You probably heard of content aggregation as many companies build their business around it. For example, Alltop.com, a household content aggregator, aggregates news posts from various sources all over the world and then presents the most relevant topics to its audience.
Apart from news aggregators like Alltop, some other use cases of content aggregation are:
- Sentiment analysis: collect reviews or comments from forums or social media platforms. Eventually, they discover insights by analyzing the sentiment from extracted text and get back to their quality assurance departments to improve products effectively.
- Niche content aggregation: Instead of covering a wide variety of topics, some websites target one single perspective with vertical solutions. In fact, the best content aggregator sites are well known at a certain niche and become the go-to sites in their fields.
- Government policies research: The government constantly updates or revises regulations which leave a great impact on business entities. Some companies scout policies, grants, and press releases on a recurring basis, then send newsletters to their subscribers after handpicking relevant content.
That’s not all. Content aggregators actually are in every aspect of our lives. Take Triptadvisor as an example, it’s another use case of content aggregation. It aggregates things around trips and vacations like a search engine.
As a new business model, content aggregation is certainly the new black that makes us raring to try. As a data expert, I thought it’d be useful to share what we think about things that make Alltop alike businesses so successful, and as an entrepreneur how can you set yourself up for success.
First of all, you are probably wondering what makes content aggregation so irresistible? That is because the marginal cost to serve users is incredibly low. It probably will take more than 3 million dollars to open up a physical publication store in downtown New York City, but it takes none on the internet.
Despite its fancy glow around the idea of content aggregation, there are some challenges you may need to take into consideration before make any business decisions:
Too many to choose from
When it comes to content aggregation, we will need to stream the information from a wide range of sources. Let’s come back to the Alltop example, it connects with the TechCrunch, NPR news, Mashable, Reddit News, and other 10 publishers. It also includes 8 genres that covers almost 30 topics. One well known aggregator came to us with a problem statement that they planned to scale up to collect content from over 3,000 web sites on a weekly basis, but their in-house dev team was no longer capable of manual scripting for all of them.
Luckily, it is manageable with technology but a lot of companies still remain traditional means of aggregation — having programmers to develop crawlers.
I’ve met a prospect who had his own developing team for scraping car sales information for hedge fund analysis. He worked out all processes from setting up scraping agencies, data cleaning to API connection. However, he finally couldn’t manage to proceed as he ran into a technical issue which often happens when there’s a load of sources — timelessness . As a result, they stuck with one website of 3 million pages.
Yes, that’s plenty of work that intimidates many brilliant people from winning big! This is how scraping service comes into play which I will dive deeper later in this article.
Too fast to keep up with
Timeliness is crucial to daily news and other digital goods. It’s almost inevitable to update your sources faster to keep the audience on track within their fields. To do so, we need to schedule the extractions to match up with the updates, and then process the scraping from multiple sites all in once.
Task scheduling: We can set a schedule to execute the extraction on its own which saves the labor work from checking the updates. However, it doesn’t mean that we can set the time as we like. The chances are if the target website updates information less often, a short time span between each run will impose an unnecessary burden on the server. Vice versa, for those which get updated every minute, we probably need to coordinate with a short time interval in case of any incomplete extraction.
Likewise, parallel extraction usually gets involved in large scope projects. It’s simply a means of fetching the data with multiple threads of agents working simultaneously in the cloud. Imagine, how efficient it can be with ten servers processing one single site at once.
Last but not least, a seamless connection to the system infrastructure is the norm for companies nowadays. API actually links service providers and makes more sophisticated engagement possible. Once you possess the data, it’s time to synchronize the database with an API and introduce them to your audience through a Content Management System like WordPress.
Given the fact that most of the content contributors value “timeliness” the most, it is essential to minimize data latency. This requires the API possessing a high throughput capacity to transfer the data at a high speed, ideally real-time synchronization.
So here is how Octoparse can help your business
Octoparse successfully served a great number of large-scale companies and helped them to conquer the challenges. Not to mention its enterprise-grade customer services, it stands out as the best web scraping provider with the most leading web scraping technology.Let me walk you through some prominent features:
An intelligent web scraper that makes loads of websites aggregation easier:
Besides scraping services, Octoparse is also an intelligent scraping platform. It will generate a visual workflow after copy-and-paste the website urls within a few clicks. Once you get used to their automation system, web scraping is like a child’s play. One of the clients has setted up over 2000 scraping agencies within a week!
Task scheduling and parallel extraction in the cloud
Octoparse processes web scraping in the cloud servers which allow the extraction much faster. This consists two steps:
Task scheduling, once we are clear about the update frequency, we can then group the agencies with similar updates to monitor the process much easier.
Apart from that, Octoparse allows unlimited add-on cloud servers to cope with scalable scraping needs. More servers means there will be more processors working on the scraping task. That being said, once aggregation scope reaches its ceiling, they can scale as you grow.
Together, task scheduling and parallel extraction makes a perfect combo for enterprise-level content aggregation. With these gear sets equipped, you can achieve millions of data extraction from over 300 websites on a daily basis with a piece of cake.
High throughput API integration for a near real-time synchronization
As of the API integration, Octoparse can achieve exporting while scraping in the cloud. This allows an instant sync between two endpoints which makes content aggregation much more efficient. Currently, Octoparse API supports 3 databases including SqlServer, MySql and Oracle
These are just some ideas about how content aggregation can utilize big data to make fortune with web scraping being a crucial part of the solution. We thought you can benefit from web scraping and do the same thing. No matter what challenges you’ve experienced in the content aggregation, we are here to help you discover the right strategy to guarantee your success. For more information contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or sign up today!