Monday, April 28, 2008

Screen scraping from Business Networks

Business networks, such as LinkedIn, ZoomInfo, etc., can be a very helpful way to find professionals that may fit into your software development or management teams. LinkedIn has data that is entered by the individual, whereas ZoomInfo assembles data by scouring the 'net.

[Update April 6, 2011]

Network Grabber can now scrape pages for the LinkedIn Recruiter pages. So, if you are paying for this high level feature of LinkedIn, you can now pull the data off your screen with a click of the mouse.

However, getting information that exists in these networks into a usable format, even something as simple as an Excel spreadsheet, is not very easy. Some business networks (intentionally?) make the copy/paste process almost unusable.

Fortunately, I found a very effective tool, "Network Grabber", at This handy tool is actually a browser, and with one click of a button allows one to copy what they have browsed into Tab or CrLf delimited format. What was taking me an hour, now takes less than 5 minutes.

My friends and colleagues can now be put into a file where I don't have to log into the network and search.

If you spend even a moderate amount of time trying to screen scrape your contacts, I suggest you give it a try. A real time saver!