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.[3][4][5][6] 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.[7][8][9]

CNET screenshot
Type of site
Technology News
OwnerCBS Interactive
Created byHalsey Minor
Shelby Bonnie
EditorLindsey Turrentine
Connie Guglielmo
Alexa rankNegative increase 170 (January 2019)[1]
LaunchedMarch 5, 1994[2]
Current statusOnline



Logo CNET Networks
Logo of CNET Networks prior to acquisition by CBS Interactive

In 1994, with the help from Fox Network co-founder[10] Kevin Wendle and former Disney creative associate Dan Baker,[11] 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.[12][13] 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.[12] These were later followed by 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 that aired on CNBC beginning in 1999.[11]

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.[14]

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.[15] GDT was later renamed to CNET Channel.[16]

In 1998, CNET granted the right to to set up CNET Asia and the operation was brought back in December 2000.[17]

In January 2000, the same time CNET became CNET Networks,[18] they acquired comparison shopping site mySimon for $736 million.[19][20]

In October 2000, CNET Networks acquired ZDNet for approximately $1.6 billion.[21][22][23] 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.[24][25]

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),[26] completing the acquisition that same month.[27][28] In October 2007, they sold Webshots to American Greetings for $45 million.[29]

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.[30]

On May 15, 2008 it was announced that CBS Corporation would buy CNET Networks for US$1.8 billion.[4][5][31][32] On June 30, 2008, the acquisition was completed.[33] Former CNET properties are now part of CBS Interactive. CBS Interactive now owns many domain names originally created by CNET Networks, including,,,,,,,,,,,, and

On September 19, 2013 CBS Interactive launched a Spanish language sister site under the name CNET en Español.[34] 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.[35]

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.


CNET launched a website to cover video games, CNET Gamecenter, in the middle of 1996.[36] According to the San Francisco Chronicle, it was "one of the first Web sites devoted to computer gaming news".[37] It became a leading game-focused website;[38][39] in 1999, PC Magazine named it one of the hundred-best websites in any field, alongside competitors IGN and GameSpot.[40] According to Gamecenter head Michael Brown, the site received between 50,000 and 75,000 daily visitors by late 2000.[36] In May 2000, CNET founded the Gamecenter Alliance network to bring Gamecenter and four partner websites, including Inside Mac Games, under one banner.[41]

On July 19, 2000, CNET made public its plan to buy Ziff-Davis and its ZDNet Internet business for $1.6 billion.[42] Because ZDNet had partnered with SpotMedia—parent company of GameSpot—in late 1996,[43] the acquisition brought both GameSpot and Gamecenter under CNET's ownership.[38][44] 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,[36] launched in late 1999.[45]

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.[44][46] On February 7, Gamecenter itself was closed in a redundancy reduction effort, as GameSpot was the more successful of the two sites.[44][37] Around 190 jobs were cut from CNET during this period,[46] including "at least 20" at Gamecenter, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.[37] 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."[46] The Washington Post later noted that Gamecenter was among the "popular video-game news sites" to close in 2001, alongside Daily Radar.[47]

Malware infection in downloads

With a catalog of more than 400,000 titles, the Downloads section of the website allows users to download popular software. CNET's 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. not only hosts software with malware, but their own download wrapper contains adware and bloatware.[48][49][50][51][52][53]

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, due to Snap Technologies already owning a trademark on its name.[54]

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.[55] All the information had been gleaned from Google searches.[56][57]

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.[58] This would also cause the firm to restate its financial earnings over 1996 through 2003 for over $105 million in resulting expenses.[59] The Securities and Exchange Commission later dropped an investigation into the practice. Neil Ashe was named as the new CEO.[60][61][62]

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.[63][64] Although the original suit was voluntarily dropped by Alki David, he vowed to sue at a later date to bring "expanded"[65] 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.[66]

Hopper controversy

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.[67][68][69]

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."[67] 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.[68]

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.[69]



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, launched in 1996, is a news website dedicated to technology. CNET News received the National Magazine Award for General Excellence Online.[70] Content is created by both CNET and external media agencies as news articles and blogs.


CNET Video, formerly called 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 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[71][72]

How To

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

See also


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External links

Brian Cooley

Brian Cooley is an Editor at large for CNET and their senior pundit, seen frequently on CNN, ABC News, CNBC as well on the TV screens in most major tech retailers around the U.S. He also hosts CNET's Car Tech podcast, a common co-host of Buzz Out Loud, and a co-host of a number of other CNET TV programs.

In 1984 Cooley obtained a BA in English from the University of California, Berkeley, and then matriculated to Northwestern University, where he pursued and obtained a master's degree in journalism. In 1986 the year he graduated from Northwestern, Cooley began his career in radio. He reported news and commentary for such stations as KFRC, KMEL and KPIX AM/FM in San Francisco and KKBT "The Beat" in Los Angeles. His deep baritone voice helped him land a job at the launch of CNET Radio in 1995. Cooley often adds his humor and tech insights to the Buzz Report on CNET TV and also hosts his own CNET TV show, Car Tech Video. He has a podcast called Car Tech Live, which he hosts with fellow Car Tech Editors Antuan Goodwin and Wayne Cunningham.

On August 1, 2009, Cooley began doing Car Tech segments on Car News with Dan Rosenberg on KFWB News Talk 980 in Los Angeles.

He is known to have been an early adopter of the Zune, and periodically mentions this. He is also a big fan of James Bond and is the current Chief of Staff for the Commanders Club.Cooley is married, lives in the Bay Area and is always on the prowl for garages in which to store his collection of highly original Ford automobiles which he considers to be "examples of Detroit's last great era, the late 1960s."As of May 2010, Cooley became the host of the CNET Top 5 show replacing Tom Merritt, until May 2012 when Donald Bell replaced him. He is currently the host of CNET on Cars, a video series dedicated to automobiles and car tech.

Bridget Carey

Bridget Marie Carey (born June 1984) is an American technology journalist and host of the CNET Update. She authored the nation's first social media etiquette column, Poked and previously hosted a popular online gadget review show, Bridget Carey's Tech Review. Her award-winning writing commentary on netiquette started at The Miami Herald and was syndicated nationwide until August 2011. She has since departed to tech media website CNET.

CBS Interactive

CBS Interactive Inc. (formerly CBS Digital Media Group) is an American media company and is a division of the CBS Corporation. It is an online content network for information and entertainment. Its websites cover news, sports, entertainment, technology, and business. It is headed by Jim Lanzone.CBS Interactive coordinates with CBS Network Sales to bring together ad sales operations, as well as the corporation's television, sports, and news groups, who will continue to be involved in program development.

CNET Video

CNET Video is a San Francisco and New York based web television network showing original programming catering to the niche market of technology enthusiasts, operated by CBS Interactive through their CNET brand and. CNET Video originated as the television program production arm of CNET Networks in the United States, producing programs starting in the mid-to-late 1990s. It was CNET Networks' first project. Technology-themed television shows produced by CNET Video also aired on G4 in Canada. CNET Video is a 2012 Technology People's Voice Webby Award Winner. On July 24, 2013 CNET Video launched a new CNET Video+ app for iOS, Android and Xbox SmartGlass.

Daniel Terdiman

Daniel Terdiman is a journalist, who has been published in both print and non-print media, including Time Magazine, The New York Times, Wired Magazine, CNET, Wired News, Martha Stewart Weddings,, Business 2.0, Venture Beat and the San Francisco Chronicle. He writes about a wide range of subjects from hi-tech to the web to sports.

He has also made speaking appearances at hi-tech conferences as an expert on electronic game development, including: State of Play, Webzine, SVForum, and Sex in Video Games. He has also written extensively about the online game Second Life. He has been a game development advisor for US National Public Radio (NPR) for the Talk of the Nation broadcast and for the BBC in the UK.

He edited and contributed as an author to Drama in the Desert: The Sights and Sounds of Burning Man (ISBN 0972178902), a 2002 book about the annual Burning Man arts festival, held in the Nevada Desert. He wrote The Entrepreneur's Guide to Second Life: Making Money in the Metaverse (ISBN 0470179147). He was the panel moderator at the Game Developers' Conference 2007, on the topic of Burning Man.He holds a Masters of Science degree in Journalism from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. He currently works as a senior writer for Venture Beat. Terdiman won the 2006 online journalism award from the Society of Professional Journalists, as part of the CNET team who won this award for the series Taking Back the Web.

Declan McCullagh

Declan McCullagh is an American entrepreneur, journalist, and software engineer.

He is the CEO and co-founder, with computer scientist Celine Bursztein, of Recent Media Inc., a startup in Silicon Valley that has built a recommendation engine and iOS and Android news app. Recent, which uses artificial intelligence and machine learning for its recommendation engine, was released to early users in June 2015.

He previously worked for Wired, CNET, CBS Interactive, and Time Inc.. His articles about technology have been published in Reason, Playboy, the Wall Street Journal, Communications of the ACM (co-authored with computer scientist Peter G. Neumann), and the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy.Previously as a journalist he specialized in computer security and privacy. He is notable, among other things, for his early involvement with the media interpretation of U.S. presidential candidate Al Gore's statement that he "took the initiative in creating the Internet".

In addition to technology, McCullagh has written approvingly of free markets and individual liberty. He began writing weekly columns for CBS News entitled Other People's Money upon CBS Corporation's acquisition of CNET Networks. In August 2009, McCullagh renamed his column to Taking Liberties, which focuses on "individual rights and liberties, including both civil and economic liberties." is an Internet download directory website launched in 1996 as a part of CNET. Originally, the domain was, which became for a while, and is now The domain attracted at least 113 million visitors annually by 2008 according to a study.


FindArticles was a website which provided access to articles previously published in over 3,000 magazines, newspapers, journals, business reports and other sources. The site offered free and paid content through the HighBeam Research database. In 2008, FindArticles accessed over 11 million resource articles, going back to 1998.


GameSpot is a 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, is the current owner of GameSpot.

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.

In 2004, GameSpot won "Best Gaming Website" as chosen by the viewers in Spike TV's second Video Game Award Show, and has won Webby Awards several times. The domain attracted at least 60 million visitors annually by 2008 according to a study.

Ina Fried

Ina Fried (born December 17, 1974), formerly Ian Fried, is an American journalist for Axios. Prior to that, she was senior editor for All Things Digital, a senior staff writer for CNET Network's, and worked for Re/code. She is a frequent commenter on technology news on National Public Radio, local television news and for other print and broadcast outlets.

List of Android smartphones

This is a list of devices that run on the Android operating system.

Natali Morris

Natali Terese Morris (née Del Conte; August 28, 1978) is an online media personality and co-founder of Morris Invest, a real estate investment company. She was formerly a technology news journalist with CNET and CBS.

Rafe Needleman

Rafe Needleman is a magazine and website editor and published author. He wrote a Star Trek trivia book in 1980 and has covered technology and business since 1988. Previously a co-host of CNET's Buzz Out Loud Daily Podcast with Molly Wood, and CNET's To The Rescue and the Reporters Roundtable podcast and maintains the blog Rafe's Radar. Rafe left CNET in August 2012 to become the Platform Advocate at Evernote. On January 7, 2014, he posted on his Google+ account, "I can finally announce my new job. I’m going to Yahoo. I’ll be editorial director of the new Yahoo Tech site..." is a website owned by CBS Interactive (CBS Corporation). The site covers television and focuses on English-language shows made or broadcast in Australia, Canada, Ireland, Japan, New Zealand, the United States and the United Kingdom. It emphasizes user-generated content. Australia and UK versions of the website are also available, at and, respectively.


TechRepublic is an online trade publication and social community for IT professionals, with advice on best practices and tools for the day-to-day needs of IT decision-makers.It was founded in 1997 in Louisville, Kentucky, United States by Tom Cottingham and Kim Spalding, and debuted as a website in May 1999. The site was purchased by CNET Networks in 2001 for $23 million.TechRepublic is part of the CBS Interactive business portfolio alongside ZDNet, BNET, SmartPlanet and CBS MoneyWatch.

Tom Merritt

Thomas Andrew Merritt (born June 28, 1970) is a technology journalist, writer, and broadcaster best known as the host of several podcasts. He is the former co-host of Tech News Today on the Network, and was previously an Executive Editor for CNET and developer and co-host of the daily podcast Buzz Out Loud.

He currently hosts Daily Tech News Show, Cordkillers, and Sword and Laser, among other shows.


VG247 (stylized as VG24/7) is a video game blog published in the United Kingdom, founded in February 2008 by industry veteran Patrick Garratt. CNET blog Crave ranked it as the third best gaming blog in the world.

Veronica Belmont

Veronica Ann Belmont (born July 21, 1982) is an online media personality. She was formerly the co-host of the Revision3 show Tekzilla alongside Patrick Norton. Veronica was the co-host of the former gaming show Game On! along with Brian Brushwood, and the former host of the monthly PlayStation 3-based video on demand program Qore. Additionally, she was the host for the Mahalo Daily podcast and a producer and associate editor for CNET Networks, Inc. where she produced, engineered, and co-hosted the podcast Buzz Out Loud. Belmont learned she is Jewish through the Internet, "Quite literally, like I found out that I was … My family’s Jewish and I never knew that before. And that was all because of, yeah, because of technology."


ZDNet is a business technology news website published by CBS Interactive, 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 owned by CNET Networks.

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