Trick-or-treaters know all about the variety mix. Sometimes it's the house with candy corn, oily pennies, and unwrapped butterscotch pieces. Blech! Then you get the variety mix that online trick-or-treaters find when they knock on CNET Networks'
CNET's got the good candy, folks. Just reach into the bag, and you'll find:
CNET.com: Its namesake site and the leading source for sage advice and critical reviews on the hottest electronic consumer goods.
: This popular hub for gaming enthusiasts will come in awfully handy in the next few months as Microsoft
Download.com: The starting point for software publishers looking to get noticed and computer users looking for something to notice. Its music.download.com subdomain is also gaining traction as a haven for unsigned recording artists.
News.com: Home to the latest news in the techie world. CNET's influence over technology watchers is so massive that when it ran a story on how easy it is to use Google
Put it all together and you've got a company commanding 110 million unique monthly visitors a month. That has allowed CNET to grow its revenue, drastically improve its profit margins, and generate a lot of buzz that it's the next dot-com likely to get hitched.
Whether or not CNET responds to the potential suitors, you have to admire a company that's more than a dot-com flash in the pan. The company has been around for a decade, and its interactive revenues, free cash flow, and operating profits are all inching higher at a time when many advertisers are making grander commitments to online marketing. CNET's got the candy that everybody wants -- even if it chooses to keep all its goodies to itself.
Singled out over the summer in the Motley Fool Rule Breakers ultimate growth newsletter service, CNET's stock has beaten the market since its recommendation. Just as importantly, CNET's story keeps getting better with every passing quarter, as its sticky eye candy continues to make it an even bigger part of the online experience.
So head out on Halloween night, my fellow trick-or-treaters! Just make sure you hold out for the good stuff.
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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is an equal opportunity trick-or-treater. He'll take whatever they have to offer at the other end of the porch step. He does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story. The Fool has a disclosure policy. Rick is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.