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Friday, 08 January 2010

The Times strikes first to kill off NewsNow

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As I've mentioned earlier, the increasingly aggressive actions by the national newspapers against news aggregator NewsNow could threaten a lot of independent websites.

Squarefootball will have to consider its linking strategy after NewsNow has announced that The Times is now blocking its site ahead of legal action. Basically The Times is the first of the nationals to block NewsNow but it won't be the last.

This is not an issue that is likely to end well. If newspapers want to block aggregators that won't pay them for their links that is their business; but if (and when) that does not yield the extra revenue that they want to generate by forcing enough people inside their paywalls then they will look elsewhere for money. If the papers can kill off NewsNow then they will move onto all the little aggregators that have sprung up and on from them onto all the little websites that pull quotes, sections or whole articles from the nationals.

Squarefootball has always generated original copy, nothing cut and pasted from newspapers and nothing that has previously been published anywhere else (unless we've missed something) so we have no worries. But the massive expansion of sports comment on the web will be reversed once the papers start to cut out anyone who they dislike - the likes of Yahoo! and Google can (and will) pay them off, but the small independents will have to be different and original to avoid this evolution.

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Antony Melvin



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