Media Groups Restrict AI Access to Content for Experimentation

Several prominent media portals have initiated an experimental ban on AI-driven search robots from Yandex and OpenAI, including those used for neural networks, to evaluate the impact on web traffic and content utilization.

In a notable move within the digital media landscape, several major media portals managed by Skhulev Media Holding, including,, and Fontanka, have implemented a ban on the use of their content by artificial intelligence search robots. This restriction specifically targets the YandexAdditional search robot and OpenAI’s robots, GPTBot and ChatGPT-User, prohibiting them from utilizing the portals’ content to power neural networks.

The decision to implement these bans was disclosed through updates to the robots.txt files of the affected media sites. These files are used to regulate how search engines and other web crawlers can interact with site content. Skhulev Media described the initiative as an experimental measure to assess the potential impacts on site traffic and the broader implications of AI integration.

The move comes amid broader considerations within the media industry about the advantages and challenges associated with AI technologies. Experts suggest that the decision by Skhulev Media reflects a cautious approach by site owners, who are currently evaluating the benefits of AI-driven services against the risks of losing direct visitor traffic to their websites.

Yandex has responded to these developments by noting that the exclusion of its search robots from accessing certain content is part of an A/B testing approach by publishers. This testing allows them to analyze different strategies for engaging with AI technologies without fully committing to a permanent change.

This experiment is particularly relevant in light of Yandex’s recent rollout of its Neuro service, which enhances search capabilities by integrating large generative models. These models are designed to sift through extensive online information, extract essential details, and present users with synthesized responses based on the content they access.

As this situation unfolds, it highlights the ongoing dialogue and experimentation within the media and tech industries as they navigate the evolving landscape of AI and its integration into traditional media practices.

Dan Taylor
Dan Taylor is an experienced SEO consultant and has worked with brands and companies on optimizing for Russia (and Yandex) for a number of years. Winner of the inaugural 2018 TechSEO Boost competition, webmaster at and Sloth.Cloud, and founder of