Business trends and insights to keep you ahead of your competitors

How to buy data for your business

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Like many businesses today, you know you need external data to drive insights.

What you may not know is how to get your hands on that data. You would think in this day and age, like pretty much everything else, you could just buy what you want. And you can. Kind of.  

In this guide, we put ourselves in your shoes. The shoes of someone who needs to get external web data into their company. And we answer the all important question:

How do I get external data into my business?

22 data experts share their predictions for 2016

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Predicting the future is never an easy task. But as 2015 winds down, we can’t help but look forward to what the new year will bring. 

Will you finally be able to buy a self-driving car? Will machines become smarter than man? And what, will happen to the world of data science?

We’re no fortune tellers, so we rounded up a bunch of experts to ask them what they thought. And here (in no particular order), is what they said: 

10 industries that are changing because of data

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The migration to big data is quickly becoming a race: keep up or shut down. Whether you’re a standalone brick-and-mortar shop or the next Silicon Read more

40 data mavericks under 40

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The definitive list of the most interesting and innovative people in data

We love data – a lot. And when we realized there was no good list of the awesome people in data we were horrified. There are so many cool people out there doing amazing things with data – how has no one made a list yet?!?!

We get to meet lots of exciting data innovators at Extract, so we decided to use our knowledge to create the first Data Mavericks list. A lot of thought went in to choosing people who are truly making a difference in the data scene.

It was no easy task narrowing our list down, but 40 under 40 seemed like a good place to start. Here they are. In alphabetical order, please enjoy our list of the Top 40 Data Mavericks under 40.

4 simple (but incredibly smart) ways to analyze one product dataset

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When you want to start using data as part of your analysis, it can be tempting to simply buy access to a big database. But the problem with these static databases, is not only are they generally very expensive, but often by the time you get them they are already out of date. Prices and products in the online retail space change almost hourly so up-to-date data is essential. 

Often the data you need is right in front of you. There is tons of good, valuable data available on the web. Especially if you’re in the retail space, there are loads of websites with a veritable treasure trove of useful data – from prices to customer ratings to dimensions – that you can access and visualize for real-time insight. makes it very easy for you to get that data, either yourself or with a custom request for price intelligence

We used to gather a bunch of data on cellphones from Amazon and Walmart which we visualized in our Silk analyzing smartphone information. Here are four simple, but very smart, things you can learn with this data.

How to test the quality of web data

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Everyone is talking about the usefulness of data. Data can bring your more revenue, save you money help you understand your market and lead you to better insights. But, what people often ignore (or maybe just forget to talk about) is that all of the above is true ONLY IF you have accurate data. And as anyone who has worked with data can tell you, data is often a dirty, unstructured mess. Especially when it comes from the web. 

At, we’ve spent a lot of time focused on data quality – both for our free users and our clients. The first step is obviously trying to build your APIs to be as accurate as possible by using the right column fields, marking up multiple pages or generating your own Xpaths. But even after all that, you still need to check your data for accuracy. This article will show you how our data delivery team monitors and checks the quality of data sets (like this one) we create for corporate clients and give you some guides for checking your own data.

8 lessons you should learn from today’s data innovators

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You’ve heard the hype: Companies that use big data analytics are 5 times more likely to make decisions “much faster” than their competition. Great. And you’ve built yourself a data science team and started collecting data. Even better. But, now you want to start innovating, pushing the envelope, become the next Google.

Well, you’re probably not going to be the next Google – not unless you have an extra $8 billion lying around. But, just because you don’t have their budget, doesn’t mean you can’t learn from the what the great data innovators are doing.

5 ways web data can help retailers

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If you’ve been paying attention to the news at all in the last few years, you’ll have heard the phrase “Big Data”. And if you’re like us, you’re probably getting pretty sick and tired of it. You certainly don’t need us (or anyone else) to tell you the importance of using data in the retail industry – you’re already using data everyday! Sales data, customer data and product data are all familiar to you and your analytics team. 

What’s missing from this equation isn’t Big Data, it’s web data. Your sales, customer and product data all come from within your organization – which is obviously very useful – but it’s only half the story. There is so much more you can learn if you look outside your organization at the data that is on the web. This data has only recently started being accessible to retailers, but already it has made a big impact. 

Here are five ways you can start using web data today! They’re all based on real-world examples of clients we’ve helped at import.

5 Yahoo! Pipes alternatives that are actually better than Pipes

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It’s the end of an era. A recent TechCrunch article announced that sadly we’ll have to say goodbye to Yahoo! Pipes. Pipes, a visual interface that lets you aggregate and filter web data without requiring programming skills, is being sunset by Yahoo! next month. Which of course means all of you who relied on Pipes for your data mashing needs, will have to find a yahoo pipes alternative. 

The most important metric every startup founder should be tracking: 13 successful entrepreneurs chime in

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In the startup world and in business in general, if you’re not tracking, you’re not learning. If you don’t have data to work with, it’s Read more