"The Text File That Runs the Internet"

But robots.txt is not a legal document — and 30 years after its creation, it still relies on the good will of all parties involved. Disallowing a bot on your robots.txt page. . . sends a message, but it’s not going to stand up in court. Any crawler that wants to ignore robots.txt can simply do so, with little fear of repercussions. . . . As the AI companies continue to multiply, and their crawlers grow more unscrupulous, anyone wanting to sit out or wait out the AI takeover has to take on an endless game of whac-a-mole. . . . If AI is in fact the future of search, as Google and others have predicted, blocking AI crawlers could be a short-term win but a long-term disaster.


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Author: Charles W. Bailey, Jr.

Charles W. Bailey, Jr.