The increase in content consumption and the huge demand for quality content has spurred a number of online media websites. Online businesses that rely on their proprietary content to become a market leader and to improve the revenue have to safeguard the content and retain the competitive edge. While your online business strives to create content for your users, there are others that seek unlawful ways to scrape your content using bad bots. Online businesses such as news sites, classifieds, job portals, real estate sites and online marketplaces are heavily targeted by content scrapers.
Let’s see a few reasons why online businesses should safeguard their content:
Establishing a scalable online business involves a lot of costs. The cost includes the server, network infrastructure, content teams, marketing teams and sales. For example, to set up an entry-level content portal the costs may include web hosting, custom design, domain name ($15,000), and probably a 5 member team ($250,000) to run various aspects of the business. On the contrary, it takes a paltry $300 for a scraper to set up proxies and software to start scraping your website. Thereby you lose your competitive edge, time, resource, investment and effort to a few hundred dollars.
Your content adds value to your users and this upholds the brand equity. Threats from bots and scrapers can impact your user base and also have a degrading effect on your brand. Users will not be inclined to come to your website if they experience privacy and usability issues.
Your users (and search engines) love fresh content. But imagine your content being stolen and published in another website in a matter of seconds. So, your website can be easily outranked by scraper bots.
The 3 main negative outcomes from bad bots scraping your content are,
Drop in SEO rankings – Content developed over a period of time becomes the intellectual property of your business. Unscrupulous scraper bots take an unfair advantage over your content. This obviously degrades your SEO efforts and search engine visibility. At the end of the day, the original content created by you may not be on the top search results.
Distorted Analytics – Web analytics play a huge role in providing data such as page views, bounce rates, user demographics and so on. The scrapers as they crawl your website for stealing information, add a lot of noise to the data, leading to skewed analytics. Skewed analytics data affects decision making for various teams ranging from marketing, inventory to strategic teams.
Revenue Loss – When you lose your competitive advantage you have over your content, to 3rd-party scrapers and competitor bots, there will be a drop in the user base. This may happen over a period of time. If you monetize your website with an advertisement, the drop in traffic will significantly impact the revenue from advertisements. Eventually, advertisers that partner with you may lower the bid, or consider better options by opting for websites that maximise the return on investment.
It is of supreme importance for any online business owner to stop the bots from damaging your website. As the threat landscape for the malicious bots increases so does the need for a robust anti-bot solution that can provide continuous protection against malicious bots, without affecting genuine user experience.
Originally published at www.informationsecuritybuzz.com.