that the scraper tool is performing in the way that you expected. All you have to do is run it, allow it to get the data, and then use that data for whatever need you may have.
So that is why you should use a Craigslist scraper if you are even considering using this particular website in order to gather together a lot of information that you can then put to good use with your marketing exploits. As you can see, the way in which the scraper is going to be used is undoubtedly making using this website so much easier, so if you are serious about this then a scraper is the only way to go.
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