Type of site
|| 154 (September 2016 )
||March 5, 1994
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. 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, Japan, French, German, Korean and Spanish. According to third-party web analytics providers, Alexa and SimilarWeb, CNET is the highest-read technology news source on the Web, with over 200 million readers per month, being among the 200 most visited websites globally, as of 2015.
Logo of CNET Networks prior to acquisition by CBS Interactive
In 1994, with the help from Fox Network co-founder Kevin Wendle and former Disney creative associate Dan Baker, 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.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. 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.
In addition, CNET produced another television technology news program called News.com that aired on CNBC beginning in 1999.
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.
Acquisitions and expansions
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. GDT was later renamed to CNET Channel.
In 1998, CNET granted the right to Asiacontent to set up CNET Asia and the operation was brought back in December 2000.
In January 2000, the same time CNET became CNET Networks, they acquired comparison shopping site mySimon for $736 million.
In October 2000, CNET Networks acquired ZDNet for approximately $1.6 billion. 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. In April 2001, CNET acquired TechRepublic Inc., which provides content for IT professionals from Gartner, Inc., for $23 million in cash and stock.
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), completing the acquisition that same month. In October 2007, they sold Webshots to American Greetings for $45 million.
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.
On May 15, 2008 it was announced that CBS Corporation would buy CNET Networks for US$1.8 billion. On June 30, 2008, the acquisition was completed. 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, shopper.com, radio.com, com.com, and cnet.com.
On September 19, 2013 CBS Interactive launched a Spanish language sister site under the name CNET en Español. It focuses on topics of relevance primarily to Spanish-speaking technology enthusiasts. The site offered a "new perspective" on technology and is under the leadership of managing editor Gabriel Sama.
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 merge brought many changes, foremost of which would be a new user interface and the renaming of CNET TV as CNET Video.
Malware Infection in Downloads
Major anti-virus programs indicate that CNET downloads are infected with AdInstaller malware
- With a catalog of more than 400,000 titles, the Downloads section of the website allows users to download popular software. CNET download.com provides Windows, Macintosh and mobile software for download. CNET maintains that this software is free of spyware, but independent sources have confirmed that this is not the case. Download.com not only hosts software with malware, but their own download wrapper contains adware and bloatware.
Dispute with Snap Technologies
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.
In 2005, Google representatives refused to be interviewed by all CNET reporters for a year after CNET published Google's CEO Eric Schmidt's salary, named the neighborhood where he lives, some of his hobbies and political donations. All the information had been gleaned from Google searches.
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. This would also cause the firm to restate its financial earnings over 1996 through 2003 for over $105 million in resulting expenses. The Securities and Exchange Commission later dropped an investigation into the practice. Neil Ashe was named as the new CEO.
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. Although the original suit was voluntarily dropped by Alki David, he vowed to sue at a later date to bring "expanded" 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.
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.
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." 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.
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 has been offered to other technology publications), and the "Best in Show" award was jointly awarded to both the Hopper with Sling and Razer Edge.
- 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.
- 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. Content is created by both CNET and external media agencies as news articles and blogs, including Webware (Web 2.0 topics) and Crave (gadgets).
- 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. CNET Video was formerly known as CNET TV.
- Officially launched August 2011, How To is the learning area of CNET providing tutorials, guides and tips for technology users.
- ^ "Cnet.com Site Overview". Alexa Internet. Retrieved .
- ^ "CNET.com WHOIS, DNS, & Domain Info - DomainTools". WHOIS. Retrieved .
- ^ "CBS Corporation to acquire CNET Networks, Inc.". CBS Corporation. May 15, 2008. Archived from the original on May 18, 2008. Retrieved 2008.
- ^ a b "CBS to buy CNET Networks". CNET. May 15, 2008. Retrieved 2008.
- ^ a b "CBS buying CNet in online push". CNN. May 15, 2008. Archived from the original on May 17, 2008. Retrieved 2008.
- ^ "CBS Corporation completes acquisition of CNET Networks; merges operations into new, espanded CBS Interactive Business Unit". CBS Corporation. June 30, 2008. Archived from the original on August 29, 2008. Retrieved 2008.
- ^ "cnet.com Site Overview". alexa.com. Retrieved 2015.
- ^ "Top 50 sites in the world for News And Media > Technology News". similarweb.com. Retrieved 2015.
- ^ "Cnet.com Analytics". similarweb.com. Retrieved 2015.
- ^ "Digital Hollywood Conference". September 27, 2000. Archived from the original on November 3, 2011. Retrieved 2011.
- ^ a b "CNET Networks - About Us - History". CNET Networks. Archived from the original on April 6, 2005. Retrieved 2007.
- ^ a b CNET
- ^ Entertainment Weekly Archived April 21, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
- ^ Ryan Seacrest at the Internet Movie Database
- ^ "CNet pulls plug on radio program". Silicon Valley / San Jose Business Journal. January 16, 2003. Retrieved 2007.
- ^ "CNET Networks, Form 8-K, Current Report, Filing Date Aug 6, 1999". secdatabase.com. Retrieved 2013.
- ^ "CNET Networks, Form 10-K, Annual Report, Filing Date Apr 1, 2002" (PDF). secdatabase.com. Retrieved 2013.
- ^ 
- ^ "CNET-Ziff-Davis Merger Leaves Asiacontent.com Wondering".
- ^ "CNET Networks, Form 8-K, Current Report, Filing Date Jan 24, 2000". secdatabase.com. Retrieved 2013.
- ^ "CNET Networks, Form 8-K, Current Report, Filing Date Mar 10, 2000". secdatabase.com. Retrieved 2013.
- ^ "CNET Acquires mySimon". InternetNews. January 20, 2000. Retrieved 2008.
- ^ "CNET Networks, Form 8-K, Current Report, Filing Date Oct 27, 2000". secdatabase.com. Retrieved 2013.
- ^ "Cnet To Buy Ziff Davis". InformationWeek. July 19, 2000. Retrieved 2007.
- ^ "Interview With CNETnews.com's Sydnie Kohara". JournalismJobs.com. January 2001. Archived from the original on April 13, 2007. Retrieved 2007.
- ^ "Activation Key Setup for Norton Retail Card". Norton Antivirus activation key. January 23, 2001. Archived from the original on May 19, 2017. Retrieved 2008.
- ^ "CNET Networks, Form 10-Q, Quarterly Report, Filing Date May 14, 2001". secdatabase.com. Retrieved 2013.
- ^ "CNET acquires TechRepublic for $23 million". San Francisco Business Times. April 9, 2001. Retrieved 2008.
- ^ "CNET Networks, Form 8-K, Current Report, Filing Date Jul 21, 2004". secdatabase.com. Retrieved 2013.
- ^ "CNET Networks, Form 8-K, Current Report, Filing Date Aug 9, 2004" (PDF). secdatabase.com. Retrieved 2013.
- ^ "CNET Acquires Photo Service Webshots For $70 Million". Archived from the original on December 6, 2008.
- ^ "CNET Networks, Form 8-K, Current Report, Filing Date Oct 31, 2007" (PDF). secdatabase.com. Retrieved 2013.
- ^ "CNET Networks rolls out BNET, Web site targeting business managers". BtoB Magazine. March 1, 2007. Archived from the original on September 28, 2007. Retrieved 2007.
- ^ "CNET Networks, Form 8-K, Current Report, Filing Date May 15, 2008" (PDF). secdatabase.com. Retrieved 2013.
- ^ "CBS Corporation to acquire CNET Networks, Inc.". CBS Corporation. May 15, 2008. Archived from the original on May 18, 2008. Retrieved 2008.
- ^ "CNET Networks, Form POS AM, Filing Date Jul 7, 2008". secdatabase.com. Retrieved 2013.
- ^ Lindsey Turrentine (September 19, 2013). "CNET en Español is here. Bienvenidos". CNET News. Retrieved 2014.
- ^ Lindsey Turrentine (August 22, 2013). "Meet the man who will run CNET en Español". CNET News. Retrieved 2014.
- ^ "Antivirus scan for 5bd70802c051fd95d0d78ac168385cd504705c00526ded2fd5edebdcc32d48f6 at 2011-12-05 22:23:24 UTC - VirusTotal".
- ^ "Nmap Announce: C-Net Download.Com is now bundling Nmap with malware!".
- ^ "Download.com wraps downloads in bloatware, lies about motivations - ExtremeTech".
- ^ http://botcrawl.com/cnet-downloads-a-cesspool-for-privacy-invading-malware/
- ^ "Here's What Happens When You Install the Top 10 Download.com Apps".
- ^ "Download.com Caught Adding Malware to Nmap & Other Software".
- ^ Lisa Bowman (November 21, 1998). "Snap! Crackle! Popped! CNet hit with suit over portal name". ZDNet News. Retrieved 2008.
- ^ "Google balances privacy, reach (including Erik Schmidt's personal information)". CNET. July 14, 2005. Retrieved 2010.
- ^ Taylor, Jerome (August 18, 2010). "Interview to E. Schmidt". London: The Independent. Retrieved 2010.
- ^ "CNET: We've been blackballed by Google". CNN. August 5, 2005. Retrieved 2010.
- ^ "CNET Networks, Form 8-K, Current Report, Filing Date Oct 11, 2006". secdatabase.com. Retrieved 2013.
- ^ "CNet Restatement Goes Back to 1996". The New York Times. Retrieved 2013.
- ^ "CNET completes options review, CEO resigns". Reuters. October 11, 2006. Retrieved 2012.
- ^ "CNET Avoids Backdating Charges". Aba Journal. November 5, 2011. Retrieved 2011.
- ^ Stock-Option Backdating Claims CNet's CEO, AdAge, October 11, 2006, retrieved 2011
- ^ Albanesius, Chloe, PCMag.com (May 11, 2011). "CBS, CNET Sued for Copyright Infringement Over LimeWire Distribution". PC Magazine. Archived from the original on March 24, 2016.
- ^ Anderson, Nate, Ars Technica (May 4, 2011). "CNET sued over LimeWire, blamed for "Internet Piracy Phenomenon"". Ars Technica.
- ^ Sam Gustin (November 16, 2011). "Alki David Drops CNET Lawsuit; Vows to Bring 'Expanded' Action". PaidContent. Archived from the original on January 8, 2012.
- ^ Ernesto, torrentfreak.com (November 15, 2011). "Artists Sue CBS, CNET, for Promoting and Profiting from Piracy". TorrentFreak.
- ^ a b "Dish Recorder Snubbed for CNET Award Over CBS Legal Scuffle". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2013.
- ^ a b Albanesius, Chloe. "CNET Picked Dish Hopper as 'Best of CES' ... Until CBS Stepped In". PC Magazine. Retrieved 2013.
- ^ a b "CNET loses CES awards following Dish Hopper controversy; DVR named 'Best In Show'". The Verge. Retrieved 2013.
- ^ "CNET News.com Wins Coveted National Magazine Award for General Excellence Online". Business Wire. May 5, 2004. Retrieved 2014.
- ^ "Wrap it up".
- ^ "CNET Live: April 12, 2007 video".