Future - Scrape (FUTURE)
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Security providers have been improving their solutions significantly. In past years, only the top players leveraged browser fingerprints (browser checks). Nowadays, it is becoming an industry standard. We have seen a big boom in AI in recent years, and this is now also being adopted in the bot detection industry. AI plays a significant role in analyzing the validity of browser fingerprints, request features, and finding suspicious visitor patterns in website traffic. With this being said, modern web scraping is carried out by automating browsers. Of course, there are sites you can scrape without a browser. However, these sites are becoming less common.
LinkedIn has had a problem with web scraping for quite some time, even if it's done for business, such as in the case of hiQ. This brought LinkedIn and hiQ to a dispute in 2017, with LinkedIn claiming hiQ's systematic scraping violated its Terms of Service and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, and HiQ rejected the wrongdoings as the scraped data was open and public. So after six years, it's finally settled.
However, later that same year, in October, the court issued another decision, this time siding with LinkedIn. First, in August 2022, hiQ notified the court it was no longer in business (very much as a result of being forbidden from scraping LinkedIn this whole time), which eliminated the need for accessing LinkedIn user data (as well as the court's permission for it). And just a few months later (and a few weeks after another batch of scraped LinkedIn user data showed up on the dark web), the court determined that hiQ violated LinkedIn's Terms of Service. This means that while hiQ did not breach the criminal law (CFAA), it breached a contract (created by the acceptance of LinkedIn's Terms of Service). The settlement required $500,000 in payment to LinkedIn and the destruction of scraped data.
Meanwhile, some things never change: tech giants keep sending C&D letters, suing smaller web scraping companies, and winning. In summer 2022, Meta filed two Terms of Service-based lawsuits against web scraping companies: Octopus for offering scraping services for hire and Mystalk for creating clone sites using scraped data. Later in the autumn this year, Meta won two lawsuits from back in 2020 against BrandTotal and Unimania, both of which offered marketing intelligence solutions based on scraped social media data.
All of Meta's lawsuits have similar requirements expecting the web scraping companies or individuals to be banned from scraping Facebook and Instagram data, stop profiting from collected data, and, of course, pay up. Most likely, Meta will continue with its devotion to anti-scraping measures in the coming year (both technically and legally). The company has already taken 300+ enforcement actions against people and entities that scrape at scale, and started the new year with a new lawsuit against Voyager Labs.
Providing high-quality scraped data is the new normal. A prime example of this might be Bright Data's launch of pre-made datasets. The question now is: what else can you offer besides scraped data This brings us to trend no.2.
Besides the usual well-known names, there have been some new introductions to the market. There have been many new launches (ZenRows, The Codery API, ScrapeIN', Windmill, Browse AI), rebrandings (CrawlBase), and even unexpected players entering the game (web automation from Cloudflare, the arch-nemesis of all scraper bots).
Merging scraped Instagram data with videos from open surveillance cameras, artist Dries Depoorter turned scraping Instagram into an art project and made web scraping into a Saturday brunch conversati