Meltwater’s Melting: Now Daily Mail Blocks The Service

The UK’s most popular online newspaper website has joined News Corp.’s The Times, The Sun and News Of The World sites in barring the online media monitoring service Meltwater from crawling its articles, with a court action pending between UK newspapers and the company.

DMGT’s Mail Online instituted the barrier Tuesday via the robots.txt site control protocol. Managing director James Bromley declined to comment about reasons to paidContent:UK.

The Murdoch titles began blocking Meltwater News in March, as we revealed, though The Times now blocks all search services from its stories.

It may be bit of a problem for Meltwater News clients, who are mostly PR professionals looking for company mentions in news media. Mail Online takes the largest share of UK online newspaper visits – 42.3 million unique browsers in May – and is fixed on remaining free-to-view by continuing to amass audiences to sell ad impressions to.

But Mail Online is heavy on celeb news and Meltwater News actually claims to crawl over 115,000 different sources, so Mail Online’s absence is also a drop in the ocean.

There’s a wider context here…

Meltwater is currently alone in refusing to pay one of two new licenses which UK newspapers, represented by the Newspaper Licensing Agency, began requiring in January from services which crawl their material.

Meltwater had taken the agency to the Copyright Tribunal for a ruling striking out the licenses. But the agency has now referred the case up to the UK’s High Court for a quicker, more binding decision.

It looks like some publishers aren’t waiting for the verdict.