Rupert Murdoch begins blocking aggregators

Times Online has altered its search settings to prevent NewsNow crawling its site.

Stuart Turton
8 Jan 2010

Times Online has confirmed that it's blocking news aggregator from linking to its content.

The newspaper has altered its robots.txt file to prevent the aggregator crawling its site. Rupert Murdoch spelled out his intention to block search engines from crawling his sites in November, and it looks like the media mogul has taken his first steps in carrying out his threat.

However, the move has left NewsNow baffled. "It is lamentable that News International has chosen to request we stop linking to its content and providing in-bound traffic and potential subscribers to the Times Online and right now it looks as though NewsNow has been singled out," says Struan Bartlett, managing director and chairman of NewsNow.

We note that no other major search engine has been blocked by NI in this manner

"We note that no other major search engine has been blocked by NI in this manner. NewsNow is not fundamentally different to other news search engines that are part of the internet infrastructure, such as Google News and Yahoo. Why block us and not them?"," he concludes.

NewsNow claims to receive two million visitors every month, and argues that services such as aggregators benefit newspapers by making it easier for readers to find their content. However, Murdoch has argued that he'd rather have fewer visitors who paid.

We contacted News International to ask whether this policy is likely to be extended to other website, and are still awaiting a response.

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