IQ News: Changes.com: CNet Revamps Site and Channels




CNet launches a makeover of its Web site today. The changes, designed to make access to content more obvious while integrating commerce into the content, include a reorganization affecting the site’s four channels: shopper.com, news.com, builder.com and computers.com.
Search is the focus of the main page, expanded to include not only archived articles but editors’ picks; the NBC and CNet jointly-owned directory Snap; Web searches from CNet-owned Inktomi; and, when appropriate, links to retailers.
“This is a logical evolution,” said Robin Wolaner, executive vice president at the San Francisco-based company. “We don’t stop with original content; that’s the old magazine model. The net model is, if we don’t have the right answer, we’ll find it for you.”
The CNet channels shopper.com, news.com, builder.com and computers.com have been subsumed into 10 content areas, including news, investing, gadgets and hardware. “The old names were cool,” explained senior vice president Matthew Barzun, “but it wasn’t necessarily that clear to someone where they should look for information.”
CNet will continue to expand its recently introduced “topic centers,” which combine product reviews, guides and tips, links to manufacturers’ Web sites and shopper.com’s price comparison service.
“If you really are user-centric,” Wolaner said, “what you realize is, when someone is making a decision about purchasing a notebook, they don’t just want to know about the size of the drive. They want to know what it costs … The important thing is, we’re helping buyers.”
In the last quarter of 1998, CNet generated approximately $80 million in sales for its 70 participating merchants. According to Media Metrix data for January 1999, CNet.com ranked 18th among all Web sites for unique visitors with 7.1 million; Snap.com and its related sites ranked 19th with 6.4 million.