CNET Networks CEO Sounds Off on Bloggers



Media technology company CNET Networks just issued their 3rd Quarter 2007 earnings. First, the numbers. Net losses grew to $16.6 million, or $0.11 per share, from $2.3 million, or $0.02 per share, last yeart. Revenue grew $99.5 million, from $93.3 million in the same period a year earlier. Adjusted earnings were $6.9 million or 4 cents a share. That beat analysts projections by one cent. They projected revenues and earnings for the fourth quarter at $119-$125 million.

The company lost on photo-sharing site Webshots which they purchased in 2004 for $70 million. They sold the company to American Greetings for $45M. They acquired a site in China named OnlyLady, a women’s fashion site with a strong advertiser base from the likes of Loreal, Estee Lauder, LVMH, Channel, Johnson & Johnson, and Nike.

The most interesting quote though is about how the company is how CNET views bloggers – which they say perception is overblown and not based in reality:

“While others in the blogging community have anointed themselves as CNET competitors, the reality is that CNET is 20 to 50 times the size of any of those. CNET added more users in a month than the audience Engadget and Gizmodo combined have in total. So we have a major perception and reality gap between what is actually going on and what people attempt to benefit from saying what’s going on. The practical reality is that CNET is materially bigger than anyone who claims to be competing with us, and as a result, materially more effective. We build brands that move industries.”
– Neil Ashe, CEO of CNET

  • Joann Loos

    Good for CNet. But I only go to their website AFTER I’ve decided to buy something like a printer to look at their reviews. I decide to buy something from seeing it in Engaget or Gizmodo. And if they’ve suggested a particular model, I’ll skip CNet completely.

    More readers does NOT equal more power. More targeted readers do.

  • http://blog.gregcbrown.net Greg C. B

    To piggyback, I guess… CNet is a whole different animal than Engaget or Gizmodo. CNet seems a bit bloated to me, kind of old-modelish. It’s a decent resource for, say, comparing prices of relatively new electronogadgets. But then again, it doesn’t take long to string together a few blog feeds (covering more specific niches and with greater attention to detail) to be more on-the-beat with prices, reviews, specs, news… or anything else you want, really.

    I don’t think anyone really questioned that CNet is a bazillion times larger than a Gizmodo. But add a few more blogs to the equation, and that sum easily beats CNet’s offerings (and, to pull out some more arbitrary number crunching, these blogs probably put out their content 20-50x more efficiently than CNet).

  • JrffH

    “CNET is materially bigger than anyone who claims to be competing with us” Well that may be, but you are loosing money while many of your ‘competitors’ are break even or in the black. Big and bulky does not necessarily mean better or more cost effective. I do not see the login in your inference that ‘We are bigger, therefore we are more relevant’. It just doesn’t fly.

  • http://www.watersubject.com Water Portal

    I am just not getting why blogs like TC attack CNet, and CNet fights back, CNet is not a blog network like Weblogs Inc. is and its more like an news or reviews portal or a little old fashioned blog network.
    I mean these websites are different, they should not compete or attack each other.

  • http://www.markevanstech.com Mark Evans

    CNet and Engadget are two different animals so not sure why Ashe is so concerned about. That said, if you’ve ever checked out some of CNet’s blog, it may just be a case of envy given none of them are close to Engadget or Gizmodo.

  • dave mancuso

    mark evans is out of his gourd if he believes even a word of what he wrote. sorry folks, but reading the comments here, i don’t believe that any of you have a clue about quality. me wonders whether any of the posters here might actually work for one of those blogs. mmmmm?

  • http://bsgeek.com Zacharias

    Cnet, as a site, is such a mess of advertising, yellow, and okay writing it looks like a Sprint store.

    It seems like they tried really, really, really hard to earn that $95 million. Type in the cnet.com, go ahead, and prepare for a page that’s 45% ads, 45% navigation (1/2 are ads, too), and 10% content (which is of course, ad supported).

    If you need that many damned advertisements to make money, why bother?

  • http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=7646126325 OnlyLady Facebook Group

    Great acquire by CNET. OnlyLady got strong customer group and buying power focused on cosmetics and skin care products. CNET will make a good fortune on OnlyLady advertisings. BTW: OnlyLady also got a facebook group: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=7646126325