Over the last few years, forms of anonymous browsing software, including proxies, have grown increasingly popular. A report by GlobalWebIndex indicates that as many as half a billion people are now using “anonymity tools” to mask their true location.
Proxies are harnessed for the following:
- To anonymously scrape data from the web in conjunction with an anonymous browser that does not track cookies.
- And to obtain a deeper understanding of consumer behavior, or monitor a brand’s customer sentiment to increase revenue.
- to gain a competitive edge over rivals by leveraging alternative data and aggregating information through a data mining technique known as, web data integration.
Anonymity Tools: A Growing Industry
Recently, Oxylabs was awarded the title of the best proxy service provider by Proxyway's Proxy Service Awards of 2020. Due to its data aggregation capabilities, the company has just expanded its residential proxy pool from 30M to 60M.
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That said, the market itself is growing at an incredible rate. According to a report by Statista, the proxy-VPN industry is expected to exceed 35 billion by 2022:
- 2016: $15.64 bn
- 2017: $18 bn
- 018: $20.6 bn
- 2019: $23.6 bn
- 2020: $27.1bn
- 2021: $31.1 bn
- 2022: $35.73 bn
Anonymity Tools: How The Proxy Market Is Changing?
Data scraping tools and proxies work hand-in-hand to collect data. Ultimately, this has reshaped the proxy industry, allowing businesses to access and analyze data on the web.
Data scraping practice is not just about the private sector. Oxylabs recently announced a partnership between the student-led TrackCorona project, which tracks the current status of the COVID-19 around the globe.
Julius Cerniauskas, the CEO at Oxylabs says, “We’re delighted to support Stanford, University of Virginia, and Virginia Tech student-led team at TrackCorona with their noble cause. Oxylabs will continue helping universities and other institutions, as we believe everyone must play a part in the fight against COVID-19.”
Or, take the case of Avi Schiffmann for instance, who is a 17-year-old from Seattle. Schiffmann created a web scraper to show reliable data on coronavirus news and statistics. Schiffmann created a web scraper that would scrape the web for reliable sources, which was then automatically uploaded to his website. The scaped data consists of:
- The latest real-time statistics on the number of confirmed cases.
- he mortality rate worldwide and by country.
- Useful information, interactive maps, and a Twitter feed.
By using a proxy in conjunction with a web scraper, Schiffmann’s website managed to bring in over 12 million people. Data is powerful.
Why Are More People Using VPNs As Anonymity Tools?
Amidst the rise in privacy-minded social networks like Snap, online privacy has been a core need for millennials to express themselves online. Features like self-destructing photos, videos, and messages — show, that in a relatively short time, how much our values have changed.
Not only have social networks been disrupted by privacy values, but the financial space has undergone a significant change too with the introduction of blockchain technology and bitcoin. Cryptocurrencies like bitcoin are intended to be against inflation, the printing of money, centralization, whilst promote ideals like anonymity and decentralization.
To illustrate, this week, the U.S. Federal Reserve proposed a $2.2 trillion coronavirus stimulus draft bill, which could, as Mike Novogratz thinks, debase currencies like the U.S. dollar — resulting in hyperinflation and a potential mass exodus of fiat currency.
Times Are Changing
The world is now, more than ever, concerned with online privacy. We’ve witnessed the NSA files leaked by Edward Snowden. Europe passed the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to enforce prior consent upon the collection of personal information.
Search engine, DuckDuckGo competes with Google over protecting searchers' privacy. Times are changing, and one thing remains certain, if there are half a billion people using anonymity tools today, there will be more tomorrow.