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Categories: Bad reviews, Internet, Newspapers. Tags: , ,

NewsNow vs the Times: I’ve decided I’m not sympathetic

January 9, 2010 3 Comments

I wrote yesterday that I was sympathetic towards NewsNow and its ongoing row with newspapers, especially the Times.

I've now decided that I'm not.

NewsNow crawls the Times site in order to gather information for its paid service to businesses as well as its free service to consumers:

Our unique filing engine is designed to match each new breaking news article, against any of thousands of complex search specifications, in seconds. Our subscription services harness the power of our filing engine for your organisation's specific purpose.

It charges from £95 a month for tailored feeds and from £75 a month for generic (pre-built) feeds.

So it basically charges organisations to show them news stories about a given subject or keyword.

Put like that, there's no real reason why the Times should let NewsNow crawl its site, unless it pays up to the Newspaper Licensing Authority.

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  • It's interesting that NewsNow is doing just what the Times should be doing – packaging content in useful and valuable ways that people are willing to pay for.

    Perhaps the Times has learned the lesson and is paving the way for its own service...

  • Adam Newby says:

    Just to set the record straight: NewsNow does not "charge organisations to show them news stories". If our B2B customers want to read articles from The Times (or any other free-to-web publication), they can do so for free directly at the Times Online web site. So why would they pay us for the privilege? What they pay for is for our search service: for us to *find* articles for them. We don't republish content, we only publish links to that content.

    The distinction between 'free' and 'paid for' is in any case a spurious one: Google News provides an email alert facility, but they happen not to charge for it; our free web site is not really 'free', in that it is part funded by advertising.

  • Hi, Adam. Thanks for the comment - and sorry, I hadn't meant to imply that you republished the content. I meant show in the sense of point out rather than allow them to read.

    As you're here though, do you have any thoughts on my previous post about the difference between the right to crawl and the right to link.

    Even if Meltwater wins the copyright tribunal case against the NLA, the papers' use of robots.txt files to block crawlers could render that victory redundant. Not that robots.txt files have the force of law or anything ...

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