Best Data Collection Companies

By Dusan Vasic November 3, 2021

It’s an unwritten requirement of any modern business that you need to have an online presence. Depending on the industry the business is operating in, a range of data sets may be required to analyze potential prospects, performance, or the market.

Companies offering data collection tools provide smart solutions for gathering large amounts of information from various online platforms and transforming them into an easily readable format. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at companies that offer web-scraping tools that help you export and organize readily available information from the internet.

5 Best Data Collection Companies

  • Over 80 premade data collectors
  • Multiple API integrations
  • Real-time data collection
  • Cost
Price pay-as-you-go
Learn More
  • Includes a free plan
  • Unlimited plans
  • User-friendly UI
  • Steep learning curve
Price $75/mo
Learn More
  • Proxy servers
  • Great learning resources
  • Data streamlining
  • No premade crawlers
Price $50/mo
Learn More
  • Dropbox integration
  • Processing dropdowns, tabs, and popups
  • Attribute extraction
  • Limited pages with the free version
Price $149/mo
Learn More
  • Cloud-based extraction
  • IP rotation
  • Pay-as-you-go pricing structure
  • Credit system
Price $40/5,000 credits
Learn More

Why Use Web-Scraping Software?

In the age of information technology, data is arguably the world’s most precious resource. Rough estimates suggest that the world wide web contains somewhere around five million terabytes of data, including the deep web. Bearing that in mind, you can see why manually finding necessary information on a single website can be a daunting task, especially if you require it from enormous websites like Amazon, YouTube, or Booking.com.

That’s where web-scraping software will help you quickly gather information and sort it into a meaningful format. It’s not just for large Fortune 500 companies; various much smaller businesses can also significantly benefit from collecting data. You can use this software for market research, sentiment analysis, price, content, and news monitoring. Starting a new project and developing a strategy for its launch is much easier if you know that the target audience will be receptive to the product you’re creating.

No matter what industry you operate in, you’ll find such software valuable. You can process a lot of information, export results as JSON, CSV, or Excel files, and integrate with your in-house software solutions with APIs provided by these data companies.

Now it’s time to analyze several companies that offer ready-to-use local and cloud-based solutions. These are incredibly convenient, as you don’t have to worry about your IP getting blocked, nor will you have to spend hours coding the software.

1. Bright Data

" Best overall "

Bright Data logo
  • Industries:
    Social media, retail, eCommerce, hospitality, travel, business information services, marketplaces, news, finance
  • Export data format:
    JSON, CSV, Excel
  • API:
    Yes
  • Platform:
    Web-based application
  • Price range:
    pay-as-you-go

Things we liked / disliked:

  • Over 80 premade data collectors
  • Multiple API integrations
  • Real-time data collection
  • Cost

Things we liked / disliked:

  • Over 80 premade data collectors
  • Multiple API integrations
  • Real-time data collection
  • Cost
  • Industries:
    Social media, retail, eCommerce, hospitality, travel, business information services, marketplaces, news, finance
  • Export data format:
    JSON, CSV, Excel
  • API:
    Yes
  • Platform:
    Web-based application
  • Price range:
    pay-as-you-go

Bright Data (formerly Luminati Network) is the go-to data collection company for more than 10,000 customers, including Fortune 500 companies, small businesses, and university research institutions. That’s not surprising, as the company provides comprehensive and cost-effective data gathering solutions with its Data Collector.

We liked Data Collector’s ability to react to any changes during the scanning process. Most sites use various blocking methods if they detect an increased number of requests from the same IP address. Data Collector efficiently avoids this by using proxies enabled by Bright Data’s multitude of data centers across the world. No matter what type of collector you’re using, all of them benefit from Bright Data’s extensive network of IPs. Because of that, your data collection is not at risk of being stopped or compromised. Furthermore, the software adjusts to any changes made on the website.

There are a few methods you can use to start collecting data. You can use the premade collectors for multiple categories that Bright Data’s software solution includes. They already cover a wide array of different use cases like social media, eCommerce websites, travel-related services, news, finance, and business. Of course, it’s up to you what information you want to gather from those websites. For instance, you can collect product information from Amazon based on a URL or a keyword and use the information for your market analytics.

By using the Data Collector browser extension, you can create custom collectors for any website. By selecting elements directly from the webpage, you pick information that the crawler will focus on.

Suppose you haven’t found an appropriate premade solution for your data collection. In that case, Bright Data offers you the option to develop your own within the company’s data collection tool. Of course, this is designed for those who are coding-proficient. If your team doesn’t include any IT professionals, there’s no need to worry, as you can request a custom collector directly from Bright Data.

When you decide on a collector, you can see how the results look when formatted as a CSV file or JSON. Furthermore, data can be exported in an Excel file, allowing for more advanced data analytics to be performed with the results from the web-scraping software.

Data Collector is a tool that will save you resources and time while reducing the cost of gathering data. You can define the intervals at which your information is collected, so you can also get real-time updates.

Data Collector has multiple API integrations that can help you better streamline the process, and you can find a bunch of helpful documentation on the company’s website.

If you decide to implement this web-crawling solution to better understand your consumers’ behavior or help further improve your brand, you’ll receive plenty of support from Bright Data. We liked that Bright Data offers webinars, as well as maintaining an active blog that also serves as a valuable resource for learning.

Depending on your company’s needs, you can choose between a monthly, yearly, or pay-as-you-go subscription. While Bright Data’s solution is pricier than some other options on the market, ranging from $315 to $1,800 per month with the yearly subscription, the service more than compensates for that with the results it produces.

Show more
Show less

2. Octoparse

" Best for ease of use "

octoparse logo
  • Industries:
    Social media, eCommerce, marketing, news, content, research
  • Export data format:
    CSV, Excel, JSON, HTML
  • API:
    Yes
  • Platform:
    macOS 10.10 and above; Windows 7, 8, and 10
  • Price range:
    $75 to $209/month

Things we liked / disliked:

  • Includes a free plan
  • Unlimited plans
  • User-friendly UI
  • Steep learning curve

Things we liked / disliked:

  • Includes a free plan
  • Unlimited plans
  • User-friendly UI
  • Steep learning curve
  • Industries:
    Social media, eCommerce, marketing, news, content, research
  • Export data format:
    CSV, Excel, JSON, HTML
  • API:
    Yes
  • Platform:
    macOS 10.10 and above; Windows 7, 8, and 10
  • Price range:
    $75 to $209/month

Octoparse is another web crawler that collects data from websites, organizes it into an easily readable table format, and does it without asking you to code. This software solution automates data extraction while keeping it simple with a user-friendly point-and-click interface.

Octoparse 8.1.24 can be used both locally or as a cloud-based software solution. It works on macOS 10.10 or higher and Windows 7, 8, and 10 (x64). For x32 systems, you’re advised to use the older Octoparse 7.3.0 version.

The software provides you with a comprehensive tool that can help you monitor prices, generate leads, develop marketing strategies, and even conduct research. Octoparse has 52 premade web-scraping templates, which can extract information from social media, eCommerce websites, travel-oriented services, directories, job boards, real estate websites, and other sources.

Octoparse has a simple and effective UI that makes it easy to compile data. In three simple steps, you can start the extraction process. First, you need to create a new task and enter the URL that the web crawler needs to process. When the page loads, you’ll notice that the software detects the content on the page and, by default, highlights important elements.

During the second step, it’s up to you to see if the selected features on the page align with what you need, at which point you can add and remove information. Octoparse will show you a preview of the information, and you can move columns around or delete them to exclude certain information. There are also some other valuable features like scrolling through the page to load further.

The third and final step is to run the data collection task, and you have several options there as well. You can perform the operation on your device, run it on the cloud, or schedule it for execution on the cloud later. You can find the data in your Octoparse Account once the process is completed. Octoparse can deliver your results in the following formats: CSV, Excel, HTML, and JSON.

Octoparse offers convenient features that businesses and research teams will find helpful. With proxies and IP rotation, you don’t have to worry that the website will ban your IP address. Some websites that are difficult for scraping data, like those built with AJAX and JavaScript, are easily processed by this software. Octoparse can even collect data from a login and handle infinitely scrolling webpages like some social media sites have. The software solution’s API integration can help you acquire data in real time.

Octoparse comes with a free plan that can process 10,000 records per export, offers 10 crawlers, and imposes no limitations on pages per crawl and the number of computers you use it on. The price for a Standard plan is $75 per month if billed annually, and that rises to $209 per month for the Professional plan. The Additional Data and Crawler Service packages will set you back $399 and $189 per month respectively.

Opinions on Octoparse are divided online, but in our experience it can be a helpful tool for many companies and enterprises. While it lacks the flexibility of some other software solutions, it compensates for that with its easy-to-use approach.

Show more
Show less

3. Web Scraper

" Best for affordability "

Web Scraper logo
  • Industries:
    Sales, eCommerce, retail, brand sentiment, business intelligence, marketing, business strategy
  • Export data format:
    CSV, XLSX, JSON
  • API:
    Yes
  • Platform:
    Web app, Chrome, and Firefox extension
  • Price range:
    $50 to $300/month

Things we liked / disliked:

  • Proxy servers
  • Great learning resources
  • Data streamlining
  • No premade crawlers

Things we liked / disliked:

  • Proxy servers
  • Great learning resources
  • Data streamlining
  • No premade crawlers
  • Industries:
    Sales, eCommerce, retail, brand sentiment, business intelligence, marketing, business strategy
  • Export data format:
    CSV, XLSX, JSON
  • API:
    Yes
  • Platform:
    Web app, Chrome, and Firefox extension
  • Price range:
    $50 to $300/month

Data collection services are essential, and Web Scraper is another crucial tool for analysts, market researchers, and enterprises. The company offers its software solution in the form of a browser extension and a cloud service.

Web Scraper has a simple point-and-click interface, and you can download the browser extension for Chrome and Firefox. Scraping a website involves a few steps, including creating a sitemap by adding a homepage URL. The app itself requires you to do some legwork, as you’ll have to generate selectors for subcategories and individual selectors for each type of data you need to extract. You need to set up different types of selectors, like text or link, before starting the process. You can then download the results as a CSV file.

While the browser extension is a nice solution for a free data collection tool, it’s not as user-friendly as the Web Scraper Cloud solution. There are four different paid plans ranging from $50 per month for the Project plan to $300 for the Scale plan. If you subscribe, you’ll get access to a scheduler, proxy, several export options, and the option to save the results as CSV, XLSX, and JSON files. Furthermore, the Web Scraper Cloud plan works better with dynamic websites, and you’ll also get access to the API.

 

Depending on the plan you choose, you’ll be assigned an amount of “cloud credits,” which correspond in a one-to-one ratio to the number of pages you can crawl. Our review found that only the Business and Scale plans have enough credits for comprehensive research, as they come with 50,000 and unlimited searches respectively.

Web Scraper finds its use cases with lead generation, eCommerce, retail monitoring, brand analysis, business intelligence, marketing, business strategy, and extracting statistics from large amounts of data. Unfortunately, there are no premade solutions for websites like Amazon, Facebook, eBay, Walmart, Booking, Netflix, Tripadvisor, and many others featured by the competition.

Web Scraper offers extensive documentation, video tutorials, a blog, and how-to guides that serve as excellent learning materials for its users. Furthermore, even with the free version, you can access these learning materials and speak with the community through the official forum. It’s not a bad idea to test out how the Web Scraper extension works with test sites provided by the developer, as it will help you prepare for more complicated tasks.

Show more
Show less

4. ParseHub

" Best for collecting data from complex sites "

Parsehub logo
  • Industries:
    eCommerce, sales leads, aggregating data, consultants, analysts, researchers
  • Export data format:
    JSON, CSV, Excel, Google Sheets
  • API:
    Yes
  • Platform:
    macOS, Windows, Linux
  • Price range:
    $149 to $499/month

Things we liked / disliked:

  • Dropbox integration
  • Processing dropdowns, tabs, and popups
  • Attribute extraction
  • Limited pages with the free version

Things we liked / disliked:

  • Dropbox integration
  • Processing dropdowns, tabs, and popups
  • Attribute extraction
  • Limited pages with the free version
  • Industries:
    eCommerce, sales leads, aggregating data, consultants, analysts, researchers
  • Export data format:
    JSON, CSV, Excel, Google Sheets
  • API:
    Yes
  • Platform:
    macOS, Windows, Linux
  • Price range:
    $149 to $499/month

Another data collection software option on our list is ParseHub. The application is available for macOS and Windows, and it’s the only Linux-compatible software application we tested, besides web-based software solutions.

ParseHub can find its way around complex JavaScript and AJAX-based websites, and it’s able to go through forms, dropdown menus, and even popups to find the necessary data. The application also covers websites with infinite scrolling, interactive maps, and calendars. The software uses a range of proxy servers to rotate IP addresses, thus avoiding a situation where you might be banned from accessing the website you’re analyzing.

ParseHub is a handy tool for consultants, analysts, sales leads, aggregating data, researchers, and eCommerce. Developers will also find the application convenient, as they can integrate their applications with ParseHub’s REST API and make use of scraped information.

Like the other solutions we’ve reviewed, ParseHub requires no coding; the application does the brunt of the work for you. However, there are a few steps that you need to become familiar with if you want to use the application effectively.

The program’s user interface is intuitive and doesn’t require too much time to get used to. After loading the webpage, you need to set up selectors, of which ParseHub has XPATH, CSS, and RegEx, as well as other common selectors found in website data collection solutions.

The graphic interface will effectively show you what information you’ve set up for extraction, and it may require you to take a few extra steps to properly set up the software. When you’re selecting an element from the page, the software will suggest others that it finds fitting in the same class.

You have plenty of options when it comes to accessing your scraping results, and you can sort the data into JSON, CSV, and Excel files or import them directly into Google Sheets. Anyone wanting to add further visualization options to their data can do so with Tableau; ParseHub can easily integrate with the application via CSV import or Google Sheets implementation. The API integration allows you to extract data directly to your software application, which most developers find extremely useful.

ParseHub does a great job at instructing new users on how to use the software. The company offers web courses that cover everything from basics to advanced web-scraping techniques. ParseHub has a YouTube channel with excellent video material that you’ll find quite helpful; there are step-by-step examples of how you can gather data from various sites like Reddit, Walmart, Yelp, Amazon, and many others. For those that prefer to read through instructions, ParseHub’s help center has extensive information and covers everything you might need to run the data collector successfully.

ParseHub has a free plan, which gives you an excellent opportunity to explore how you can incorporate a tool for data collection into your organization and workflow. However, we’d recommend looking into paid plans for business endeavors, as they allow for more projects and more pages per run for analysis.

Standard and Professional subscriptions go for $149 and $499 per month, and there’s a 15% discount for quarterly billing. Even though those two plans are considerably better than the Free plan, they feel somewhat limited compared to what other market research and data collection companies offer.

Show more
Show less

5. ProWebScraper

" Best pay-as-you-go solution "

Prowebscraper logo
  • Industries:
    Job boards, marketplaces, eCommerce, hospitality, stock market, news outlets
  • Export data format:
    JSON, CSV, Excel, XML
  • API:
    Yes
  • Platform:
    web-based app
  • Price range:
    $40 per 5,000 credits

Things we liked / disliked:

  • Cloud-based extraction
  • IP rotation
  • Pay-as-you-go pricing structure
  • Credit system

Things we liked / disliked:

  • Cloud-based extraction
  • IP rotation
  • Pay-as-you-go pricing structure
  • Credit system
  • Industries:
    Job boards, marketplaces, eCommerce, hospitality, stock market, news outlets
  • Export data format:
    JSON, CSV, Excel, XML
  • API:
    Yes
  • Platform:
    web-based app
  • Price range:
    $40 per 5,000 credits

ProWebScraper is a cloud-based data collecting solution. Suppose your business needs to process data found on job boards, listings, online marketplaces, hospitality services, the stock market, or the news media. In that case, you’ll find that having the ProWebScraper tool can significantly speed up your work.

ProWebScraper can be set up for any website. The web-based app has a simple point-and-click interface, and it’s capable of processing more complex websites. You can set up custom rules with XPATH, CSS, and RegEx selectors to dig up hidden info or better configure your scraping settings. You can use the pagination feature to extract the same data type from a string of pages, while chaining goes through sublinks to retrieve more data.

While ProWebScraper offers plenty of selectors and handy options, we found the lack of premade options for popular websites like Amazon, Booking, eBay, or social media websites disappointing.

Thankfully, you have several options for downloading your results; you can choose between CSV, Excel, XML, or JSON. The REST API integration with custom software is available so that the scraping tool can work seamlessly with organizations that have established software solutions. Furthermore, you can also extract high-quality images besides.

ProWebScraper has a convenient blog that covers exciting tips and valuable guides on the data collecting process. Besides that, the knowledge base covers the essentials so you can use the software without a hitch.

If you’re intrigued by the offer, you can always try out ProWebScraper for free. That offer lets you scrape information from 100 pages corresponding to 100 credits.

In terms of paid subscriptions, you can get the Active Plan for $40 per month, which will give you 5,000 credits. The credit-to-page ratio will depend on the type of scraper you use.

For the Standard scraper, you get simple information extracted from simple HTTP pages through ProWebScraper’s proxies at one credit per page. The Premium scraper is reserved for major sites like Amazon and Yelp, as they have more JavaScript-heavy pages, and the rating is three credits per page. The scraper with the highest cost per page is Ultra; it can collect information behind logins and infinite scrolling pages. Ultra’s rate is five credits per page.

We found that ProWebScraper’s pricing approach isn’t the most cost-effective when compared to other reviewed products on our list. While it gives you great flexibility to customize your plan, you’re better off with plans that don’t categorize your scraping process according to the website you’re researching.

Show more
Show less

Methodology

The internet is so vast that just Google’s index alone – with hundreds of billions of pages – is 100,000,000 GB in size. Some websites are fantastic sources of information, but with that data spread across multiple subpages, it can be hard to find. Getting that information in an easily digestible format is the purpose of data collection applications.

Several important factors make this kind of software an excellent solution for businesses that want to improve and grow by analyzing the market, the sentiment of their target audience, and their competition.

Use Cases

Analyzing eCommerce websites and online marketplaces is a great way to find out product prices, check reviews, estimate brand reputation, and confirm the availability of particular items. Suppose your company is releasing a product in the face of more established competition. In that case, you can use this information to improve your design, research the market, and position your business for better results by analyzing the data you scrape.

Some web scrapers can analyze websites like Tripadvisor, Booking, or Yelp, which publish extensive information on various hospitality establishments. If your business is looking to optimize the travel experience for its users, this is the best way of getting useful information for tailor-made offers, price optimization, and increasing your competitiveness on the market.

The real estate market greatly benefits from using tools to organize listing information from multiple sources. The information gathered can help you predict market conditions, increase sales, and provide the best service to your customers.

Some advanced web scrapers can collect data from social media websites. This is an excellent way of analyzing public sentiment towards a product or the effectiveness of a marketing campaign.

There are plenty of other fields where such tools can prove effective. Everything from academic research to finding sales leads can potentially benefit from web-scraping tools. Business intelligence is an essential part of any industry, and the internet is a great place to gather readily available information.

Proxy IP Addresses

The process of gathering data requires sending multiple requests to a website, especially in the case of large and complex websites like Amazon, eBay, or Facebook. That’s where a data-collecting application needs to use proxy servers and go through multiple IP addresses to simulate the website being accessed by numerous regular users and not a single source that takes up most of the website’s traffic. Some websites will automatically block your IP address if you overwhelm their server traffic.

Result Format

When you gather the necessary information, these software solutions have multiple options that allow you to sort them in an easily accessible form. Most local and cloud-based solutions will export these values into a table-like format, giving you many ways to analyze the data and gain valuable insights from it.

CSV File

A CSV, or comma-separated values file, is a simple text with a list of data. A comma or semicolon is used to limit each entry, and it’s a simple way of creating a database that you can later import into another program like Microsoft Excel, OpenOffice Calc, or any other CSV editor. It’s more universal than applications such as Excel, as there are freeware and paid software solutions that can open it.

Microsoft Excel File Type

If you already use the Microsoft Office package, this is the best way of sorting through and filtering information gathered from scraping websites. With all the powerful features, you can easily create graphs and pivot tables, filter out irrelevant information, and use collaborative tools to make information readily available to other members of the team. The benefits of data visualization are obvious, especially for large-scale organizations.

JSON

JSON or JavaScript object notation is a format for storing data. It’s also a language-independent format that modern programming languages and web-based or server applications can read. Web-scraping applications that support it integrate perfectly with any software solutions that you or your business might develop and use.

API Integration

The need for automation and integration between different software packages is reflected by these data collectors offering application programming interfaces (APIs). This is especially useful for web-scraping applications that output significant quantities of information.

Price

Price is one of the relevant factors to consider when choosing an appropriate solution for the scale of your company or small business. Offers from web-scraping companies vary. During our research, we found a range of services that can propel your business towards more data-driven analysis at all scales without breaking the bank.

FAQ

What is a data collection company?

In data-driven industries, data collection is an essential part of planning strategies and product development. Therefore, companies that collect large amounts of data from the internet are crucial to business development. These companies provide web-scraping tools that can process thousands of web pages and neatly organize the information you need.

What companies collect data?

It’s not only companies that need detailed information for specific projects that collect data. Nowadays, you’ll also see those that want to efficiently conduct market research, plan business strategies, and benefit from finding relevant information about their target audience using data collection services.

Where do companies collect data from?

Companies use web-scraping tools to collect information from publicly available websites and their subpages. Results are delivered in a table-like structure that teams can further analyze.