Data is the new oil — Clive Humby
Refining meaningful data and directing it towards a transactional value is the core idea of a successful business in the digital age. Web scraping is one of the methods via which you can gather meaningful and rich data.
Business ideas around web scraping can be fundamentally divided into two parts:
- Services business ideas
- Product business ideas
Both types have their pros and cons. Below is a list of all the different types and niches web scraping business ideas can be explored.
Services business ideas
Service business ideas are of two types:
1. Business to business development services - Build web scrapers for companies per requirement.
A business model similar to web development agencies where the focus is on the companies and entrepreneurs who are on the lookout for development services. Lead generation paves the way for sales and conversions.
In the USA, B2B web development industry is worth $40 billion in 2021. [Source] The rate at which digitalization has followed in recent times, growth of the internet and development services will go hand in hand.
Google & Facebook ad networks and cold outreach are popular campaigns that help in lead generation.
2. Business to business maintenance services - Maintaining the existing web scrapers
The large networks of existing bots are based on web scraping that requires periodic maintenance and refining data structures. Companies like Tata consultancy services, Wipro work on contract projects worth millions on similar maintenance services.
Both types of B2B business work on high volume and low margins business types.
Products business ideas
Products can be of various types serving different benefits to the target audience. Out of all potential ideas, here are some that are certainly worth exploring.
1. A Search Engine
A search engine that scrapes the internet for specific information. As all problems have solutions, for niche problems based on geography, social demographics are where the solutions are yet to be found. Niching down can be where the audience can be found and retained.
- A search engine for best deals across the London
- A search engine for all shopping websites in California
These are niche search engines examples. Monetization can always follow once users are there.
2. Mobile Applications
Mobile applications have been grown at the rate of 45% between 2016 and 2019.
A web scraping application called Flipboard has 500,000,000+ downloads over the play store and ranks 42 for the news section of the app store.
A similar web scraping application Feedly has been installed over 5,000,000 times over the play store and ranks 88 for the news section of the app store.
With the rise in automation, applications that allow the collection of useful data should become mainstream. Here are a few examples of mobile application business ideas:
- Marketing updates mobile app
- Corn industry updates mobile app
3. Comparison websites
Cars24.com is a car comparison website and its valuation is $1.84B as of Jun 2021. The company started as a car comparison website and later pivoted into selling old car services.
Another company called Cardekho.com has a valuation of $725 million as of June 2021. They started as a car comparison website and later pivoted into b2b car vendors.
GSMarena.com has monthly traffic of 72 million users per month. GSMArena too started as a mobile comparison website.
Niche industries have immense potential as comparison websites. Examples of a few business ideas around comparison websites are:
- Medical center comparison website
- State benefits comparison website
- Gadgets comparison website
Affiliate partnerships, sponsorship, and ads make the revenue model of such comparison websites.
4. Jobs board
HR industry has a market size of $17.6billion in 2020. While building SaaS-based HR tools is complex, developing a jobs aggregator website that scrapes jobs of different websites, and filters them based on options based on location, remote condition, US sponsorship is relatively easy with web app tools available.
Lynne Tye of Key Values bootstrapped her jobs board to $350k in annual revenues after launching in September 2017.
With the rise in remote work and companies still looking to find the optimum channel, there is immense potential in the recruitment industry.
5. News website
People's daily need for social updates makes the news industry a high traffic volume industry for businesses and media houses.
Aggregating news via web scraping across broadcasting websites and presenting them over a website is a sustainable idea. Some examples of websites based on web scraping are:
- Dailyhunt.com: A news aggregator website has a valuation of $3 billion as of August 2021
- Volv Media does web scarping and present them as a 9s news bullet
Advertisement, sponsorship & subscription services make the revenue model of news and broadcasting websites.
Social media platforms and search engines direct the majority of the traffic to media websites.
6. Competitor tracking
A SaaS tool that allows you to track websites, social media updates, etc across the internet and deliver timely updates.
There are channel-specific solutions available. For example:
- Sprout Social: The tool allows you to watch your competition on social media
- SEMRush: The tool helps you analyze your competition regarding content and keywords
- Mail charts: Track your competitor's email campaigns
However, there is not a tool that does it across multiple platforms. There is a need and opportunity for all the businesses out there in the competitor tracking niche.
With many companies starting their digital journeys recently, competitor tracking products should be on the rise in demand moving forward.
7. Social listening tool
Internet comes with the power that there are topics that can go viral. As a business, such trends make an interesting way to market the product.
Giving updates about the rise in trends over different social media platforms is an opportunity for entrepreneurs. A SaaS product that updates the companies about the next big trend and viral methods.
Some products around the idea are:
- SparkToro: A SaaS tool that tells what the audience reads, watches, listens to, and follows
- Falcon: A social media scheduler that also lets to listen to trending topics over platforms
8. Lead generation
LinkedIn and Facebook are powerful platforms. Professionals have built their businesses over these platforms. There is massive reach and potential of Facebook and LinkedIn.
A web scraping tool to find the relevant information and presents them as leads via spreadsheets. Generally, contact information like job titles, email addresses, and other information make the majority of scraping data. Web scraping bots go through the entire database and deliver timely updates.
There are tools available that build on the same idea. But with 40% of the global population still having no internet access, the industry will continue growing as more professionals come online.
Some examples of businesses that are based on scraping websites for lead generation are:
- Phantom Buster: Scrape all the available data from LinkedIn profiles
- LimeLeads: Real-Time Email Validation
9. SEO tracking tool
SEO tools that help you track your website performance over time and give best practices tips are in great demand. SEO tools are evergreen products that every digital company needs as far as marketing goes.
SEMRush received funding of $40m in August 2018 and since then the company has gone IPO in march 2021 with a market cap of $3.42billion.
A few SEO tools examples are:
- Ahrefs - A SaaS tool that helps you monitor content, plan keywords, and track websites
- SEOSurfer.com - A SaaS tool that allows you to optimize your content as per keywords
- Answer the Public - A tool that helps generate a massive list of questions from any keyword set
- Small SEO tool - A collection of 100 small SEO tools for professionals
As more businesses understand the role of organic traction through search engines via SEO, the industry will continue to rise. There are services and products just based on search engine optimization.
Large competition is one of the cons.
10. Online reputation management tool
Online reputation determines how others perceive your business when they search for or stumble upon it online. Consequently, online reputation management (ORM) proactively influences what information people will find about a business or a celebrity.
Online reputation management is estimated at $208.68 Million in 2020 and predicted to double in the next half-decade.
A growing pattern is observed on public platforms like Twitter and Reddit. With growth expected to double in the next 5 years, it is an opportunity to invest and capture a market share.
Some examples of ORM tools are:
- Social Mention: A tool that allows you to monitor social mentions across social media platforms
- Awario: A tool that helps you monitor brand mentions across the web
ORM product generally works in tandem with an ORM service. Hence, B2B approach will produce a sustainable business model for such products.
11. Sports data statistics website
Data analysis across sports market size is estimated at USD 885.0 million in 2020 and predicted to reach USD 3.4 billion in 2028.
Collecting data from sports websites and presenting it in an analytical format can have professional use. Football clubs and professional athletes can be a good target audience for the product.
Subscription and enterprise models lead the monetization across the data analytics industry.
Some prominent examples of data analytics websites are:
- Transfer Market: The football website for transfers, market values, rumors, and stats.
- Who Scored: WhoScored brings you to live scores, match results, and player ratings from the top football leagues and competitions.
- Soccer Stats: The website features football statistics, league tables, standings and ladders, and results analysis on national and international soccer competitions
Presenting the data in a report and offering consultation services can be part of the product as more and more professionals want to use data analysis as part of their on-field success strategy.
12. Online game reviews
Gaming is the most lucrative entertainment industry by far, worth $145.7b in 2019, compared to $42.5b in Box Office earnings and $20.2b for Music.
With the rise in online gaming, review sites play an important role for gaming companies getting the name out. It serves as an input for the user as well.
Gaming websites like:
- PC Gamer - Publishes gaming reviews and content has 25+ million per month
- GameSpot.com publishes content around gaming which includes reviews has 80+ million monthly traffic
A website that scraps reviews of games across the internet and publishes them in the form of blogs should see a rise. There are over 932 million games as of 2021. Games list based on reviews, genre, attribution will make up a useful website.
Affiliate partnerships, ads, and sponsorships make the monetization model of such businesses.
13. Crypto Prices App
With the interest around cryptocurrency rising and the introduction of blockchain networks like NFT and others, the crypto market is a high-risk, but also high reward industry to work in.
Some price display apps are Coin Market Cap, Robinhood, and Coin Base. Different filters to control the data presented can be a good base for future services like in-app trading, crypto wallet among others.
With over 100 million users crypto has more users than most internet platforms. Also, A market cap of $1.92trillion, makes Crypto an interesting industry to work in.
14. Movie reviews website
A website that scrapes all the positive and negative reviews over the internet and publishes them on the website.
Also, a newsletter to build a customer database where the most recent and popular movies reviews are shared.
A few examples of movie review websites are:
- Taste.io - A movie review website where people post reviews and get movies recommended on taste
- suggestmemovie.com - A web-based film recommendation service
Sponsorship support, advertisement, and subscription make the monetization model.
15. Report of most sold products over Amazon/Etsy
Amazon database can be such a decision-making asset. For example, understanding what kind of products gets sold the most during the Halloween season can have such a financial impact on business and individuals alike.
The data based on most sold products, most reviewed products, etc over Amazon and Etsy could be compiled as reports and sold for a few hundred dollars per piece. Amazon sellers, entrepreneurs, and marketers are the target audience for such reports.
Some examples of websites in the niche are:
- Jungle Scout: Provides Amazon data and helps businesses with selling on Amazon
- Helium 10: Provide data of Amazon and have a b2b business helping sell over Amazon
Such reports could be combined with B2B services over the amazon seller account to increase the revenue per user.
Web scraping is all about understanding that data can have a meaningful transactional value. With the advent of big data and the lack of tools to filter quality information out, web scraping is one of the most efficient methods to cultivate rich data sets.
Once structured data is available, possibilities are endless. From launching b2b services to products that can potentially change the way we perceive the internet.