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CNET Networks, Inc.
Fate Acquired by CBS Corporation
Successor CBS Interactive
Founded 1993
Defunct 2008
Headquarters 235 Second Street, San Francisco, California, USA
Key people Neil Ashe, president
Shelby Bonnie, co-founder
Industry Internet information provider
Website Official website

CNET Networks, Inc. was a media company based in San Francisco, California, United States. The company was co-founded in 1993 by Halsey Minor and Shelby Bonnie. It was acquired by CBS Corporation in 2008 and its properties were merged into CBS Interactive. CNET was also originally an acronym that originally stood for Computer Networks, but the name was later changed to CNET Networks, and CNET was no longer an acronym.

Contents

History

In 1994, with the help from Fox co-founder Kevin Wendle and former Disney creative associate Dan Baker,[1] CNET produced four pilot television programs about computers, technology, and the Internet. CNET TV was composed of CNET Central, The Web, and The New Edge.[2][3]CNET Central was created first and aired in syndication in the United States on the USA Network. Later, it began airing on USA's sister network Sci Fi Channel along with The Web and The New Edge.[2] These were later followed by TV.com in 1996. Current American Idol host Ryan Seacrest first came to national prominence at CNET, as the host of The New Edge and doing various voice-over work for CNET.[4]

In addition, CNET produced another television technology news program called News.com that aired on CNBC beginning in 1999.[1]

CNET acquired the Swiss-based company GDT in 1997. GDT was later renamed to CNET Channel.[1]

In 1998, CNET granted the right to Asiacontent to set up CNET Asia and the operation was brought back in December 2000.[5][6]

In January 2000, the same time CNET became CNET Networks, they acquired comparison shopping site mySimon for $700 million.[7]

In October 2000, CNET Networks acquired ZDNet for approximately $1.6 billion.[8][9] In January 2001, Ziff Davis Media, Inc. reached an agreement with CNET Networks, Inc. to regain the URLs lost in the 2000 sale of Ziff Davis, Inc. to SoftBank Corp. a publicly traded Japanese media and technology company.[10] In April 2001, CNET acquired TechRepublic Inc., which provides content for IT professionals from Gartner, Inc., for $23 million in cash and stock.[11] On July 14, 2004, CNET announced that it would acquire Webshots, the leading photography website for $70 million ($60 million in cash, $10 million in deferred consideration).[12]

From 2001 to 2003, CNET operated CNET Radio on the Clear Channel-owned KNEW 910 AM in the San Francisco Bay Area, WBPS 890 AM in Boston and on XM Satellite Radio. CNET Radio offered technology-themed programming. After failing to attract a sufficient audience, CNET Radio ceased operating in January 2003 due to financial losses.[13]

On October 11, 2006, Shelby Bonnie resigned as chairman and CEO as a result of stock options backdating scandal that occurred between 1996 and 2003. Neil Ashe was named as the new CEO.[14]

In December 2006, James Kim, an editor at CNET, died in the Oregon wilderness. CNET hosted a memorial show and podcasts dedicated to him.

On March 1, 2007, CNET announced the public launch of BNET, a website targeted towards business managers. BNET was launched in 2005 in beta form.[15]

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Acquisition by CBS

On May 15, 2008, it was announced that CBS Corporation would buy CNET Networks for US$1.8 billion.[16][17][18] On June 30, 2008, the acquisition was completed.[19] Former CNET properties are now part of CBS Interactive.

Websites

CNET.com

Logo of CNET.

CNET.com is CNET's online portal, providing access to CNET's reviews, news, downloads, price comparisons and CNET TV as well as web search powered by search.com. CNET.com is divided into seven major sections, all of which can be accessed from the home or "Today on CNET" page. These sections are:

Reviews - Product and service reviews by CNET. This section can also include extras such as Internet connection speed tests, opinion articles and buying guides.

CNET News - CNET News (formerly known as News.com) is a news website dedicated to technology. Content is created by both CNET and external media agencies. A daily podcast is available which covers main stories. Some of CNET's blogs also fall under this portion of the website, including Webware (Web 2.0 topics) and Crave (gadgets).

Tips & Tricks - Tips & Tricks is the learning area of CNET, offering a range of tutorials, guides and tips for technology users.

CNET TV -

CNET TV is CNET's Internet video channel offering a selection of on-demand video content including video reviews, first looks and special features. CNET TV plays various videos, including CNET video reviews. CNET editors such as Tom Merritt, Molly Wood, Brian Cooley and Brian Tong host shows like Car Tech, Buzz Report, Quick Tips, CNET Top 5, Loaded, The Apple Byte, Digital City, The Digital Home, Inside CNET Live, Mail Bag, video prizefights, and others, as well as special reports and reviews. On April 12, 2007, CNET TV aired its first episode of CNET LIVE, hosted by Brian Cooley and Tom Merritt. The first episode featured Justin Kan of justin.tv.[20][21]

CNET Shopper - CNET Shopper.com is an online tool that aims to find the lowest prices on items from online retailers. While generally reliable, there have been notable errors in pricing information on occasion including a camera worth over a thousand dollars being advertised for only a few dollars.

Blogs - Also available at blogs.cnet.com, this is a round up of all the blogs from CNET personalities and official blogs for CNET and CNET programs.

Downloads -

Acessable via cnet.com or download.com, this provides Windows, Macintosh and mobile software for download. CNET maintains that this software is free of spyware. The site also offers free MP3 music files for download (mostly by independent artists), however recently, the music section of the site is now merged with last.fm. This meant that all the music downloads were deleted without warning.[22]

CNET UK

Logo of CNET UK.

In addition to CNET.com, which is aimed at North American audiences, there are also regional CNET sites including cnet.com.au (for Australia), cnet.co.uk (for the United Kingdom) and asia.cnet.com (for Asia). Content on regional sites is a mix of mostly locally produced content from regional offices of CNET, with certain content - mostly news - from the US CNET.com site. In addition, content is sometimes sourced from ZDNet.

In 2005, CNET launched CNET.co.uk.[23] This UK arm of CNET Networks covers similar areas to CNET.com, but specifically for UK consumers. As of January 2008, an independent audit certified CNET.co.uk was the largest consumer electronics website in the UK, with 2.5 million unique visitors[24].The site is mainly focused on reviews, news, a gadget blog ('Crave', a name which CNET.com eventually adopted for their own blog) and editorial content from a team of editors, covering consumer electronics and car tech. CNET.co.uk is managed and overseen by site editor Jason Jenkins (formerly of T3 Magazine). The CNET.co.uk editorial team consists of Jason Jenkins (Editor), Nike Hide (Chief sub-editor), Charles Kloet (Sub-Editor), Rory Reid (Editor, Cars and Computing), Ian Morris (Editor, Home Cinema and Community), Nate Lanxon (Senior Editor, News and Features), Flora Graham (Reviewer, Mobile Phones) and Richard Trenholm (Editor, News and Features). CNET.co.uk also has a weekly podcast called the 'CNET UK Podcast'.

CNET Networks UK also comprises a number of other online-only publications, including GameSpot.co.uk, Silicon.com, ZDNet.co.uk and SmartPlanet.com, each of which produce both editorial and audio-video productions, including GameSpot's video show 'Start/Select', and ZDNet's popular 'Dialogue Box' show. Collectively, the publications of CNET Networks UK generate 132 million monthly page views from 9.8 million unique visitors[25].

On November 19, 2007, CNET UK launched the UK version of CNET TV. Although the site's design is very different in design to CNET.com's version, it differs by using true 16:9-resolution video, streaming in Adobe Flash at high bit rates. CNET TV UK produces all original content, most notably a weekly music show, Encoded, hosted by Nate Lanxon; and Reel Weekend, a weekly film digest hosted by Ben Howard. The site also features a car tech show, product video reviews, music videos and most of the video content produced by CNET Networks UK's various consumer and business sites.

Alongside music show Encoded, CNET TV UK hosts live sessions with popular artists—in the past including The Broken Family Band and Lightspeed Champion -- under the name CNET TV:Live.

BNET

BNET, a portal designed similarly to CNET, was created for the businessman or woman, specifically those in the management field. It provides tools and information in an organized format, while also providing professional insight on emerging news and strategies affecting a range of industries, many not specifically related to the technology industry.

Other websites

Other CNET websites include GameSpot, GameFAQs, Metacritic, MP3.com, TV.com, and Movie Tome, which operate under the "CNET Networks Entertainment" brand name; Chow, Chowhound, UrbanBaby and Consumating, which operate under the "CNET Networks Community" brand; Webware, a blog launched in November 2006 dedicated to web applications.[26]

In July 2004, CNET Networks acquired Webshots, an online photo sharing site for $70 million[27]. However, in October 2007, they sold Webshots to American Greetings for $45 million[28]

CNET owns many domain names, including download.com, upload.com, news.com, search.com, tv.com, mp3.com, chat.com, computers.com, help.com, shopper.com, radio.com, and com.com.

In 1998, CNET was sued by Snap Technologies for its use of the snap.com website.[29]

Podcasts

The network produces several audio and video podcasts. They are related to the core areas of technology: General news, DAPs, Cars, Security, and the ongoing wars between the politicos and the industry. The network has several different brandings on their podcasts. CNET.com, the Network's most viewed site, has more than eight to date.[30] The other sites in the CNET Network that have podcasts are GameSpot, TV.com, MP3.com and CNET.co.uk. A lot of CNET podcasts are streamed live at http://www.cnet.com/live

Name Brand Hosts Type Frequency
Buzz Out Loud CNET.com Molly Wood, Tom Merritt, and Jason Howell (Replaced Veronica Belmont) Audio/Video Monday-Friday
Planet CNET CNET.com and international Kara Tsuboi, Louise Ghegan, Rory Reid, Ella Morton and John Chan Video Indefinite Hiatus (Usually Weekly But Currently In Hiatus)
The Apple Byte CNET.com Brian Tong Video/CNET TV Weekly
The 404 CNET.com Jeff Bakalar, Wilson Tang, and Justin Yu Audio/Video Monday-Friday
Loaded CNET.com Natali Del Conte (interim host Mark Licea) Video Monday-Thursday
The Buzz Report CNET.com Molly Wood (interim host Brian Cooley) Video Weekly
CNET Top 5 CNET.com Tom Merritt Video Weekly
Gadgettes CNET.com Molly Wood, Kelly Morrison, and Jason Howell Audio/Video Weekly
Inside CNET Labs CNET.com Eric Franklin and Dong Ngo Audio Daily
Digital City CNET.com Dan Ackerman, Joseph Kaminski and Julie Rivera Audio Weekly
MP3 Insider CNET.com Jasmine France and Donald Bell (formerly Veronica Belmont and James Kim) Audio Weekly
The Real Deal CNET.com Tom Merritt and Rafe Needleman Audio/Video Weekly
Security Bites CNET.com and News.com Robert Vamosi Audio and video (on CNET TV) Weekly
Car Tech CNET.com Brian Cooley, Antuan Goodwin, and Wayne Cunningham Audio and video (on CNET TV) Weekly
CNET Live CNET.com Tom Merritt, Brian Cooley and Brian Tong Video (CNET TV) No longer airing weekly, Formerly On Thursdays, Will be brought back for special events and is the new name for the live streaming of podcast recordings website.
Dialed In CNET.com Kent German, Bonnie Cha, and Nicole Lee Audio Wednesdays
Crossfade TV Download.com, MP3.com Kurt Wolff, Mike Tao, Peter Gavin, and Anngie Dehoyos Video (CNET TV) Bi-weekly
Studio C CNET.com, Download.com, and MP3.com Kurt Wolff, Ariel Nunez, Mike Tao, and Peter Gavin Audio Weekly
Today on the Spot GameSpot Various GameSpot employees host this video game talk show along with other editors and guests. Segments include news since the last episode (hosted by Tor Thorson), a Daily Demo, This week on Wii shop channel (tue.), Xbox live(thu.), and Playstation Network(sat.) and trivia segment at the end of most episodes. Video Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at 4 PM PST
The LineUp GameSpot Brian Ekberg, Aaron Thomas, and Shanker Srinivasan hosts this sports video game talk show. Video Bi-weekly (Fri)
Import Friendly GameSpot Takeshi Hiraoka hosts this import game and culture show. Video Monthly (1st Thurs)
Start/Select GameSpot UK Guy Cocker hosts this news and features show on UK gaming. Video Fridays
The Hotspot GameSpot Brendan Sinclair hosts this video game news podcast. Some weeks have multiple episodes, such as E3 09, which had three consecutive podcasts from the show. Audio Tuesdays
From the Bleachers GameSpot Brian Ekberg hosts this sports video game podcast. Audio Mondays - On Hiatus until further notice.
Gamespot UK Podcast GameSpot UK Guy Cocker, Luke Anderson and the Gamespot UK team with news and features on UK Gaming. Audio Thursdays
OzSpot Gamespot AU Podcast Gamespot AU Randolph Ramsay, Dan Chiappini, and James Kozanecki bring you the GameSpot AU podcast. Biggest news and trends in the world of Australian Gaming. Audio Bi-weekly (Wed)
CNET UK Podcast CNET.co.uk Ian Morris, Nate Lanxon and CNET UK team Audio Fridays
The Digital Home CNET.com Don Reisinger Audio Weekly

References

  1. ^ a b c "CNET Networks - About Us - History". CNET Networks. http://www.cnetnetworks.com/aboutus/history.html. Retrieved 2007-06-29. 
  2. ^ a b CNET.com
  3. ^ Entertainment Weekly
  4. ^ Imbd.com
  5. ^ CNETnetworks.com
  6. ^ Computerworld.com
  7. ^ "CNET Acquires mySimon". internetnews.com. January 20, 2000. http://www.internetnews.com/ec-news/article.php/289951. Retrieved 2008-01-19. 
  8. ^ "Cnet To Buy Ziff Davis". InformationWeek. July 19, 2000. http://www.informationweek.com/story/IWK20000719S0010. Retrieved 2007-06-29. 
  9. ^ "Interview With CNETnews.com's Sydnie Kohara". JournalismJobs.com. January 2001. http://www.journalismjobs.com/interview_kohara.cfm. Retrieved 2007-06-29. 
  10. ^ "Ziff Davis Media to Regain URLs through agreement with CNET Networks, ZDNet". Ziff Davis Media Press Release. January 23, 2001. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0EIN/is_2001_Jan_23/ai_69405336. Retrieved 2008-01-19. 
  11. ^ "CNET acquires TechRepublic for $23 million". San Francisco Business Times. April 9, 2001. http://sanfrancisco.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/stories/2001/04/09/daily5.html. Retrieved 2008-01-19. 
  12. ^ "CNET Networks to Acquire Webshots". CNET Networks Investor Relations. July 14, 2004. http://ir.cnetnetworks.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=67325&p=irol-newsArticle&ID=591100&highlight=. Retrieved 2008-01-19. 
  13. ^ "CNet pulls plug on radio program". Silicon Valley / San Jose Business Journal. January 16, 2003. http://www.bizjournals.com/sanjose/stories/2003/01/13/daily60.html. Retrieved 2007-06-29. 
  14. ^ "CNET CEO quits after options review; outlook cut". Reuters. 2006-10-11. http://today.reuters.com/news/articlenews.aspx?type=industryNews&storyID=2006-10-11T161334Z_01_WEN6793_RTRIDST_0_INDUSTRY-MEDIA-CNET-DC.XML&WTmodLoc=EntNewsIndustry_C2_industryNews-4. Retrieved 2006-10-24. 
  15. ^ "CNET Networks rolls out BNET, Web site targeting business managers". BtoB Magazine. March 1, 2007. http://www.btobonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070301/FREE/70301001/1078. Retrieved 2007-06-29. 
  16. ^ "CBS Corporation to acquire CNET Networks, Inc.". CBS Corporation. 2008-05-15. http://www.cbscorporation.com/news/prdetails.php?id=3263. Retrieved 2008-05-15. 
  17. ^ "CBS to buy CNET Networks". CNET. 2008-05-15. http://www.news.com/8301-10784_3-9944882-7.html. Retrieved 2008-05-15. 
  18. ^ "CBS buying CNet in online push". cnn.com. May 15, 2008. http://dailybriefing.blogs.fortune.cnn.com/2008/05/15/cbs-buying-cnet-in-online-push/. Retrieved 2008-05-15. 
  19. ^ "CBS Corporation completes acquisition of CNET Networks; merges operations into new, espanded CBS Interactive Business Unit". CBS Corporation. 2008-06-30. http://www.cbscorporation.com/news/prdetails.php?id=3503. Retrieved 2008-06-30. 
  20. ^ CNT.com
  21. ^ CNET.com
  22. ^ CNET.com
  23. ^ CBSinteractive.co.uk CBS Interactive
  24. ^ "CNET Jan '08 audit figures" (PDF). ABCe. January 15, 2007. http://www.abce.org.uk/ABCE_PDFS/CNET.co.uk1107w.pdf. Retrieved 2008-01-16. 
  25. ^ "CNET audit figures". ABCe. February 4, 2008. http://cnetnetworks.co.uk. Retrieved 2008-02-04. 
  26. ^ Needleman, Rafe (2006-11-29). "Webware.com is live!". Rafe's Blog. http://www.rafeneedleman.com/rafes_blog/2006/11/webwarecom_is_l.html. Retrieved 2007-09-21. 
  27. ^ "CNET Acquires Photo Service Webshots For $70 Million". http://www.paidcontent.org/entry/cnet-acquires-photo-service-webshots-for-70-million. 
  28. ^ "CNET Networks Announces Sale of Webshots to American Greetings". CNET Networks Investor Relations. http://pressreleases.cnetnetworks.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=67325&p=irol-newsArticle&ID=1068044&highlight=. 
  29. ^ Bowman, Lisa, News.com (1998-11-21). "Snap! Crackle! Popped! CNet hit with suit over portal name". ZDNet News. http://news.zdnet.com/2100-9595_22-512894.html. Retrieved 2008-05-11. 
  30. ^ "CNET Podcast Central". http://reviews.cnet.com/4520-11455_7-6333605-1.html. Retrieved 2007-11-25. 

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