I was checking in on Chowhound.com this morning, a CNET Networks discussion board for regional foodies that's now part of the CBS
Everything was pretty much the same way it used to be in the old days, and by "old days," I mean, "before CBS snapped up the diversified Web giant for $1.8 billion earlier this summer." The one noticeable difference was a small -- yet jarring -- hyperlink at the top of the page:
On CBS.com: A bride is murdered at her wedding
Yikes! I think I just lost my appetite.
The plug is actually for an episode of CSI: Miami, a CBS staple. Navigating through Chowhound, promotional one-liners for other CBS Interactive properties show up.
On MovieTome: Corey Haim freaks out on LOST BOYS 2
On The Insider: Daniel Radcliffe -- Brain Disorder
... Wait, they made a Lost Boys 2? Huh.
Clearly, this is the media giant's way of embedding all of its online properties into one highly trafficked portfolio. Many of the other CNET sites got more dramatic makeovers. The namesake tech hub ditched the yellow-and-green pages and logo that it had kept around for 13 years yesterday, in favor of a complete design overhaul.
The new look is all part of the plan, of course. CBS CEO Leslie Moonves wants online revenue to climb to $1 billion by 2011. It's running closer to $600 million this year. The integration of all of CNET's sites -- including music hotbed MP3.com, software distribution site Download.com, and the aptly named TV.com -- will make CBS a stronger company. Advertisers want to reach viewers on the boob tube and in cyberspace, and CBS is positioned well.
I figured that CNET would have gone to Yahoo!
A dot-com heavy didn't luck out by snagging MySpace at a pittance three years ago -- the fortunate buyer was global media conglomerate News Corp.
When I made CNET a Rule Breakers newsletter recommendation a few years ago, I was expecting big things out of a dynamic company that had its fingers in several big-ticket online websites. Once the company struggled to effectively monetize its traffic, I knew it was a matter of time before a suitor came calling.
Am I surprised that it was CBS? Yes, but not in retrospect. Old-school media is making sure it brushes up on new-media tricks. As for the fictional murdered bride on CSI: Miami on Chowhound, am I the only one clamoring for a slice of really good wedding cake right now?
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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is a fan of CNET, but he still misses the old MP3.com days. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story, save for Disney. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.