Cecilia Haynes
4 Mins
August 11, 2016

What the Suicide Squad tells us about web data

Web data is a bit like the Matrix. It’s all around us, but not everyone knows how to use it meaningfully. So here’s a brief overview of the many ways that web data can benefit you as a researcher, marketer, entrepreneur, or even multinational business owner.


Since web scraping and web data extraction are sometimes viewed a bit like antiheroes, I’m introducing each of the use cases through characters from the Suicide Squad film. I did my best to pair according to character traits and real world web data uses, so hopefully this isn’t too much of a stretch.

This should be spoiler free, with nothing revealed that you can’t get from the trailers! Fair warning, you’re going to have Ballroom Blitz stuck in your head all day. And if you haven’t seen Suicide Squad yet, hopefully we get you pumped up for this popcorn movie.

Market Research and Predictions: Deadshot

Deadshot’s claim to fame is accurate aim. He can predict bullet trajectories and he never misses a shot. So I paired him with using web data for market research and trend prediction. You can scrape multiple websites for price fluctuation, new products, reviews, and consumer trends. This is an automated process that allows you to quickly and accurately analyze data without needing to manually monitor websites.

Social Media Monitoring: Harley Quinn

Harley Quinn has a sunny personality that remains chipper even when faced with death, destruction, torture, and mayhem. She also always has a witty comeback no matter the situation. These traits go hand-in-hand with how brands should approach social media channels. Extracting web data from social media interactions help you understand consumer opinions. You can monitor ongoing chatter about your company or your competition and respond in the most positive way possible.

Lead Generation and HR Recruitment: Amanda Waller

This is probably the most obvious pairing since Amanda Waller (played by the wonderful Viola Davis) is the one responsible for assembling the Suicide Squad. She carefully researched and compiled intimate details on all the criminals-turned-reluctant-heroes. This is an aspect of web data that benefits all sales, marketing, recruitment, and HR. With a pre-vetted pool, you’ll have access to qualified leads and decision-makers without needing to wade through the worst of the worst.

Tracking Criminal Activity in the Dark Web: Killer Croc

This sewer-dwelling villain thrives in dark and hidden spaces. He’s used to working underground and in places most people don’t even know exist. This makes Killer Croc the perfect backdrop for the type of web data located in the deep/dark web. The dark web is the part of the internet that is not indexed by search engines (Google, Bing, etc.) and is often a haven for criminal activity. Data scraped from this part of the web is commonly used by law enforcement agencies.

Competitive Pricing: Captain Boomerang

This jewelry thief goes around the world stealing from banks and committing acts of burglary - with a boomerang... Captain Boomerang knows all about pricing and the comparative value of products so he can get the largest bang for his buck. Similarly, web data is a great resource for new companies looking to research their industry and how their prices match up to the competition. And if you are an established company, this is a great way for you to keep track of newcomers and potential market disruptors.

Machine Learning Models: Enchantress

In her 6313 years of existence, the Enchantress has had to cope with changing times, customs, and civilizations. The ability to learn quickly and adapt to new situations is definitely an important part of her continued survival. Likewise, machine learning is a form of artificial intelligence that can learn when given new information. Train your machine learning models using datasets for conducting sentiment analysis, making predictions, and even automating web scraping. Whether you are an SaaS company specializing in developing machine learning technology or someone who needs machine learning analysis, you need to ensure you have up-to-date datasets.

Monitoring Resellers: Colonel Rick Flag

Colonel Rick Flag is a “good guy” whose job is to keep track of the Suicide Squad and kill them if they get out of line. Now obviously your relationship with resellers is not a life-and-death situation, but it can be good to know how your brand is being represented across the internet. Web scraping can help you keep track of reseller customer reviews and any contract violations that might be occurring.

Monitoring Legal Matters and Government Corruption: Katana

Katana the samurai is the enforcer of the Suicide Squad. She is there as an additional check to keep the criminal members in line. Similarly, web data allows reporters, lawyers, and concerned citizens to keep track of government officials, potential corruption charges, and changing legal matters. You can scrape obscure or poorly presented public records and then use that information to create accessible interfaces for easy reference and research.

Web Scraping for Fun: the Joker

I believe the Joker needs no introduction, whether you know this character from Jack Nicholson, Heath Ledger, or the new Jared Leto incarnation. He is unpredictable, has eclectic tastes, and is capable of doing anything. And honestly, this is what web scraping is all about. Whether you want to build a bike sharing app or monitor government corruption, web data provides the backbone for all of your creative endeavors.

Wrap Up

I hope you enjoyed this unorthodox tour of the world of web data! If you’re looking for some mindless fun, Suicide Squad ain’t half bad (it ain’t half good either). If you’re looking to explore how web data fits within your business or personal projects, feel free to reach out to us. And if you’re looking to hate on or defend Suicide Squad, comment below.

P.S. There is no way this movie is worse than Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice