CNet Eats Millions On Webshots Sale

    October 26, 2007
    WebProNews Staff

CNet’s 2004 purchase of Webshots for $70 million became a bargain pickup for American Greetings, which paid $45 million to take it off CNet’s hands.

In an internal email to CNet staffers, as seen on Valleywag, CEO Neil Ashe characterized the firm as "the media company of the future."

It just won’t have the pretty pictures of Webshots as part of the décor. Three years after shelling out big bucks for the site, CNet took a loss on the property and unloaded it for quick cash.

Erick Schonfeld at TechCrunch suggested the move, along with securing a $250 million line of credit, could be a defensive maneuver. The money could be used for a stock buyback, as an attempt to stop possible takeover attempts.

CNet also hired Stephen Colvin to head up the company’s lifestyle and entertainment brands. Colvin formerly helmed Dennis Publishing, which publishes Maxim, Blender, and Stuff.

Dennis Publishing focuses on the young male demographic that advertisers worship, and Colvin should bring that experience to his new job. CNet’s strategy looks like it will consist of fending off potential buyers with a buyback, while building up that male audience and selling it to deep-pocketed marketers.

Perhaps there will be pretty pictures in CNet’s future, post-Webshots.