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Overview: Six ways to use residential proxies for solving corporate objectives

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Reading time5 min
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Original author: Александр Лашков

IP address masking may be required for various tasks – from accessing blocked content to bypassing anti-bot systems of search engines and other online resources. We found an interesting post about how this technology can be used to solve corporate objectives.

There are several options of implementing a proxy:

  • Residential proxies. Residential IPs are the addresses that Internet service providers give to homeowners, they are marked in the databases of regional Internet registers (RIRs). Residential proxies use exactly such IP addresses, so that requests from them are indistinguishable from those sent by real users.

  • Server proxies (datacenter proxy). Such proxies are not connected in any way to Internet providers for individuals. Addresses of this type are issued by hosting providers that have purchased address pools.

  • Shared proxy. In this case, one proxy is used by several users at the same time; they can be either server or given by providers for their users.

  • Private proxies. In the case of a private or dedicated proxy, only one user has access to the IP address. Such proxies are provided by specialized services, or hosters, or Internet providers and VPN services.

All these options have their advantages, but residential proxies are being used for corporate use increasingly lately. The main reason for this is that such proxies use the real addresses of different Internet service providers in different locations (countries, states/regions, and cities). As a result, no matter whom the interaction is conducted with, it looks as if it is carried out by a real user. No online service would think of blocking requests from real addresses, because it could be an appeal from a potential client.

This opens up a number of opportunities for companies. Let's talk about how they use residential proxies to solve business problems.

Why does a business need a proxy?

According to Distil Networks, a company dedicated to combating bot traffic, on today's Internet, up to 40% of web traffic is generated by non-humans.

At the same time, not all bots are good (like crawlers of search engines), site owners seek to protect themselves from many bots in order not to allow them to access the data of the resource itself or find out important for business information.

The number of bots that are usually not hindered in 2017 was 20.40%, and another 21.80% of bots were considered to be "bad": site owners tried to ban them.

Why would companies try to circumvent such blocks?

Getting real information from competitors' websites


One of the main areas of use of residential proxies is competitive intelligence. Today, there are tools that make it easy to track the use of server proxies – pools of proxy provider addresses are known, so they can be easily blocked. Many popular online services – for example, Amazon, Netflix, Hulu – implement blocking systems by IP address ranges of hosting providers.

In the case of using a residential proxy, any request looks like it was sent by a regular user. In a case where you need to send a large number of requests, you can use residential proxies to send them from addresses from any countries, cities, and associated Internet service providers.

Brand protection


Another practical application of residential proxies is brand protection and anti-counterfeiting. For example, drug manufacturers – let's say, of the drug Viagra – are always fighting with sellers of counterfeit generics.

Sellers of such replicas usually restrict access to their websites from countries where the manufacturer's official representative offices are located: this makes it difficult to identify dealers in fakes and present them with legal requirements. With the help of residential proxies with addresses from the same country as the counterfeit website, this problem can be easily solved.

Testing new features and performance monitoring


Another important area of using residential proxies is testing new features on the websites or in applications – this allows you to see how everything works through the eyes of an ordinary user. Sending a large number of requests from IP addresses from different countries and cities also allows you to test applications under heavy loads.

This feature is also useful for performance monitoring. It is important for international services to understand, for example, how fast a site loads for users from certain countries. The use of residential proxies in the performance monitoring system helps to obtain the most relevant information.

Optimization of marketing and advertising


Another application of residential proxies is the testing of advertising campaigns. With a residential proxy, you can see how an ad looks, for example, in search results for residents of a certain region and whether it is shown at all.

In addition, when promoting in various markets, residential proxies help to understand how effectively, for example, search engine optimization works: whether a site is included in the top search engines for the necessary queries in target languages and how its positions change over time.

Search engines have an extremely negative attitude towards collecting data with the use of their resources. Therefore, they are constantly improving the mechanisms for identifying data collectors and effectively blocking them. As a result, it is now completely impossible to use them to collect data from search engines.

However, it is impossible to block the execution of a large number of identical search queries from residential proxies – search engines cannot restrict access for real users. Therefore, this tool is great for guaranteed data collection from search engines.

Residential proxies are also useful for analyzing competitors' advertising and marketing activities and their effectiveness. This technology is used by both companies themselves and agencies engaged in custom promotion.

Content aggregation


In the era of Big Data, many businesses are built on aggregating content from different sites and bringing it together on their own platform. Such companies also often have to use residential proxies, otherwise it would be difficult to maintain an up-to-date database of prices, for example, for goods of certain categories in different online stores: the risk of a ban is too high.

For example, to create a regularly updated comparison table with prices for vacuum cleaners in online stores, you need a bot that will constantly visit the necessary pages of these resources and update the table. In this case, the most effective way to bypass anti-bot systems is to use this tool.

Custom data collection and analysis


In the last few years, companies that are professionally engaged in the collection and analysis of custom data have been actively developing. One of the brightest players in this market, the PromptCloud project, is developing its own crawler tools that collect information for further use in marketing, sales, or competitive analysis.

It is logical that bots of such companies are also constantly banned, but thanks to the use of residential IPs, it is impossible to do that effectively.

Savings on getting local discounts


Among other things, having private local IP addresses can help to save resources. For example, many ticket and hotel booking sites display geo-targeted special offers. Only customers from specific regions can use them.

If a company needs to arrange a business trip to such a country, then with the help of a residential proxy, it can try to find more favorable prices and save money.

Conclusion


The ability to simulate requests from real users with real local IP addresses turns out to be very useful, both for personal and business goals. Companies use residential proxies to collect data, carry out various tests, work with necessary but blocked resources, and so on.

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