Web site change detection (“Site scraping”)

by Maskil on 1 Jun 2008

Since migrating to NewsGator FeedDemon 2.7 as my feed reader, I’ve been on a mission to migrate from e-mail to feed subscriptions. (That will be the subject of another piece.)

As part of this mission, I was looking for a “site scraping” utility (my terminology), to help me monitor sites I’m interested in, but which don’t have either an Atom/RSS Feed or some form of e-mail newsletter. This “Web site change detection” is presumably old generation technology, because everyone pretty much expects to be able to subscribe to e-mail or feed updates with any site these days.

Anyhow, I managed to find and sign up for the following free sites:

changeAlarm – Web Site Change Detection

ChangeDetection – Know when any web page changes

WatchThatPage – Monitor web pages extract new information

I’ve given the same “test case” to all three sites, and I’ll update this once the first set of results has come back.

My test case was the KKL-JNF Israel’s partner website:

Liaison, Information and Publications Department

If you’re looking for something along these lines, don’t even bother with the following sites:

FeedFire.com: RSS feed creation facility: End your RSS worries RIGHT NOW.

TheWebWatcher – Monitoring for Changes on the Web

In the case of FeedFire, I couldn’t manage to get past their snotty rules for what kind of page can be monitored free. With TheWebWatcher, I’m still waiting for the confirmation e-mail to allow me to access the site!

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