Semalt Expert On Website Data Scraping - Good And Bad Bots

Web scraping has been around for a long time and is regarded useful for webmasters, journalists, freelancers, programmers, non-programmers, marketing researchers, scholars and social media experts. There are two types of bots: good bots and bad bots. The good bots enable the search engines to index the web content and are given high preference by the market experts and digital marketers. The bad bots, on the other hand, are useless and aim to damage a site's search engine ranking. The legality of web scraping depends on what type of bots you have had used.

For instance, if you are using the bad bots that fetch the content from different web pages with the intention of using it illegally, the web scraping may be harmful. But if you make use of the good bots and avoid the harmful activities including the denial of service attacks, online frauds, competitive data mining strategies, data thefts, account hijacks, unauthorized vulnerability scan, digital ad frauds, and stealing of the intellectual properties, then the web scraping procedure is good and helpful to grow your business on the Internet.

Unfortunately, most of the freelancers and startups love bad bots because they are a cheap, powerful and comprehensive way to collect data without any need for a partnership. Big companies, however, use the legal web scrapers for their gains and don't want to ruin their reputation on the Internet with illegal web scrapers. The general opinions on the legality of web scraping do not seem to matter because in the past few months it has become clear that the federal court systems are cracking down more and more illegal web scraping strategies.

Web scraping began as an illegal process back in 2000, when the use of bots and spiders to scrape websites was considered nonsense. Not many practices were adapted to stop this procedure from spreading on the internet until 2010. eBay first filed the preliminary injunctions against Bidder's Edge, claiming that the use of bots on the website had violated the Trespass to Chattels laws. The court soon granted the injunctions because the users had to agree the terms and conditions of the site and a large number of bots were deactivated as they could be destructive for eBay's computer machines. The lawsuit was soon settled out of the court, and eBay stopped everyone from using bots for web scraping no matter they are good or bad.

In 2001, a travel agency had sued the competitors who scraped its content from the website with the help of harmful spiders and bad bots. The judges again took measures against the crime and favored the victims, saying that both web scraping and the use of bots could harm various online businesses.

Nowadays, for academic, private and information aggregation, a lot of people rely on fair web scraping procedures, and a lot of web scraping tools have been developed in this regard. Now the officials say that not all of those tools are reliable, but the ones that come in paid or premium versions are better than the free web scrapers.

In 2016, Congress had passed the first legislation to target the bad bots and favor the good bots. The Better Online Ticket Sales (BOTS) Act was formed which banned the use of illegal software that could target the websites, damaging their search engine ranks and destroying their businesses. There're matters of fairness. For instance, LinkedIn has spent lots of money on the tools that block or eliminate bad bots and encourage good bots. As the courts have been trying to decide the legality of web scraping, the companies are having their data stolen.