From an article two weeks ago in the WSJ’s What They Know series: ‘Scrapers’ Dig Deep for Data on Web:
At 1 a.m. on May 7, the website PatientsLikeMe.com noticed suspicious activity on its “Mood” discussion board. There, people exchange highly personal stories about their emotional disorders, ranging from bipolar disease to a desire to cut themselves. It was a break-in. A new member of the site, using sophisticated software, was “scraping,” or copying, every single message off PatientsLikeMe’s private online forums.
The scraper? Nielson Co. “a global leader in measurement and information.” Of course by mentioning Nielson in this blog and visiting Nielson’s website they can add one more bit of clickstream data to my database entry.