There are lots of great ways to make money by web scraping. Usually we look at businesses that are using that data to directly generate revenue. Here, I’d like to introduce you to a business that uses the data they scrape as a magnet for customers. Data as part of a marketing mix, in other words.
What is Inflact.com?
Inflact.com, launched in 2020, offers a suite of services and products related to Instagram. It appears to be a relatively small company, with just a few employees, and they’re based in Latvia. Despite their small size, according to their site stats, they attract 6.8 million visits per month. You read that right: almost seven million visits every single month.
What does Inflact.com do?
They’re all about Instagram. If you use Instagram as part of your business, you’re probably their target market. They offer paid services for the platform, in three areas:
- Promotion. Automated follows and unfollows, automated likes.
- Direct messaging. Automated chats based around specific triggers and keywords.
- Post scheduling. Their value prop: they can save you five hours a month for .76 Euros ($0.76 US).
Here’s where it gets interesting, though. They also offer a few things for free, and it’s these things that rely on web scraping. For example, they have a hashtag generator, which serves up popular hashtags based on keywords or even images, which you can use to increase visibility for your posts. You can get that for free. To come up with the recommendations, they scrape data from Instagram in what appears to be real time, since you can narrow it down to trending hashtags on today’s date.
The big draw, though, is their Instagram ‘stalker’. A few years ago, Instagram made a change, forcing users to log in with an account before seeing the content that others posted. Clearly in their best interests, to get more users on board. Inflact.com offers a workaround. Just enter any Instagram handle, and you can view the content they’ve posted. Anonymously, and without creating an account. To give users that access, Inflact.com would have to scrape the content from Instagram. And again, they offer this for free.
Why is their business model so brilliant?
Usually we talk about businesses that are charging for the data they scrape. In the case of Inflact.com, they’re giving it away. How does that make sense?
It’s because they know their audience. The people who are most likely to buy their paid subscription packages are interested in and use Instagram for their business. They use the free offerings to pull in users who want information from Instagram, and then offer value-add services to them.
Do the math on what that could generate. Working from 6.8 million users, let’s say half of a half of a percent – 0.02%, to be exact – convert. That’s 1500 new paid users each month. If they all went with the $54 ‘Basic’ plan on average, that means $81,000 additional monthly recurring revenue each month. Not total, new. Do that every month, and by the end of the first year, you’re closing in on $1 million MRR.
What you can learn from Inflact.com
Usually, we talk about how you can find data to scrape, and then sell access to that data to make money. Inflact.com poses a different question. What data can you get, what product could you build around that data that would attract customers, and then what else could you sell those customers? You can find my video about Inflact.com here. If you like what you see, don’t forget to like and subscribe, for more ways to make money web scraping.