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Comparison between Zillow Data Exporter and a generic web scraping tool

Learn about the key difference between Zillow Data Exporter and a web scraping tool.
Published onDec 07, 2022
YH
Yann Hulot
Image of two cars parked side by side. One is new and the other is old.

Image of two cars parked side by side. One is new and the other is old.

Table of contents

  1. What is Zillow Data Exporter?
  2. What is web scraping?
  3. Which web scraping tools should you use?
  4. Advantages of Zillow Data Exporter
  5. Advantages of web scraping
  6. Drawbacks of Zillow Data Exporter
  7. Drawbacks of web scraping
  8. Conclusion

What is Zillow Data Exporter?

Zillow Data Exporter is a tool that allows you to download data from Zillow. It is a free Chrome extension that allows you to export property listings for sale, for rent and sold.

I am currently working on a paid plan for the extension that should give you more functionality. The extension will remain free and maintained and there is absolutely no obligation to upgrade to the paid plan.

To read more about the paid plan, I invite you to read this article which contains more information about the release date and the features.

If you have any suggestions for the paid plan, please feel free to contact me.

What is web scraping?

Web scraping is the process of extracting data from websites.

It is a technique used to extract large amounts of data from websites whereby the data is extracted and saved to a local file in your computer or to a database in the cloud.

It is used when a website does not offer a way to get the data via an API or a downloadable file.

In our case here, Zillow does not offer a way to download the data via an API or a downloadable file. That is why we need to find another way to get the data.

Which web scraping tools should you use?

There are many web scraping tools available on the market. Some are free and some are paid.

I don't necessarily recommend any specific tool. I recommend that you do your own research and find the tool that best suits your needs.

But if it were up to me, I would not use a free web scraping tool. I would use a paid web scraping tool. The quality of the product and the support of the tool are usually much better with a paid tool.

I have personally used a few tools in the past, most notably Scrapingbee.

Advantages of Zillow Data Exporter

Zillow Data Exporter has a few advantages over web scraping.

It doesn't require you to write any code. It also does not require you to have any technical knowledge.

Zillow Data Exporter knows which pieces of data to extract from the website and how to extract them.

It also knows how to handle pagination and how to handle the different types of listings (for sale, for rent and sold).

Finally, although a paid plan will soon be available, the extension will remain free and maintained.

Advantages of web scraping

Web scraping services have a few advantages over Zillow Data Exporter.

When using a web scraping service, you can extract data from multiple websites at the same time. You can also customize the data that you want to extract.

You can pick and choose exactly what you want from the website which means you can potentially extract more/better data than if you were relying on a tool like Zillow Data Exporter.

Drawbacks of Zillow Data Exporter

Because Zillow Data Exporter is a tool that is maintained by a single person, it is not as robust as a tool that is maintained by a team of developers.

Therefore is it possible that the tool will break if Zillow changes their website too frequently.

Another drawback is that the tool is only available for Chrome.

A final drawback would be that I, the creator of Zillow Data Exporter decide which pieces of data to extract from Zillow and how to extract them.

This means that you might not be able to get all the data that you want.

I am obviously always open to suggestions and I am always looking to improve the tool and I regularly add new features based on user feedback.

If you have any suggestions for the tool, please feel free to contact me.

Drawbacks of web scraping

Web scraping requires you to write code. It also requires you to have some technical knowledge.

You will need a way to retrieve the data, then store the data, then create the files, then store the files somewhere (in your computer or in the cloud).

It is not impossible to do, but it is not as easy as using a tool like Zillow Data Exporter.

Many websites, including Zillow, have anti-scraping measures in place. This means that you might not be able to extract the data that you want.

Best case scenario, your IP address will be blocked temporarily. Worst case scenario, your IP address will be blocked permanently.

It can be a huge risk if you don't know what you are doing.

Conclusion

Zillow Data Exporter is a tool that allows you to get the data you need without any hassle and without having to write any code.

It may not always have all the data that you want, but it is a good starting point.

Using a web scraping service and then extracting the data can allow you to build your own custom solution that would potentially get you all the data you want from Zillow.

The cost of doing so means that instead of working on your business or finding your next investment property, you might be spending your time fixing code and dealing with anti-scraping measures.

If you are not a developer, I would recommend that you use Zillow Data Exporter so that you can focus on what you do best.

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