When it comes to running a business online then the one thing that you really have to do is network because without this you will often find that life is going to be substantially more difficult than you are perhaps used to. Now, clearly there are a number of things that you can do to make things easier and when it comes to networking and social media then the one thing that you have to do is to look at a website called LinkedIn.
At this point we are not just saying that you should have a profile on there because there are other ways in which you can use the website to learn more about people that you may wish to contact or even just to learn about your competition. So, what are we actually meaning? Well, we are talking about scraping profile content but there are several things that you need to take into consideration before you go ahead and do this if you want to avoid having your account banned.
What is LinkedIn?
LinkedIn is a social networking website for professionals in various capacities although anybody can join. It is seen as being far more of a business networking opportunity rather than the likes of Facebook where most of it is just absolutely crazy and laid back. Instead, this website focuses more on building networks that can help you in your career and there are industry leaders, CEO’s, managers, and everybody on every single step of the career ladder contained within their members.
Furthermore, there are various groups that you can join to help you network within your area and industry so the possibilities that are out there are rather impressive if you know how to work it. However, as we said earlier we are talking about scraping content from profiles and this is not exactly the normal way of using the website.
What Do We Mean by Scraping?
Now, you might never have heard about scraping before and if not then it is time that you learn. You see, the profiles that are on LinkedIn tend to be rather complete in nature as people will include a lot of contact information, the job they do, the industry, and so much other information that can be used in a variety of ways. However, sitting there and going through the millions and millions of profiles that are uploaded there will take an eternity and do you have the spare time to do that?
The answer to that question is going to be a resounding, no. So, in that case you have to be clever and use tools that will be able to make life that bit easier and do so much of the hard work for you. That tool is called a scraper and that is going to be the answer to your prayers.
With scraper tools you can set it up to scan through the profiles automatically and pick up certain information that you have set into the software. That means you can search for emails, certain keywords, telephone numbers, and a whole host of other things that you can then put to good use.
This is something that you can just set up and let it run all on its own and you can see how it will make life so much easier for yourself in the long run. However, even though it is so easy to do it is still the case that you have another problem to avoid and that is the fact that it is against the terms and conditions of the website to do this but even here there is a solution.
How to Avoid Being Banned.
If you use a scraper tool in order to scan the profiles on LinkedIn, then what will happen is that the website will pick up on a huge number of requests coming from a single IP address and they will automatically believe that they are under attack from a bot. Now, they have no idea that all you are doing is trying to get different types of information so they have only one option and that is to ban your IP.
As you can imagine, this will then lead to you being blocked and banned from the website and it also means that you are unable to use the site even normally and that is a major issue. So, how do you go about avoiding getting banned? Well, the answer is to use proxies to make life easier and you will see that it is not that difficult to use it.
Using a Proxy for Scraping LinkedIn.
To avoid having your own IP banned for scraping the website you need to change your IP address and the best way to do that is by using a proxy. A proxy is where you alter your IP address and yet you can still browse the Internet completely normally even though the websites that you visit feel as if they are being visited by someone in a completely different location.
As a result, it means that your real and genuine IP address is hidden as you are using a completely different connection to get online. You are then free to use the scraping software to go ahead and get that information but there is yet even more to take into consideration before you start to really hit the website hard.
You see, just because you have changed your IP with a proxy it does mean that you are going to run into problems with that brand new IP and it stands to reason that it can end up being banned as well. This is because you are still looking at sending out a number of requests from the one apparent IP so they have to then take the exact same action and ban it.
However, you can still counteract this by using certain types of proxies or buying private proxies in bulk. They are inexpensive so if one is banned you simply switch to the other and you can start again, but at the same time you can also use proxies called backconnect proxies or rotating proxies just to give you that extra layer of anonymity.
By using either of those options it does mean your IP address is changing on a regular basis, so you can effectively stay under the radar for longer with the number of requests that come from a single IP. As a result, LinkedIn believes that a different individual is making the requests so there are not the same red flags being thrown up for you to then avoid. Remember, red flags are going to lead to you being banned as sites such as LinkedIn are actively monitoring the usage on their website for such activity. You need to make sure that you appear to be as normal as possible at all times.
A proxy, therefore, gives you a greater sense of protection and you will then be free to go ahead and use your own profile with your own IP without running into too many problems. Also, the scraper software does not always have to be logged into the website or you may even have a different profiles to use as the access point if this makes life easier for you. However, you are going to end up running into difficulties relatively early on if you do not use proxies to mask your IP.
Finally, you need to vary the number of requests and when you send them because the most important thing is that you appear to be using the website like a normal human being. This will help you to stay undetected for longer and that is always going to make your life easier. Clear your cookies and do so on a regular basis in order to not raise suspicion. Also, make sure that you buy proxies from a known supplier rather than just the first person that you come across simply because you need to know that they are fast enough and capable of dealing with all of the processes that you are putting through the software. You certainly want to be sure that it can handle everything that you throw at it or else life will indeed become far too difficult for yourself.
So, if you are looking at scraping LinkedIn profiles for any kind of information then you must use proxies to make life easier for yourself or you are going to run the risk of being banned in next to no time. However, do make sure that at the very least you use private dedicated proxies rather than shared public ones as the number of requests being sent will result in them being blacklisted almost immediately and that is something that you want to avoid.
Scraping is capable of uncovering all kinds of information that you will then find to be rather useful but doing it without proxies is going to become so difficult that it will almost certainly result in your account being banned and your IP being blocked.