Any geek worth his or her weight in sodium chloride -- that's salt to you -- knows about CNET (NASDAQ:CNET). Now that it's profitable, maybe the landlord of techie hangouts like and the technology news hotbed that is will move beyond the legions of Weezer and Babylon 5 fans.

Earning a nickel a share in the December quarter may not seem like much, but it's a significant improvement accomplished on an 8% uptick in revenues. It's also twice Wall Street's two cents' worth of expectations, and leaves the company in the cozy position to raise its 2004 guidance, as it now expects to turn a profit on at least $270 million in revenues.

With an audience of 66.5 million monthly users, the publishing and web-based content specialist has yet to cash in on its acquisition of Having bought the brand and domain from Vivendi (NYSE:V), the company has promised to provide another free platform for unsigned artists to showcase their wares. is the biggest player by far, hosting the music of more than 250,000 artists.

Now that online distribution has been legitimized as a model by the initial success of companies like Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Roxio (NASDAQ:ROXI), there is a lot of potential for CNET to bring music closer to its brainy utopian center. No, that doesn't mean that Radiohead, Atom & His Package, and The Shins will rule the musical world. However, it does mean that CNET will extend its empire ever wider as it builds out yet one more juicy property.

The stock has more than tripled over the past year. While the company's balance sheet isn't exactly immaculate, CNET's working on a groovy message. All it needs now is for the Internet to turn up its speakers.

CNET runs the popular website, which is no doubt raking in the traffic given the recent viral outbreaks. What are you doing to protect yourself? What do you know about the latest worm? All this and more -- in the Viruses, hoaxes, & spam, oh my! discussion board. Only on