The Computer Network, or CNet as it is better known, is searching for an agency to create an image campaign aimed at consumers as well as potential investors, sources said.
The account is worth an estimated $30-40 million and will include general and online ad duties.
The client has held "chemistry" checks with at least 20 agencies in the Bay Area, including Leagas Delaney, Citron Haligman Bedecarr Euro RSCG, Blazing Paradigm and Publicis & Hal Riney. Sources said the client has a list of contenders. CNet executives could not be reached.
CNet provides technology information and news through a network of Web sites such as News.com, as well as TV programming such as CNet Central, a half-hour series that appears weekly on USA Network's Sci-Fi Channel. Sources said the client feels that while its name is recognizable, consumers do not know what it does. It wants to draw more traffic to its Web site, which ranked 56th on a February list of most popular Web sites ranked by Media Metrix. The San Francisco company also publishes Snap.com, a free Internet directory, as part of a joint venture with NBC. That site ranked 17th on the list.
Advertising for Snap.com was previously handled by Saatchi & Saatchi, San Francisco, which won the estimated $20-30 million account last summer. The agency and the client, however, split earlier this year when NBC moved ad duties in-house, said sources.
Snap.com is not part of the current CNet review. Saatchi's last work for Snap used the tagline, "Building a search engine as big as the Web itself."