Ready to Go Shopping? Diffbot’s Product API Parses Product Data

Amy Castor, August 1st, 2013

Diffbot, a startup known for its data mining services, released a new API that will scan an e-commerce shopping page and parse information on a particular product. Developers can use the API in their web and mobile apps to find the best price on different sites, track merchandise availability or even migrate shopping sites to new platforms without having to deal with backend integration.

The Palo Alto company says it spent two years developing its new API, which is based on the company’s core technology used for extracting structured data from Internet web pages.

If you’re not sure of the difference, structured data is machine readable data that is organized in fixed fields such as columns and rows. In contrast, unstructured data is generally human communication in the form of letters, emails, documents and social media.

According to Diffbot, its Product API can parse from an e-commerce product page information such as price, discount or savings, shipping cost, product description, images, SKU and manufacturer’s product number.

Diffbot suggests using the Product API in conjunction with its site-spidering tool Crawlbot, which extracts an entire e-commerce site and then pinpoints the pages containing product information.

The Product API is a RESTful API that returns JSON. Currently, the API only returns extracted data from a single product. The company says that in the future, the API will return information from multiple products, if multiple items are available on the same page.

ProgrammableWeb recently reported on two other companies aiming to bring data mining tools to the masses, AlchemyAPI and Textalytics, although these firms focus on unstructured data.

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