Meltwater Barred From Sun Online Content As News International Steps Up Anti-Crawling Policy

Delivering on its intention of removing its content from the open web, News International's The Sun Online last week blocked PR media monitoring service Meltwater and UK news aggregator NewsNow from indexing its articles, using a Robots.txt file, PaidContent.org reported.

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The move comes as no big surprise as News International has already started removing and shielding the content of its UK paper The Times Online from such aggregators' reach at the beginning of this year.

Moving Towards A NewsCorp Paywall?
According to PaidContent.org, the decision is set to extend to all of NewsCorp's UK titles as CEO Rupert Murdoch is keen on making all production from his empire accessible... solely via his empire.

"It Ain't Over Till It's Over"
Apparently, NewsCorp is also set to remove itself from the aggregation and archive service Nexis (part of LexisNexis) and plans to "still keep contracts with other news aggregators, among them Factiva, the competitor of LexisNexis that was developed by Dow Jones and acquired by Rupert Murdoch in 2007," PaidContent said earlier this year, without citing sources.

Discrimination And Infringement To Freedom Of Access To Public Information?
Meltwater and NewsNow are likely to get hurt, as News International's decision prevents millions of their aggregators' customers to access any content from the titles.

In a statement issued when The Time Online's articles were pulled out of the web, NewsNow accused News International of "undermining freedom of access to public information," while insisting that Murdoch had picked on them - and Meltwater for that matter - while leaving the likes of Google News and Yahoo unscathed.

Meltwater however, has already shifted gear by unveiling Meltwater Press, a web-based media intelligent search tool to identify influencers and thus optimize media reach. The launch of such high added value services should help compensate for the loss on the other hand.

So, fair play or foul play ?

About the author

Liva Judic joined Search Engine Watch and ClickZ in May 2010 as a news blogger. She has lived and worked across the globe in Madagascar, Switzerland, London, NYC, Asia and is now based in between New York and Berlin.

Her background is in government relations and financial media where she started out as a journalist at Bloomberg and became senior editor at AFX news (now part of ThomsonReuters). Prior to forming her own consultancy Judic was head of international PR for a head of state.

Judic focuses on facilitating brand and marketing transitioning for European startups moving to the US. She has been named one of the Top 50 Industry Influencers of 2014 by AGBeat