Effective today, the QRZ Callsign database is changing the way we serve callsign data to our web (browser) based users. These changes have been brought on by a steadily increasing number of automated systems that access the QRZ data in so-called hidden or stealth mode. Such systems create a significant load on the QRZ servers and in doing so, deprive ordinary users of the performance that they deserve.
These robots (or 'bots') come in many forms. Some are designed to scrape the entire website for every piece of information we have. Others, known as "log checkers" are programs written by hams that repeatedly query the QRZ servers while working through lists of 10's of thousands of callsigns, doing it as rapidly as possible. Finally, some logging programs provide "auto fill" features that use the QRZ servers in the background to fetch callsign data as soon as the user types in a callsign.
For the past several years, QRZ has provided an XML Data service that was specifically designed to serve automated requests such as those described above. The XML service is an extremely lightweight and flexible system that places less than 1/10 of the load on our database that a "stealth" callsign lookup does on our regular pages. In addition, our advertisers are being deprived of ad exposures by these programs which routinely ignore or discard all such non-callsign data as they scrape our site.
Today's changes address these issues with a new set of constraints that we have developed with the goal of providing fast and fair access to all QRZ users. The following is a summary of what these measures mean:
- Callsign data, including name, address, and other QSL and logging information will be shown only to registered users of QRZ who are logged in at the time of the request. Guests that have not logged in will still see the callsign Bio page and pictures, but no callsign information will be shown.
- Registered users who are logged in will see the full detail on callsign pages.
- Ham users, i.e. those whose user name matches a callsign in our database, are limited to 100 callsign page lookups per day, not including their own callsign page.
- Non-ham users, i.e. users who aren't hams or don't have a username that matches one of our callsigns, will be limited to 25 callsign lookups per day.
- QRZ subscribers, of any type, are granted unlimited daily access to the QRZ callsign data.
These limits are designed for fairness and the vast majority of our ham users will never be affected by them, aside from the new requirement that you must be logged in to see callsign data. Note as well that when looking up or viewing your own callsign page that the act does not count against your daily lookup limit.
We ask for your support in accepting these changes and understanding that they were necessary in order to maintain the high level of service and support that our users have grown accustomed to.