CNET

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"CNET Networks" redirects here. For the successor online media company, see CBS Interactive.
For Centre National d'Études des Télécommunications (CNET), the research and development centre of France Télécom, see France Télécom and Centre national d'études des télécommunications.
CNET
Cnetlogo.png
Web address cnet.com
Commercial? Yes
Type of site Technology News
Registration Optional
Owner CBS Interactive
Created by Halsey Minor and Shelby Bonnie
Editor Lindsey Turrentine and Connie Guglielmo
Launched March 5, 1994; 20 years ago (1994-03-05)
Alexa rank Increase 50 (April 2014)[1]
Current status Online

CNET (stylized as c|net) is an American media website that publishes reviews, news, articles, blogs, podcasts and videos on technology and consumer electronics globally. Founded in 1994 by Halsey Minor and Shelby Bonnie, it was the flagship brand of CNET Networks and became a brand of CBS Interactive through CNET Networks' acquisition in 2008.[2][3][4][5] CNET originally produced content for radio and television in addition to its website and now uses new media distribution methods through its Internet television network, CNET Video, and its podcast and blog networks.

In addition CNET currently has region-specific and language-specific editions. These include the United Kingdom, Australia, China, France, Germany, Japan, Korea and CNET en Español.

History[edit]

See also: CBS Interactive

Origins[edit]

Logo of CNET Networks prior to acquisition by CBS Interactive

In 1994, with the help from Fox Network co-founder[6] Kevin Wendle and former Disney creative associate Dan Baker,[7] 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.[8][9] 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.[8] 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.[10]

In addition, CNET produced another television technology news program called News.com that aired on CNBC beginning in 1999.[7]

From 2001 to 2003, CNET operated CNET Radio on the Clear Channel-owned KNEW (910) in the San Francisco Bay Area, WBPS (890) 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.[11]

Acquisitions and expansions[edit]

As CNET Networks, the site made various acquisitions to expand its reach across various web platforms, regions, and markets.

In July 1999, CNET acquired the Swiss-based company GDT in 1997.[12] GDT was later renamed to CNET Channel.[13]

In 1998, CNET granted the right to Asiacontent to set up CNET Asia and the operation was brought back in December 2000.[14][15]

In January 2000, the same time CNET became CNET Networks,[16] they acquired comparison shopping site mySimon for $736 million.[17][18]

In October 2000, CNET Networks acquired ZDNet for approximately $1.6 billion.[19][20][21] 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.[22] In April 2001, CNET acquired TechRepublic Inc., which provides content for IT professionals from Gartner, Inc., for $23 million in cash and stock.[23][24]

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),[25] completing the acquisition that same month.[26][27] In October 2007, they sold Webshots to American Greetings for $45 million.[28]

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 had been running under beta status since 2005.[29]

On May 15, 2008 it was announced that CBS Corporation would buy CNET Networks for US$1.8 billion.[3][4][30][31] On June 30, 2008, the acquisition was completed.[32] Former CNET properties are now part of CBS Interactive. CBS Interactive now owns many domain names originally created by CNET Networks, including download.com, downloads.com, upload.com, news.com, search.com, TV.com, mp3.com, chat.com, computers.com, help.com, shopper.com, radio.com, and cnet.com.

On September 19, 2013 CBS Interactive launched a Spanish language sister site under the name CNET en Español.[33] It focuses on topics that matter to Spanish-speaking technology enthusiasts. The site offered a "new perspective" on technology and is under the leadership of managing editor Gabriel Sama.[34]

In March 2014, CNET refreshed its site by merging with CNET UK and vowing to merge all editions of the agency into a unified agency. This change brought many changes but the most foremost would be a new user experience and renaming CNET TV as CNET Video.

Criticism[edit]

In 1998, CNET was sued by Snap Technologies, operators of the education service CollegeEdge, for trademark infringement relating to CNET's ownership of the domain name Snap.com, due to Snap Technologies already owning a trademark on its name.[35]

Logo of CNET 2008-2011, the original logo used from its inception in 1994 to 2008 is now in use again, with the slight difference that it is now a 3D sphere instead of a circle.

In 2005, Google representatives refused to be interviewed by all CNET reporters for an entire year after CNET published Google's CEO Eric Schmidt's salary, named the neighborhood where he lives, some of his hobbies and political donations.[36] All the information had been gleaned from Google searches.[37][38]

On October 10, 2006, Shelby Bonnie resigned as chairman and CEO, in addition to two other executives, as a result of a stock options backdating scandal that occurred between 1996 and 2003.[39] This would also cause the firm to restate its financial earnings over 1996 through 2003 for over $105 million in resulting expenses.[40] The Securities and Exchange Commission later dropped an investigation into the practice. Neil Ashe was named as the new CEO.[41][42][43]

In 2011, CNET and CBS Interactive were sued by a coalition of artists (led by FilmOn founder Alki David) for copyright infringement by promoting the download of LimeWire, a popular peer to peer downloading software.[44][45] Although the original suit was voluntarily dropped by Alki David, he vowed to sue at a later date to bring "expanded"[46] action against CBS Interactive. In November 2011, another lawsuit against CBS Interactive was introduced, claiming that CNet and CBS Interactive knowingly distributed LimeWire, the file sharing software.[47]

Hopper controversy[edit]

In January 2013, CNET named Dish Network's "Hopper with Sling" digital video recorder as a nominee for the CES "Best in Show" award (which is decided by CNET on behalf of its organizers), and named it the winner in a vote by the site's staff. However, CBS abruptly disqualified the Hopper, and vetoed the results because the company was in active litigation with Dish Network. CNET also announced that it could no longer review any product or service provided by companies that CBS are in litigation with (which also includes Aereo). The new vote subsequently gave the Best in Show award to the Razer Edge tablet instead.[48][49][50]

Dish Network's CEO Joe Clayton said that the company was "saddened that CNET’s staff is being denied its editorial independence because of CBS’ heavy-handed tactics."[48] On January 14, 2013, editor-in-chief Lindsey Turrentine addressed the situation, stating that CNET's staff were in an "impossible" situation due to the conflict of interest posed by the situation, and promised that she would do everything within her power to prevent a similar incident from occurring again. The conflict also prompted one CNET senior writer, Greg Sandoval, to resign.[49]

The decision also drew the ire of staff from the Consumer Electronics Association, the organizers of CES; CEO Gary Shapiro criticized the decision in a USA Today op-ed column and a statement by the CEA, stating that "making television easier to watch is not against the law. It is simply pro-innovation and pro-consumer." Shapiro felt that the decision also hurt the confidence of CNET's readers and staff, "destroying its reputation for editorial integrity in an attempt to eliminate a new market competitor." As a result of the controversy and fearing damage to the show's brand, the CEA announced on January 31, 2013 that CNET will no longer decide the CES Best in Show award winner due to the interference of CBS (the position will be offered to other technology publications), and the "Best in Show" award was jointly awarded to both the Hopper with Sling and Razer Edge.[50]

Sections[edit]

Reviews[edit]

The reviews section of the site is the largest part of the site, and generates over 4,300 product and software reviews per year. The Reviews section also features Editors’ Choice Awards, which recognize products that are particularly innovative and of the highest quality.

News[edit]

CNET News (formerly known as News.com), launched in 1996, is a news website dedicated to technology, and was one of the first news sources to help define technology reporting in the age of the internet. CNET News has won several prestigious awards, including the National Magazine award.[51] Content is created by both CNET and external media agencies as news articles and blogs, including Webware (Web 2.0 topics) and Crave (gadgets).

Video[edit]

CNET Video is CNET's Internet video channel offering a selection of on-demand video content including video reviews, first looks and special features. CNET VIdeo plays various videos, including CNET video reviews. CNET editors such as Brian Cooley, Jeff Bakalar, Bridget Carey and Brian Tong host shows like Car Tech, The 404 Show, Quick Tips, CNET Top 5, Update, The Apple Byte, video prizefights, and others, as well as special reports and reviews. On April 12, 2007, CNET Video aired its first episode of CNET LIVE, hosted by Brian Cooley and Tom Merritt. The first episode featured Justin Kan of justin.tv.[52][53] CNET Video was formerly known as CNET TV.

How To[edit]

Officially launched August 2011, How To is the learning area of CNET providing tutorials, guides and tips for technology users.

Download[edit]

With a catalog of more than 400,000 titles, the Downloads section of the website allows users to download popular software, generating approximately 3.5 million downloads per day.[citation needed] CNET download.com provides Windows, Macintosh and mobile software for download. CNET maintains that this software is free of spyware. The site also offered free MP3 music files for download (mostly by independent artists), however, the music section of the site has since merged with last.fm. This meant that all the music downloads were deleted without warning.[54] CNET Download has been criticized for bundling unwanted adware along with legitimate programs, engaging in deception as well as copyright and trademark infringement in order to so do. Some have been vectors for malware.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Cnet.com Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 2014-04-01. 
  2. ^ "CBS Corporation to acquire CNET Networks, Inc.". CBS Corporation. May 15, 2008. Archived from the original on May 15, 2008. Retrieved May 15, 2008. 
  3. ^ a b "CBS to buy CNET Networks". CNET. May 15, 2008. Retrieved May 15, 2008. 
  4. ^ a b "CBS buying CNet in online push". CNN. May 15, 2008. Archived from the original on May 17, 2008. Retrieved May 15, 2008. 
  5. ^ "CBS Corporation completes acquisition of CNET Networks; merges operations into new, espanded CBS Interactive Business Unit". CBS Corporation. June 30, 2008. Retrieved June 30, 2008. [dead link]
  6. ^ "Digital Hollywood Conference". September 27, 2000. Retrieved November 14, 2011. 
  7. ^ a b "CNET Networks – About Us – History". CNET Networks. Retrieved June 29, 2007. 
  8. ^ a b CNET
  9. ^ Entertainment Weekly
  10. ^ Ryan Seacrest at the Internet Movie Database
  11. ^ "CNet pulls plug on radio program". Silicon Valley / San Jose Business Journal. January 16, 2003. Retrieved June 29, 2007. 
  12. ^ "CNET Networks, Form 8-K, Current Report, Filing Date Aug 6, 1999". secdatabase.com. Retrieved Mar 27, 2013. 
  13. ^ "CNET Networks, Form 10-K, Annual Report, Filing Date Apr 1, 2002". secdatabase.com. Retrieved Mar 27, 2013. 
  14. ^ Networks
  15. ^ Computerworld
  16. ^ "CNET Networks, Form 8-K, Current Report, Filing Date Jan 24, 2000". secdatabase.com. Retrieved Mar 27, 2013. 
  17. ^ "CNET Networks, Form 8-K, Current Report, Filing Date Mar 10, 2000". secdatabase.com. Retrieved Mar 27, 2013. 
  18. ^ "CNET Acquires mySimon". InternetNews. January 20, 2000. Retrieved January 19, 2008. 
  19. ^ "CNET Networks, Form 8-K, Current Report, Filing Date Oct 27, 2000". secdatabase.com accessdate= Mar 27, 2013. 
  20. ^ "Cnet To Buy Ziff Davis". InformationWeek. July 19, 2000. Retrieved June 29, 2007. 
  21. ^ "Interview With CNETnews.com's Sydnie Kohara". JournalismJobs.com. January 2001. Retrieved June 29, 2007. 
  22. ^ "Ziff Davis Media to Regain URLs through agreement with CNET Networks, ZDNet". Ziff Davis Media Press Release. January 23, 2001. Retrieved January 19, 2008. 
  23. ^ "CNET Networks, Form 10-Q, Quarterly Report, Filing Date May 14, 2001". secdatabase.com. Retrieved Mar 27, 2013. 
  24. ^ "CNET acquires TechRepublic for $23 million". San Francisco Business Times. April 9, 2001. Retrieved January 19, 2008. 
  25. ^ "CNET Networks, Form 8-K, Current Report, Filing Date Jul 21, 2004". secdatabase.com. Retrieved Mar 27, 2013. 
  26. ^ "CNET Networks, Form 8-K, Current Report, Filing Date Aug 9, 2004" (PDF). secdatabase.com. Retrieved Mar 27, 2013. 
  27. ^ "CNET Acquires Photo Service Webshots For $70 Million". 
  28. ^ "CNET Networks, Form 8-K, Current Report, Filing Date Oct 31, 2007" (PDF). secdatabase.com. Retrieved Mar 27, 2013. 
  29. ^ "CNET Networks rolls out BNET, Web site targeting business managers". BtoB Magazine. March 1, 2007. Retrieved June 29, 2007. 
  30. ^ "CNET Networks, Form 8-K, Current Report, Filing Date May 15, 2008". secdatabase.com. Retrieved Mar 27, 2013. 
  31. ^ "CBS Corporation to acquire CNET Networks, Inc.". CBS Corporation. May 15, 2008. Archived from the original on May 15, 2008. Retrieved May 15, 2008. 
  32. ^ "CNET Networks, Form POS AM, Filing Date Jul 7, 2008". secdatabase.com. Retrieved Mar 27, 2013. 
  33. ^ Lindsey Turrentine (September 19, 2013). "CNET en Español is here. Bienvenidos". CNET News. Retrieved January 30, 2014. 
  34. ^ Lindsey Turrentine (August 22, 2013). "Meet the man who will run CNET en Español". CNET News. Retrieved January 30, 2014. 
  35. ^ Lisa Bowman (November 21, 1998). "Snap! Crackle! Popped! CNet hit with suit over portal name". ZDNet News. Retrieved May 11, 2008. 
  36. ^ "Google balances privacy, reach (including Erik Schmidt's personal information)". CNET. July 14, 2005. Retrieved August 19, 2010. 
  37. ^ Taylor, Jerome (August 18, 2010). "Interview to E. Schmidt". London: The Independent. Retrieved August 19, 2010. 
  38. ^ "CNET: We've been blackballed by Google". CNN. August 5, 2005. Retrieved August 19, 2010. 
  39. ^ "CNET Networks, Form 8-K, Current Report, Filing Date Oct 11, 2006". secdatabase.com. Retrieved Mar 27, 2013. 
  40. ^ "CNet Restatement Goes Back to 1996". The New York Times. Retrieved Dec 17, 2013. 
  41. ^ "CNET completes options review, CEO resigns". Reuters. October 11, 2006. Retrieved December 17, 2012. 
  42. ^ CNET Avoids Backdating Charges. Aba Journal. November 5, 2011. Retrieved July 8, 2011. 
  43. ^ Stock-Option Backdating Claims CNet's CEO, AdAge, October 11, 2006, retrieved July 8, 2011 
  44. ^ Albanesius, Chloe, PCMag.com (May 11, 2011). "CBS, CNET Sued for Copyright Infringement Over LimeWire Distribution". PC Magazine. 
  45. ^ Anderson, Nate, Ars Technica (May 4, 2011). "CNET sued over LimeWire, blamed for "Internet Piracy Phenomenon"". Ars Technica. 
  46. ^ Sam Gustin (November 16, 2011). "Alki David Drops CNET Lawsuit; Vows to Bring 'Expanded' Action". PaidContent. 
  47. ^ Ernesto, torrentfreak.com (November 15, 2011). "Artists Sue CBS, CNET, for Promoting and Profiting from Piracy". TorrentFreak. 
  48. ^ a b "Dish Recorder Snubbed for CNET Award Over CBS Legal Scuffle". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 11 January 2013. 
  49. ^ a b Albanesius, Chloe. "CNET Picked Dish Hopper as 'Best of CES' ... Until CBS Stepped In". PC Magazine. Retrieved January 14, 2013. 
  50. ^ a b "CNET loses CES awards following Dish Hopper controversy; DVR named 'Best In Show'". The Verge. Retrieved January 31, 2013. 
  51. ^ "CNET News.com Wins Coveted National Magazine Award for General Excellence Online". Business Wire. May 5, 2004. Retrieved January 31, 2014. 
  52. ^ CNET TV
  53. ^ CNET TV
  54. ^ CNET

External links[edit]