We as Indians have learnt it the hard way to safeguard our own treasure when Mahmud of Ghazni kept invading and looting us. You can cherish your hardwork only when you have learnt to safeguard it.
Scraping the web
In today’s Internet world, your websites and data have become the precious treasure you need to safeguard from innumerable bots who are ready to scrape it away. Data protection globally is one of the top most priorities for Internet businesses including e-commerce, classifieds and other aggregator websites. It's not only these websites that need to be safeguarded but also any other ones that contain exclusive content from their competitors to maintain the competitive edge.
Scraping content off the websites is not a rocket science anymore; most of such solutions are available easily for cheap.
Remember the days during the early evolution of Internet? Those viruses on PC had made it impossible for anyone to enjoy a flawless experience until powerful anti-viruses were born. Till today, the battle to outsmart each other is ON and users have atleast got a better experience. It won’t be wrong to say that anti-scraping products are tomorrow’s anti-virus products.
The fight between the scrapers and anti-scraping solutions is going to be a tougher one in the coming days. As e-commerce sites fight over pricing or classified websites get protective about their listings, securing website and its data is waving a new war.
We have seen a recent example of how Flipkart had to disable BuyHatke for a day to safe guard its prices.
With the ruthless competition rising to new heights, protecting one's data from the competitors has become really difficult. Therefore, waging a war against the scrapers and malicious bots is a must.
With this clear vision to protect online businesses against malicious technology based attacks by competitors and unauthorized 3rd parties, Pavan Thatha along with his brother, Rakesh started ShieldSquare. This brother duo has thereby increased revenues along with improving site performance and enhancing customer experience for website owners.
Further assuring the technology and market that ShieldSquare is competing in, founders of major Indian classified websites have backed this venture. Phanindra Sama, Charan Padmaraju and P Sudhakar of redbus.in, Murugavel Janakiraman of Matrimony.com, Girish Mathrubootham of Freshdesk, Pallav Nadhani of Fusioncharts, Samir Sood (Ex Google M&A Head for South Asia & Australia) are among those who have backed this venture with $350,000 in an angel round validating its promise as the leading solution for website content protection. This funding round was led by Chandu Nair, Srini Kopparapu and Sanjay Anandaram.
With the rapid explosion of content websites, it has become a business must to prevent the stealing/scraping of there carefully created and curated content by competitors and unauthorized 3rd parties. ShieldSquare’s Cloud Service helps online businesses protect their website content from being scraped or stolen by automated rogue programs (bots). The team analyses millions of traffic requests daily and uses big data analytics to identify and help block suspicious, unwanted and abusive behaviour.
ShieldSquare has been getting great traction over last few months with adoption by major businesses like Indiaproperty.com and Shaadi.com. With time, many more content websites would have to resort to such products, as advertisers aren’t very happy with spammed leads.
Firmly believing in this anti-scraping product startup, Sanjay Anandaram shares
Scraping has become a big pain area for all the Local Search, Listings, E-Commerce and Content Portals. Curated quality content is the key value they offer and having it scraped/copied and reproduced elsewhere impacts their business competitiveness.
ShieldSquare was also part of Start Tel-Aviv contest that selected 16 emerging startups from various countries across the globe. This probably would have been a great launching pad for the team to get accolades from the nation that leads the world in security products.
Speaking about this opportunity in Israel, Pavan shared
Israel is miles ahead of India in terms of maturity of security products. It was a good learning curve meeting various security experts here advising us about various aspects of our product.
This isn’t the first venture for the brother duo. Earlier they had started another security startup, Array Shield that designed software security products in the area of multifactor authentication and software protection. It was one of the winners of TechSparks 2010.They were working on methods and systems with pending patents. The duo had the same mission to provide low cost, easy to use and highly secure software security solutions globally but couldn't make it for long with it. They didn’t fail with this product but probably they were a bit ahead of its times and also operating in a very niche market.
Google loves this space
Google is the biggest scraper on the Internet scraping every website to improve its search results. A few months back in February 2014, Google launched its own new tool, Scrapper Report to fight web scraping. This launch was ridiculed and mocked by Internet users as a strategy to not show scraper websites in search results.
Google believes in transforming the scraped data with great design for the ease of users. Its not doubt true that in most cases users do benefit from this but then the websites with original content are losing their battle, they don't get that traffic - thanks to Google. In its mission to simplify search and improve search experience, Google has been killing many innocent websites.
Just to give an example how Google is been killing such websites -
Consider yourself confused about which movie to go for near you, you do the usual thing to go and search for this on Google. Google to give a rich user experience shall show you scraped data in a very structured form but in this whole process the ticketing websites are losing their traffic. Not everyone who checks about a movie online books it online.
Pavan and his team are passionately marching towards solving this scraping problem and provide a great experience to both content creators and consumers. Time shall stand testimony to how this whole market evolves and what role does Google play in this fight.
It’s a great made in India product with a potential to scale globally. We at YourStory feel proud to have been associated with this team since their previous product.