Unique and updated property listings are one of the most important assets for any real-estate classified business that attracts visitors and generates revenues. But, have you ever wondered how much would it cost for a web scraper to steal all the property listings and user data from your real estate listing website? And what impact would such data scraping have on your business?
Scrapers and fraudsters can scrape your entire website for as low as $9 per month or a part of your portal for absolutely no cost. There are also options like hiring a freelancer for as low as $4/hour or even you could learn the art of web scraping just by getting a scraping guide from amazon.
What is Real-estate Listing Theft?
Automated capture of online property listings from a website is referred to as property listing theft or listing scraping. This involves scraping or stealing of unique property listings using automated scripts or bots.
Real-estate listing portals are one of the most vulnerable websites to web scraping because of their business model. Property data listings and real estate photos are highly valuable and relatively easy to steal using malicious web scraping bots. At InfiSecure, we consistently see bot traffic on real estate listing websites reaching close to 70-80% of entire web traffic. Half of this bot traffic comes from web scraping bots.
When your real estate classified portal is booming with all unique listings and great customer traction in terms of website visitors, your competition and fraudsters will try to leverage on your competitive advantage. Bad actors will try their best to steal the unique listings and user data from your website. They then add the stolen listings to their own websites, with or without consent of the end-user. This helps your competitors in getting higher search rankings, more traffic on website and higher brand value.
How Online Bots Impact Real Estate Listing Websites?
Web scrapers are scraping your real estate website because they are making money with your listings. In return you are just left with higher costs and lost revenues. Here is how web scraping impacts real estate listing portals:
1. Web Scraping from listing portals takes away your business – Real estate listing is gathered tediously from multiple sources and has a cost to it. When web scraping bots steal your listing data, they are essentially stealing the value of your investment in collecting and compiling such data, and this affects your revenue and margins. When bad bots steal your data, your website loses traffic while your competitor’s portal gains.
2. Degraded SEO of your real estate listing portal – Uniqueness of real-estate listings is critical to a real-estate portal’s business. When scraping bots steal listing from your portal, your data is no more exclusive and unique. Now your competitors will attract website traffic and leads. This will degrade your SEO as your content is replicated across the web. Also, the scraping bots many-a-times get accounted in the GA and increase your bounce rate metrics. These affects further reduce your platform’s search engine rankings.
3. High web infrastructure cost – When bad bots commit fraudulent activities on your real estate portal, they typically consume between 15%-40% of server capacity and bandwidth. This results in high server cost, more server requirements and higher load on current server infrastructure. This can easily be avoided by an effective bot detection solution in place.
4. The effect of form spam and fake listings – Malicious bots can fill in fraudulent registration forms and generate fake listings on your real-estate portal. The number of fake listings on some portals has gone as high as 80% of all listings on the portals. Spam leads will waste your sales efforts by focusing on leads that can never be contacted. This also results in a very negative user experience for genuine buyers, brokers and real-estate agents.
How to Solve the Web Scraping Problem?
InfiSecure’s bot protection technology provides classified portals with the world’s most sophisticated bot detection engine with zero false positives. Here are a few amazing bot detection capabilities that will help you scale your classified business really fast.
1. Known Violators Testing – Every website hit, every user that accesses your classified website gets tested against all Proxy IPs, Harvesters, Downloaders and every other known violators on the entire internet. This bot detection capability keeps your classified platform stay protected against any known bot fraud.
2. IP Behavior Analysis – Our core IP behavior engine processes every hit across hundreds of rules, analyses IP location, Organization and other details that access your classified portal. InfiSecure’s IP behavior analysis capability provides an advanced and more sophisticated bot detection feature to help block only bots on your classified portal.
3. User Behavior Analysis – For every user that accesses your listing portal, InfiSecure analyzes its behavior, their website surfing patterns, mouse movements, keyboard strokes and other critical patterns that make it a very robust and accurate detection platform.
4. Device Fingerprinting – Using custom technologies, InfiSecure accurately analyzes device level data to pin-point the source of bots on your classified portal.
5. Centralized intelligence – We cumulate all the data points of bot traffic from our global protection center protecting customers from diverse industries like classifieds, travel, ecommerce, digital media etc.
6. Machine Learning Algorithm – Our machine learning algorithms create rules on the go for accurate detection of sophisticated bots depending upon your specific classified portal requirements.
Sandeep Singh is a technology entrepreneur, product marketing expert, and an inbound marketing strategist. He comes with a diverse experience of working with large companies and startups. His experience varies from spearheading digital marketing assignments to driving initiatives to make product startups grow and get recognized at a global level. He drives branding and marketing at www.infisecure.com. Follow him on twitter.