Sure, it hasn't all been organic. The company behind the techie haven of News.com, comparison-shopping site MySimon, and photo-sharing hotspot Webshots has been an active buyer of smaller online sites.
That's where we left off yesterday.
Shelby, CNET has been an aggressive acquirer over the years. Do you see the day when CNET itself may be acquired? With more than 100 million unique visitors a month, one would think that a company like Yahoo!
"Clearly, people are more interested in the Internet these days," Bonnie explained. "We just keep our head down and keep building our properties and hope that it's a long time before everyone else figures it out."
No, that doesn't mean that CNET wants to toil in obscurity. It simply means that the more time CNET spends growing the empire with puzzle pieces acquired at today's prices, the better for the company as a whole when the market comes around to realizing the true value of the sum of CNET's parts. For a company looking to build its virtual fortress while prices are still reasonable in CNET's targeted industries, silence is golden.
"The things we do, we need to do well," Bonnie said, explaining that the company won't be expanding beyond its core competencies as long as it is able to grow in areas where it can become a market leader.
The company has always been blessed with prime dot-com real estate that has, for the most part, gone underdeveloped. Search.com has to be a goldmine-in-waiting. TV.com -- and you can imagine how much that domain is probably worth -- simply redirects to CNET's television-set reviews. That is likely to change now that the company has acquired the popular TVTome.com television-guide site. Just as buying MP3.com proved to be a smart way to cash in on the digital music revolution while launching an indie-artist appendage at Download.com, the company's expansion efforts make complete sense to someone looking at the bigger picture.
Just don't blame CNET if it's not overly eager to unveil that picture to the rest of the world. Some more of those puzzle pieces -- tiles in the greater mosaic, if you will -- still need to be set. Silence? Why not? The artist is still at work.
Some recent glimpses at CNET:
- Last month, I singled out CNET as a "10 Stocks Under $10" recommendation.
- I also interviewed CEO Shelby Bonnie after the company's December quarter.
- CNET recently let the world know that it means business.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is a fan of CNET, but he does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story. The Fool has a disclosure policy. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.