Amazon Scraping Tool – There are some things you need to know when using these tools. There are many types of product scrapers on the web that utilizes Amazon to get the data. But basically, only two of them exists: API or Screen Scraping. Both has their own strength and weaknesses. So make sure you know what you want before digging your wallet to buy the software as these kind of software are not cheap. They are expensive because the software have to work up-to-date.
Amazon Scraping API Software
In this type of software, the programmers use API (Application Programming Interface) to communicate with Amazon server in order to query the data from. In order to get the data, you must have Amazon credentials, such as Associate Tag, Secret Key, and Access Key which you will get when you have successfully signed up with their Merchant Account or Affiliate Account. The Associate Account is free, however you need to have a website and it needs to be approved in order to work, whereas the merchant account is not free. You must paid to have the account as it is used to sell products on Amazon.
The strength of using this tool is, it’s faster to get the data from. If you only need certain amount of data, since API doesn’t return all the data. And sometimes, the critical data cannot be returned using API. The drawback using API are:
- Limited Time
You are limited to certain amount of data per hour. So you need to wait for an hour before continuing. If not, you need to subscribe to a more expensive web apps and uses multiple accounts or using premium account in order to avoid this kind of limitation. The good thing about web apps is: you don’t need to download any files to your computer and just run it on your browser. So you are bound to the internet connection only.
- Limited Data
You can only get certain amount of data using API, which basically just get the data which has been defined by Amazon server. If you need other data, you might want to consider other type of product scraper.
- Installation is painful
If you are using free software, it’s even more painful since you have to know programming mumbo jumbo such as python or php in order to crawl products from Amazon. Github is your best resource for free tool, but the learning curve is very steep. You might better off using paid software and eliminated the learning curve and just focus on making money instead of learning programming language.
Amazon Screen Scraping
Screen scraping was made popular because of the ability to get what the browser user get. It just get what Amazon serve to regular users, not for programmer. You will see some difference of the data between web scraping using screen scraping and API.
This kind of Amazon data extraction software makes it easier for user to get certain price of certain country, since Amazon serves many different prices for each country. Which makes some people headache because of the price differences across countries. However, for dropshippers, this is a great data to work on because many times they are operating within only one country, their country where they reside. User can also get customer reviews using screen scraper, or extract other data which is not available using API such as prime status, URL, or storefront data for spying other competitors. The drawback of using screen scraping are:
You need to download the Amazon scraper software to your computer. Beware of cracks and nulled programs since they often have malware and viruses. No free lunch, you either get free software but have bunch of malwares and risk your computer data being exposed on the web, or pay the software to support for updates and peace of mind as there is no viruses and malwares.
- Limited to speed
If using API is limited to data and time, using desktop software are limited to speed. You will have to either lower the speed or using multiple proxies and IP to handle the job as Amazon will show captchas and blocks scrapers which gets their major retailer USA lead generation from Amazon server.
Some of the amazon product scraper software that I know are: OpenCart Pro, ScrapingExpert, WebHarvy, and ZonASINHunter. These software has their own limitation so be sure to read for reviews and their sales page to get to know them. I recommend you buy best software that I know: ZonASINHunter (http://zonasinhunter.com) which is a scraper tool to extract product accurately from Amazon using hybrid web / API client. It uses screen scraping for data and API for using UPC and EAN codes to supplement the standard scraper with functionality in order to extra data.
The data you need to use Amazon scraping tool are specifically: reviews, price, prime, and ASIN number. A capability to get storefront data, best seller in categories and spy on competitors would be great. If you don’t want to buy aggregate data software, you can learn to build your own script using python or php. However, you must not making simple requests extracting responses, but for small project, you can download code from GitHub. Just keep ahead of others doing the same is the key of success, although no software is created the same.