Craigslist Scraping

15 Sep

As you may already know, web scraping is a term that describes the process of extracting and processing large amounts of data from the Internet.

Web scraping can be very useful for data scientists, SEO engineers or anybody who analyzes extensive datasets. However, scraping the web is not easy at all, at least not always. Some websites are easier to scrape, while others require great skills.

Craigslist is one of the most difficult websites to scrape, but you already know this if you have googled ‘scraping Craigslist Reddit’. So, we advise you to prepare for a long and difficult journey.

Why Would You Need Craigslist Data?

There are a number of people who scrape Craigslist for a variety of reasons. We can distinguish two main reasons for scraping this website: personal and commercial.

Personal reasons

A lot of people scrape Craigslist for personal goals.

For instance, you might want to find an apartment to rent. Scraping all of the listings will help you learn about all the available options. Isn’t this much faster than browsing city by city and sorting through data?

When you scrape all the postings, you will have a detailed list of apartments and be able to make a better decision faster.

But you are not limited to apartments, of course. You can do this with furniture, cars and other high-value items as well.

Commercial purposes

These are some of the commercial purposes of scraping Craigslist:

Reselling items

You can scrape the website to find hot items, buy them and then sell them for more money. However, this is very risky and in the gray area, so we don’t advise you to do this.

Lead generation

The ‘Wanted’ section of Craigslist is full of potential leads. You can easily scrape this section and find people who are looking for the things you may be able to provide. When you find the right person, contact them and offer your services.

Determining the price

If you are looking to sell an item that is popular on Craigslist, scrape the data to see the range of prices people pay for it. Then, simply offer it for slightly less money.

Spying on competitors

Scraping Craigslist is useful if you want to find out what keywords your competitors use in their listings. When you borrow keywords from your competitors, you will stand much better chances to sell your item.

Is Scraping Craigslist Legal?

The Craigslist website is set up in such a way that it is very difficult to scrape. Its API is created for people to post data, not to pull it. Therefore, you can post your data in bulk on Craigslist, but you can’t easily download large amounts of data from it.

In addition, Craigslist scraping policy is very strict. The website has used a number of technological and legal methods to prevent unauthorized scraping, linking to or accessing postings for commercial purposes.

As the matter of fact, in April 2017, Craigslist obtained a $60.5 million judgment against one real estate listings website.

However, you can get around this obstacle. Even though scraping is against Craigslist terms, if you do it carefully and for personal use, it is highly unlikely that you will have any troubles.

So, if you are planning a high-profile takedown and sell the scraped data or use it commercially, you may want to rethink it. But in case you only need the data for yourself, you should be fine.

Python Craigslist

There are a lot of Craigslist scraper software tools that people use, such as Scrapy. In addition, people use the Python programming language and its libraries to scrape not only Craigslist but many other websites.

However, whatever software you use, make sure that you:

  • check the website’s Terms and Conditions
  • don’t request the data from the website too aggressively as this may break the website
  • revisit the website and rewrite your code if the layout of the website changes

Craigslist Proxies

You may be wondering why you would need proxies to scrape Craigslist. Actually, the answer is very simple.

When you are using a Craigslist scraper, you are sending a high number of requests in a short time. When the Craigslist website server detects this, not only will it prevent you from scraping but it will also block your IP. This means that you will not be able to access the website any longer.

In addition, your IP address reveals your location and your identity, so if you perform scraping aggressively and get identified, Craigslist may even take legal steps against you.

However, there is a perfect solution – Craigslist proxies. They will hide your IP and allow you to remain anonymous while scraping. Moreover, when you use rotational proxies, you will be able to make a large number of requests because the proxies are constantly rotating.

So, in the end, it is up to you. Are you going to fear getting blocked or scrape Craigslist freely? If you choose the latter, contact GeoSurf today to get your Craigslist proxies.

  • hridoy
    Posted at 08:52h, 20 April Reply

    this ip is good for craigslist

Post A Comment