How to Choose a Web Scraping Service : The Pricing vs Cost Dilemma

“That’s an expensive web scraping service compared to the other options we have.”

I hear this conundrum almost every day.

Technically, price refers to the actual amount of money that a client or a consumer has to spend to get his hands on a certain product or service. On the other hand, cost refers to the amount paid to produce a product or service before is it marketed or sold to its potential consumers.

If you have a large web scraping project, you should seriously consider the cost associated with the project. If pricing is your biggest and only concern while opting for a web scraping service, you’re leaving a lot of stuff on the table. Most people simply don’t understand the distinction between price and cost. Following are the ways through which web scraping projects can amass a huge amount of cost, varyingly from 2X to 15X the pricing in case you don’t choose the right vendor.

The manpower to get data?

Even if you hired a vendor, you’ll still need to use programmers to get the data the way you need it. You will be needing people for doing Q&A checks.  This is a cost for the company and it can range from $50K to $120K for a  developer depending on the country and the company.

The Investment in Technology

How to Choose a Web Scraping Service : The Pricing vs Cost Dilemma

If you’re not using a data as a service vendor, you’ll need to invest in technology to get data for your needs. It can be a daunting task to build and maintain this. If you have set up systems that convert what the vendor gave you into useful data (The way you need it), it can cost you anywhere from $5000 – $30000 per month depending on the scale.  

The Risk Factor

There are a few risks involved in choosing a web scraping vendor. What if your vendor got acquired and asks you to switch? Either you’ll have to find a new vendor or setup everything from scratch using an in-house team. Doing the former is no easy task. All the vendors will be having different workflows and technologies. You need to make sure the new vendor’s technology is fitting the existing systems. The cost of switching to a vendor or setting up in-house systems( not price) can be anywhere from $200K to millions of dollars.

Also read: Kimono Labs Acquisition Leaves Devs Hanging

We often see companies claim that their web scraping service is less expensive than their competitor’s. This questions the credibility of the claim if the consumer doesn’t know the actual cost of the product. The one secret most web scraping companies won’t ever tell us is the cost of their data. So if we are unaware of the original cost of the product/data/service, we might actually end up paying more for something that looks inexpensive compared to the other services in the market.

Conclusively, even if you subscribe to a low-cost web scraping service, the end cost may actually turn out to be high for you, since you are not being told about the actual cost of the data. If your web scraping service provider doesn’t communicate with you, consider it as a red flag. The cost of a project can end up from 3X and soar to 15X the pricing if you don’t choose the right vendor.

Try out Datahut for your web scraping project.  We’re transparent and we’ll tell you the end costs involved upfront. Our competitors might beat us on price, but never on cost.

About Datahut

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