“Data is the new gold.” – Mark Cuban.

Mark Cuban is a successful American billionaire with outstanding investments in several sectors. Whether healthcare, sports, or cryptocurrency, Mark Cuban can’t miss a profitable opportunity.

Numerous times he stressed the importance of data-driven decisions. Nowadays, factual and verifiable data fuels analytics to give invaluable market insights. A 2016 survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers reveals the shift in UK executive big decision-making, leaning towards data-driven decisions in the near future. Five years later, Forbes reported how UPS and Netflix, among others, successfully improved their business operations via data analysis.

Data-driven decisions can help your business thrive. But the process requires careful and thoughtful implementation. This article outlines several things you should know about online data gathering.

What is online data gathering?

Social sciences and statistics divide data into quantitative and qualitative categories. Quantitative data comes from numbers, values, and quantities. Meanwhile, qualitative data is descriptive, frequently providing in-depth insights into a single consumer experience. Each has pros and cons but can be combined in an exhaustive data analysis.

For example, quantitative data provides insights into mass behavior. How well do your clients respond to a specific ad on your website? Do they like it black, blue, or purple? It’s excellent for running A and B tests. Simultaneously, qualitative data illuminates more personal reactions. It provides a better understanding of consumer psychology and decision-making dynamics. Furthermore, qualitative data points are more exhaustive, consisting of lengthy answers, and not constrained by survey limitations.

Online data also is quantitative or qualitative. Knowing which data you require for specific process improvement will save you time and human resources for more relevant research. For example, qualitative data reveals how well your website visitors react to its structure. Meanwhile, if you want to know whether people like a particular service feature (remember the Windows 8 start menu feature failure), it’s best to read qualitative first-hand impressions.

How can you collect online data?

There are many ways to collect online data. The five most common methods are:

  • Marketing analytics;
  • Data marketplaces;
  • Web scraping;
  • Surveys and questionnaires;
  • Transactional data.

Further, we will focus on web scraping because it is becoming one of the most popular ways to gather online data. What’s more, web scraping allows the collection of both qualitative and quantitative online data.

Web scraping explained

Web scraping is a method for extracting valuable data from websites. Nowadays, most businesses have websites. Consumers often visit online review sites before making purchases. Product rating sites separate the good from the bad. And LinkedIn profiles give the best insights into human recourse statistics.

It’s no surprise that many companies specialize in web scraping services. Public online data from retail giants like Amazon, Walmart, and Apple Store, provides invaluable insights into pricing, product placement, and consumer needs. Web scraping is a legitimate and effective method to gather such data in an organized format. Here’s the list of web scraping benefits:

  • Efficient price comparison;
  • Much faster than manual labor;
  • Allows working with Big Data;
  • Ensures data accuracy;
  • Cost-friendly method;
  • Improves investment decisions.

Let’s take Amazon as an illustrative example. Let’s say you have an idea for an exceptional board game but have little idea of production costs VS revenue. You could go to Amazon.com and spend hours and days reading through reviews, comparing prices, and evaluating similar ideas.

On the other hand, you can deploy web scraping to gather this data automatically in an organized file. You can separate reviews by keywords – for example, co-op board games, 2-4 players, fantasy board games, etc. – to get the most relevant ones. Then you can filter the results by their cost. You’ll get a preliminary idea of your board game price. The possibilities are endless.

Scraping private data might result in lawsuits and reputational damages

As effective as data scraping is, there are a few more things you should know before using it.

Due to several misuses of data scraping, it has been given a bad name. Even though scraping data is perfectly legal, it must remain within ethical and lawful boundaries. The main issue arises from public VS private information.

Even though people share a lot of personal information online, most of it cannot be used for data scraping. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram data may be publicly available, but it’s nevertheless personal. Due to a lack of governmental regulations, it’s possible to gather it without involving law enforcement. However, it may cause tremendous damage to a company’s reputation. Cambridge Analytica, a now bankrupt British political consulting firm, had to close down after gathering 50 million Facebook personal user data.

It’s best to avoid gathering any personally identifiable data. When you prepare to scrape publicly available data from a specific web page, check its ToS regarding data gathering. Some websites provide helpful data for aggregation, and it’s the best way to ensure you won’t cross any ethical lines in improving your business decision-making.


To summarize, online data-driven decisions prove to be a practical improvement tool. Moreover, data scraping technology allows easy and affordable online data gathering. Using it correctly will help you save both time and human resources and increase the chances of a successful investment.

Linda Mosley is an editor and a copywriter who specializes in technology and business niches. She tries to understand the ways of working and the effectiveness behind those topics mechanisms which would benefit the community with a passion for knowledge in the tech sector.

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