Type of site
|Created by|| Halsey Minor |
|Editor||Lindsey Turrentine |
|Launched||March 5, 1994|
CNET (short for Computer Network)is an American media website that publishes reviews, news, articles, blogs, podcasts, and videos on technology and consumer electronics globally, owned by Red Ventures since 2020. 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 that unit's acquisition of CNET Networks in 2008, which was the previous owner prior to October 30, 2020. 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 has region-specific and language-specific editions. These include Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Korean, and Spanish.
In 1994, with the help from Fox Network co-founderKevin 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 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.
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.com 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.
In May 2002, CNET acquired Smartshop, an automated product catalog and feature comparison technology company, for an undisclosed amount.
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 August 2005, CNET acquired Metacritic, a review aggregation website, for an undisclosed amount.
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 were managed under CBS Interactive at the time. CBS Interactive acquired 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, com.com, and cnet.com. It also held radio.com until CBS Radio was sold to Entercom in 2017.
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. The site not only offered news and tutorials, but also had a robust reviews section that it was led by Juan Garzon. After Red Ventures' acquisition, the company announced the closing of CNET en Español on November 11, 2020, leaving the largest tech site in Spanish in the US out of the market.
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.
On September 14, 2020, ViacomCBS announced that it would sell CNET to Red Ventures for $500 million.The transaction was completed on October 30, 2020.
CNET launched a website to cover video games, CNET Gamecenter, in the middle of 1996.According to the San Francisco Chronicle , it was "one of the first Web sites devoted to computer gaming news". It became a leading game-focused website; in 1999, PC Magazine named it one of the hundred-best websites in any field, alongside competitors IGN and GameSpot. According to Gamecenter head Michael Brown, the site received between 50,000 and 75,000 daily visitors by late 2000. In May 2000, CNET founded the Gamecenter Alliance network to bring Gamecenter and four partner websites, including Inside Mac Games, under one banner. Nielsen//NetRatings ranked Gamecenter the sixth-most-popular gaming website in the United States by mid-2000.
On July 19, 2000, CNET made public its plan to buy Ziff-Davis and its ZDNet Internet business for $1.6 billion.Because ZDNet had partnered with SpotMedia—parent company of GameSpot—in late 1996, the acquisition brought both GameSpot and Gamecenter under CNET's ownership. Later that year, The New York Times described the two publications as the " Time and Newsweek of gaming sites". The paper reported that Gamecenter "seem[ed] to be thriving" amid the dot-com crash, with its revenue distributed across online advertising and an affiliate sales program with CNET's Game Shopper website, launched in late 1999.
Following an almost $400 million loss at CNET as a result of the dot-com crash, the company ended the Gamecenter Alliance network in January 2001.On February 7, Gamecenter itself was closed in a redundancy reduction effort, as GameSpot was the more successful of the two sites. Around 190 jobs were cut from CNET during this period, including "at least 20" at Gamecenter, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Discussing the situation, Tom Bramwell of Eurogamer reported, "It is thought[...] that very few if any of the website's staff will move sideways into jobs at GameSpot, now the company's other gaming asset." The Washington Post later noted that Gamecenter was among the "popular video-game news sites" to close in 2001, alongside Daily Radar.
With a catalog of more than 400,000 titles, the Downloads section of the website allows users to download popular software. CNET's download.com provides Windows, Macintosh, and mobile software for download. CNET claims that this software is free of spyware, but independent sources have confirmed that this is not the case. While Download.com is overall a safe place to download programs, precautions should be taken before downloading from the site, as some downloads do contain malware.
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 and named the neighborhood where he lives, as well as 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 to 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 J. 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.
Ziff Davis, LLC, known as Ziff Davis (ZD), is an American media conglomerate founded in 1927. Originally an advertising and publishing firm, they have since fully transitioned to digital media, affiliate marketing and technology transfer; today all of their subsidiaries are online properties. Among their current brands are computer publication PC Magazine, internet gaming review site IGN, media platform Mashable, and many others.
ZDNet is a business technology news website owned and operated by Red Ventures, along with TechRepublic. The brand was founded on April 1, 1991, as a general interest technology portal from Ziff Davis and evolved into an enterprise IT-focused online publication.
GameSpot is an American video gaming website that provides news, reviews, previews, downloads, and other information on video games. The site was launched on May 1, 1996, created by Pete Deemer, Vince Broady and Jon Epstein. It was purchased by ZDNet, a brand which was later purchased by CNET Networks. CBS Interactive, which purchased CNET Networks in 2008, was the previous owner of GameSpot through 2020, while the site has been sold to Red Ventures. In addition to the information produced by GameSpot staff, the site also allows users to write their own reviews, blogs, and post on the site's forums.
Ian Livingstone's Deathtrap Dungeon is an action-adventure video game developed by Asylum Studios and published by Eidos Interactive for PlayStation and Microsoft Windows in 1998. It is based on the adventure gamebook Deathtrap Dungeon written by Ian Livingstone, and published by Puffin Books in 1984.
Return to Krondor is a role-playing video game set in Raymond Feist's fictional fantasy setting of Midkemia. A sequel to 1993's Betrayal at Krondor, it was released for Windows 95 on the PC in time for the 1998 Thanksgiving and Christmas season. It was re-released on GOG.com in 2010 and again for Steam in 2016. Within the game, the player commands a group of heroes with different attributes, strengths, and weaknesses which the player may upgrade over the course of the game.
MechWarrior 3 is a vehicle simulation game, part of the MechWarrior series. It featured a new 3D accelerated graphics engine at the time of its release. The game contains over 20 missions, with access to 18 different mechs. A novelization called Trial Under Fire was written by Loren L. Coleman.
UGO Entertainment, Inc. was a website that provided coverage of online media in entertainment, targeting males aged 18–34. The company was based in New York, New York, United States.
IGN is an American video game and entertainment media website operated by IGN Entertainment Inc., a subsidiary of Ziff Davis, itself wholly owned by j2 Global. The company is located in San Francisco's SOMA district and is headed by its former editor-in-chief, Peer Schneider. The IGN website was the brainchild of media entrepreneur Chris Anderson and launched on September 29, 1996. It focuses on games, films, television, comics, technology, and other media. Originally a network of desktop websites, IGN is now also distributed on mobile platforms, console programs on the Xbox and PlayStation, FireTV, Roku, and via YouTube, Twitch, Hulu, and Snapchat.
ViacomCBS Streaming is an American media division of ViacomCBS that oversees the operations of its streaming services and Internet brands. It is an online content network for information and entertainment. Its websites and apps cover entertainment, news and sports. It is headed by Tom Ryan.
Close Combat III: The Russian Front is a 1999 computer wargame developed by Atomic Games and published by Microsoft. It is the third game in the Close Combat series. It revolves around the Eastern Front during World War II, and takes players from the invasion of the Soviet Union to the final battle for Berlin in 1945.
NFL GameDay 99 is a football video game for the PlayStation and Microsoft Windows. It was first released in 1998 by 989 Sports. On the cover is Terrell Davis.
SAP Ariba is an American software and information technology services company located in Palo Alto, California. It was acquired by German software maker SAP SE for $4.3 billion in 2012.
Demolition Racer is a vehicular combat racing video game for the PlayStation and PC that combines destruction and driving tactics in a fast-paced racing environment. It is very similar to the Destruction Derby series. The PC version contained slightly better in-game graphics than the PlayStation version, and included varied weather and times of day. Drivers are given (optional) wacky portraits which displayed on the side of the screen in a race, showing who's ahead of who.
Triple Play 99 (TP99) is a video game featuring rosters current from January 15, 1998 and stats from the 1997 season. Seattle Mariners shortstop Alex Rodriguez is featured on the cover.
SmartPlanet was an online magazine that covered clean technology and information technology as it related to healthcare, science, transportation, corporate sustainability, architecture, and design. It was part of the business portfolio of CBS Interactive that included BNET and ZDNet and was known for its daily coverage of the technology and energy industries. It stopped publishing on June 30, 2014.
Tiger Woods 99 PGA Tour Golf is a sports video game developed by Adrenalin Entertainment and published by EA Sports for Microsoft Windows and PlayStation in 1998.
ABC Sports Monday Night Football is a 1996 American football video game by American studio OT Sports named after the television broadcast of the same name. OT Sports released a follow-up title a year later titled ABC Sports Monday Night Football '98 with an updated roster.
HardBall 6, also known as HardBall 99 for the PlayStation version, is a baseball video game developed by MindSpan and published by Accolade for Microsoft Windows and PlayStation in 1998. A 2000 Edition was released for Windows only in 1999.
NHL Championship 2000 is a video game developed by Radical Entertainment and published by Fox Interactive for PlayStation and Microsoft Windows in 1999.
Spearhead is a vehicular combat video game developed by Zombie Studios and MAK Technologies, Inc., and published by Interactive Magic and Midas Interactive Entertainment for Microsoft Windows in 1998.