CNET Launches Blog Network, Too

My alma mater CNET Networks announced today that they are launching their own network of blog sites, with clusters — what some may call “federations” — of sites covering tech, graphic design, parenting and sports. Where have I heard that concept before?! (Hint: Here’s a link to FM’s site.)

Two years ago I left CNET to help start FM.  Here’s what I wrote then under the heading “ChasNote Has A New Address”:

“Well, I should have guessed it would lead to this.

“About a year ago I started ChasNote as an excuse to talk to all of you about trends and innovations in online marketing. And, through these conversations, I’ve convinced myself — or maybe it’s your fault! — that I need to move out to the front lines. I am leaving CNET Networks to join John Battelle’s “record label for bloggers,” FM Publishing [updated, FM is now called Federated Media], as VP of sales and market development, starting July 11 [2005]. It’s been a very tough week saying goodbye to the innovators, trend-setters and good friends among whom I’ve worked here at CNET for the past six years. But I’ll tell you what I’ve been telling them — why my heart and soul required me to enlist with Federated Media.

“A few thousand, maybe a hundred thousand, of the 10 million bloggers are doing something remarkable. In today’s media-saturated, viewing-multiple-channels-at-once climate, they have grabbed the undivided attention of an audience. For all the talk of “audience engagement” by Big Media, it’s a handful of moonlight publishers who have actually pulled it off. They’ve created intimacy, authority and real live dialog with their readers. While three-fourths of PVR users skip commercials and everyone else has learned to tune them out, certain bloggers have convinced their constituencies to tune in.

“Two big challenges remain, though. First, most of these bloggers haven’t figured out how to quit their day-jobs and pay rent at the same time. Second, marketers — who are willing to kick in rent money for the opportunity to participate in this high-energy connection between blog publishers and their audiences — don’t have a scalable mechanism for doing so.

“I won’t pretend that I know exactly how these issues will resolve, but I’m signing up — by way of Federated Media — to work on the solution full-time.”

Gosh, what starry-eyed optimism.  How cute!  But my belief in conversational media (and conversational marketing) hasn’t tapered a bit.  In fact, the marketers who have helped shape this new kind of marketing — and have supported FM’s business — have convinced me that I’m right to believe.

So CNET, welcome to the party!

  1. # Justin Watt said: June 19th, 2007 at 3:27 pm

    Funny though, looking at http://blogs.cnet.com/, it doesn’t appear to be any different than anything they’ve done before: publishing content that they commission (and then own) on their site in their template. The thing that sets FM apart (not that I have to tell you) is ownership. When a blogger retains ownership of their site and their content, their magnitudes more invested in seeing it succeed.

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