It was The Sun’s publisher wot done it first, but now Mirror.co.uk’s followed suit, blocking news aggregator NewsNow from crawling its news site, we have discovered and confirmed. The change was made on Monday and makes NewsNow the only site blocked from crawling a Mirror.co.uk that’s increasingly emboldened against gatekeepers like search engines and aggregators.
News International, as we revealed, recently blocked the service from indexing its papers’ articles, effectively having the same effect as the Newspaper Licensing Agency’s new license that’s required by aggregators which copy news stories in order to provide paid monitoring services.
NewsNow itself has been voluntarily switching on and off crawling of a handful of sites over the last couple of months, as a debate grows over the propriety of the link economy. We understand that switching off its spider has had a small negative impact on some of the sites’ traffic.
“We’re not big fans of their business model,” Mirror.co.uk digital director Matt Kelly told paidContent:UK.
Mirror.co.uk is now lock-step with News International, with which it famously trades barbs in the offline world of UK tabloids. It’s is firmly on-record as no longer giving a toss for the cow-towing to search traffic, instead seeking loyal, repeat readers. This is effectively a move to downplay the incursion of the mere occasional reader in to the sites’ traffic logs, instead preferring to show higher-“quality” readers to their advertisers.
Mirror Group Newspapers’ combined online traffic broke the 10 million monthly uniques mark at the end of 2009, but remained sixth out of seven fully ABCe-audited UK national newspaper sites.