CNET Cuts Staff 10%. We’re All DOOOOOOMMMMEED!!!!
Ian Lurie Mar 26 2008
No, we’re not.
Yes, CNET just cut 10% of their workforce. And we’re seeing far too much of that lately.
But before I go outside and commit hari kari with a USB thumb drive, let’s get a little perspective.
CNET’s problems are a valuable lesson in internet marketing, but don’t run for the hills just yet. A comparison with their competitors shows this has been in the offing for a while, and it has nothing to do with the economy. It’s about their strategy.
CNET got bloated
CNET cut 120 jobs. That’s 10% of their workforce. To publish an online network?! Let me go waaaay out on a limb here: I don’t think they really need over 1000 people to publish their site.
Engadget probably doesn’t use as many employees as CNET just let go. Neither does Gizmodo or the other sites that have taken a chunk of CNET’s market share.
CNET doesn’t get the social media thing
And, CNET hasn’t kept up with the times. They continue to deluge us with banners, Flash widgets and so much motion that I get carsick:
Gaaaa! Too much stuff! Banners, videos, animated stufflets. Help!
Compare that to Gizmodo:
OK, not the most intellectual article they’ve ever done, but still…
Gizmodo leads with content. Yes, they have ads. Lots of ads. But I can read their articles without getting a seizure. And they let you (gasp) comment on stories.
CNET has satellite sites like Crave, and those sites are a bit edgier. They’ve added comments, too.
But articles posted earlier today on CNET’s Crave have zero comments.
An article posted on Gizmodo accumulated 21 comments in less than 30 minutes.
Yikes. CNET isn’t talking with you – they’re still talking at you. That’s cost them dearly.
CNET’s lost ground. Will they make it up?
The result? CNET’s lost ground.
Ouch. CNET actually lost ground, or at best tread water, during the holidays.
CNET has a far bigger market share than Gizmodo. But they need to take a few pages from the smaller site’s playbook:
- Talk with your audience, not at them.
- Make your site simpler. Focus on content.
- Have a talk with Jeremiah about community building, guys…
- Oh, and can I recommend a little SEO….?
CNET can recover from this, if they don’t panic and start slapping even more ads up on their site. Only time will tell, though.
Ian Lurie is CEO and founder of Portent Inc. He's recorded training for Lynda.com, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Forbes.com and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, SIC and ad:Tech. Follow him on Twitter at portentint. He also just published a book about strategy for services businesses: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle. Read More