The Info List - Zdnet

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ZDNET is a business technology news website published by CBS Interactive , along with TechRepublic and SmartPlanet . 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 .


* 1 History

* 1.1 Beginnings: 1991 to 1995

* 1.2 Early history: 1995 to 2000

* 1.2.1 ZDNet News * 1.2.2 ZDTV * 1.2.3 ZDNet the company * 1.2.4 Consumer expansion

* 1.3 The CNET years: 2000 to 2007

* 1.3.1 Realignment * 1.3.2 ZDNet Blogs

* 1.4 The CBS years: 2008 to present

* 2 Content * 3 Awards and recognition

* 4 ZDNet international editions

* 4.1 ZDNet Japan * 4.2 ZDNet UK

* 5 References * 6 External links


BEGINNINGS: 1991 TO 1995

ZDNet began as a subscription-based digital service called "ZiffNet" that offered computing information to users of CompuServe. It featured computer industry forums, events, features and searchable archives.

Initially, ZiffNet was intended to serve as a common place to find content from all Ziff-Davis print publications. As such, ZiffNet was an expansion on an earlier online service called PCMagNet for readers of PC Magazine . Launched in 1988, PCMagNet in turn was the evolution of Ziff Davis' first electronic publishing venture, a bulletin board, which launched in 1985.

On June 20, 1995, Ziff-Davis announced the consolidation of its online information services under a single name, "ZD Net." The service had grown its membership to 275,000 subscribers across six platforms: CompuServe, Prodigy, AT later to China, Australia, Hong Kong, Italy, Korea, Malaysia, Russia, Spain, Taiwan and India.

In 1997, the website—now the brand's flagship property—underwent another redesign that featured topical "channels" of content. It also marked the change in name from "ZD Net" to "ZDNet."

ZDNet News

Two months prior, the company launched ZDNet News, or "ZDNN," the site's first dedicated section to original reportage. Among the journalists hired to staff the department were former Computer Shopper executive editor Charlie Cooper, San Jose Mercury News business editor Steve Hamm, PC Week Inside senior editor Bill Snyder, PC Week editor John Dodge , Computerworld editor Michael Fitzgerald and PC Week editorial director Jim Louderback .

The appointment of digital publishing executive Dan Rosensweig as ZDNet's first president capped a year of significant change for the brand.

In 1998, ZDNet launched "Inter@active Investor," or ZDII, a spin-off website for investors that offered financial news and information on technology companies.


On May 11, 1998, Ziff-Davis launched ZDTV as the first cable television channel and website to offer 24-hour programming about computing and the Internet. The venture, which was partly owned by Vulcan Enterprises, was supported with a staff of 170 and incorporated ZDNet content on its website, ZDTV.com. The channel would later become Tech TV .

By the end of 1998, ZDNet was the dominant technology brand online. It led its closest rival, CNET, by a 26 percent margin and was the 13th most popular site on the Web, reaching 8.4 million users, or 13.4 percent of all users on the Web. The site would reach an additional 600,000 users within a year.

ZDNet The Company

In 1999, Ziff-Davis spun ZDNet off as a separate company and offered it as a tracking stock, ZDZ, to accompany the parent stock, ZD. An initial public offering raised $190 million, but the tracking stock was eliminated in early 2000 and revived as common stock. The new company soon acquired Updates.com, a software upgrade service. It was incorporated into the site's " Help Channel."

Consumer Expansion

In 1999, ZDNet also launched "Tech Life," a network of six consumer-focused tech sites intended to attract parents ("FamilyPC"), music listeners (" ZDNet Music"), gadget enthusiasts (" ZDNet Equip"), gamers (" ZDNet GameSpot ") and basic users ("Internet Life" with Yahoo).

It also launched "Computer Stew," a web-based comedy show about technology that featured John Hargrave and Jay Stevens, as well as the first ZDNet Holiday Gift Guide.

On December 30, 1999, ZDNet launched a $25 million branding campaign in response to a $100 million advertising campaign launched by rival CNET.

ZDNet's lead over the competition narrowed by 2000. Despite a record 10.7 million unique users in January, it managed only a 13 percent lead over the next competitor. By mid-2000, ZDNet had expanded to 23 countries in 14 languages on six continents.

THE CNET YEARS: 2000 TO 2007

On July 19, 2000, CNET Networks—parent company of CNET, ZDNet's largest rival—announced that it would acquire ZDNet for about $1.6 billion. Some analysts thought that the merger of CNET and ZDNet would lead to redundancy in their product offerings, but research revealed that their target audiences had just 25 percent overlap.

In 2001, Ziff Davis Media Inc. reached an agreement with CNET Networks Inc. and ZDNet to regain the URLs lost in the 2000 sale of Ziff Davis Inc, to Softbank Corp.

In 2002, CNET Networks launched ZDNet sister site Builder.com, a site intended for enterprise software developers. On July 7, 2002, CNET Networks acquired Newmediary for its database of more than 30,000 enterprise IT white papers. ZDNet had integrated its services into its " Business -webkit-column-width: 30em; column-width: 30em; list-style-type: decimal;">

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