CNET Channel Delivers Key Enhancements to its DataSource Solution

Wed, 07/06/2005

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. - July 6, 2005 Earlier this year when CNET Channel President Greg Mason addressed our customers at the "Roadmap for Success" Webinar series, he conveyed that we'd continue to make significant improvements to our core data offering, and also be focused on delivering new products and services that will meet our customers evolving needs. CNET Channel has delivered several key enhancements to our DataSource solution.

These key enhancements include:
  • Large Product Images Available for Select SKUs
  • Transition Period to Enhanced OEM Related Products File Structure Concludes July 31, 2005
  • CNET Channel Continues to Collaborate with IBM/Lenovo on Re-Branding Efforts
  • Availability of Product Marketing Descriptions in Swedish, Norwegian, Danish and Finnish
  • PartnerAccess Program Update

We'll provide you with additional updates on new or enhanced products and services as we get closer to rolling them out. And, we'll continue to look ahead for new ways to use our content to help you further improve customer satisfaction, increase revenues and reduce e-commerce costs.

If you have any questions or would like to know specifics on any of the enhancements below, please contact a CNET Channel Customer Support Representative at +1.877.276.5560 (North/South America) or +41.21.943.96.15 (Europe/AsiaPac).

Large Product Images Available for Select SKUs
Beginning the week of August 1st, all DataSource customers will be able to access large product images (400 pixels x 300 pixels) on select IT and consumer electronics SKUs in addition to the standard product images (200 pixels x 150 pixels). These new images will be available through a hosted environment accessible from an add-on text file that maps to SKUs in the existing DataSource platform. Customers will have 24x7 access to a partial catalog of large product images that will be limited to the availability from manufacturers. We will continue to capture large product images as part of the SKU production process, and make them available at no additional charge. This initial offering paves the way for other rich media types CNET Channel will be able to distribute in the near future -- such as multi-angle product images, user's manual PDFs, product videos and more. To take advantage of these large product images, please log-on to the Customer Extranet on or after August 1, 2005, complete the opt-in form and agree to the terms and conditions.

Transition Period to Enhanced OEM Related Products File Structure Concludes July 31, 2005
On November 30, 2004, CNET Channel introduced a new file structure that significantly enhanced the accuracy and coverage of OEM Related Products content. For the past seven months, CNET Channel customers could continue using the existing OEM Related Products file structure or integrate the new feed. Please note that the transition period will conclude on July 31, 2005 and the existing OEM Related Products feed will no longer be distributed. Beginning August 1, 2005, CNET Channel will permanently switch to the new and enhanced OEM Related Products file structure.

CNET Channel Continues to Collaborate with IBM/Lenovo on Re-Branding Efforts
CNET Channel remains committed to handling the IBM/Lenovo global re-branding transition in a coordinated fashion so we can prepare our customers for compliance. We've been participating in weekly calls with the IBM/Lenovo team to understand their global branding guidelines for active and non-active products, to assess required production process enhancements and to agree on a timeline. I'm pleased to announce that CNET Channel has exceeded our production deliverables by modifying the IBM/Lenovo SKUs ahead of schedule.

The activities listed below affect our U.S.-based customers only. Lenovo has not yet provided us with "actively sold products" lists for European or AsiaPac markets -- though they are in the process of finalizing these lists this month. Lenovo confirmed that there is a longer window for customers outside the U.S. to comply with their re-branding requirements.

  • "IBM" brand has been removed from all product lines and product titles of Think-family products (about 31,000 SKUs have been fixed and redistributed)
  • All the product lines for accessories will correspond to the main products those accessories are intended for (e.g. ThinkPad docking station). ThinkPlus product lines will be used for all generic accessories from Lenovo
  • Since May 2005, we have been describing all new Think-family (formerly known as IBM Personal Computer Division) products under the Lenovo manufacturer (about 700 SKUs created so far)
  • Based on the price file with all the actively sold on U.S. market Lenovo's products we have moved a number of SKUs from IBM to Lenovo manufacturer (about 1,400 products affected)
  • We also plan to change the manufacturer name from IBM to Lenovo for a number of active Lenovo's products for other global markets. We are waiting for Lenovo to provide us with a list of those
  • We have reviewed marketing descriptions for all products described under Lenovo or being moved from IBM to make sure "IBM" brand is not mentioned

We'll continue to keep you informed of additional efforts were taking with IBM/Lenovo to help prepare our customers for compliance.

Availability of Product Marketing Descriptions in Swedish, Norwegian, Danish and Finnish
On Thursday, June 30, 2005, we announced that CNET Channel has initiated new production processes that will enable us to distribute Nordic market SKUs with product marketing descriptions in Swedish, Norwegian, Danish and Finnish. Our approach is to begin capturing product marketing descriptions in these languages for the SKUs most frequently requested by our Nordic market customers during the previous 18 months.

PartnerAccess Program Update
PartnerAccess, CNET Channel's program for integrating manufacturers into our production process, was launched in Q4-2004. Since then, PartnerAccess has grown to nearly 325 accounts, and new manufacturers are registering each week. Participating manufacturers have access to the CNET Channel Extranet where they can review their SKUs and run their own data quality checks. Through this review process CNET Channel takes in quality claims directly from the manufacturers which, in turn, helps ensure data accuracy, completeness and speed-to-market for our customers. In addition, manufacturers are encouraged to provide CNET Channel with catalog lists and product content - especially on new product launches. This information is used to help identify and build SKUs that our customers request. Based on this program, we have built direct relationships with leading manufacturers like Symantec, Lenovo and Samsung who regularly provide us with global catalog lists. We encourage you to reach out to the IT and consumer electronics manufacturers in your catalog, or provide us with their contact information, so we can register them for the PartnerAccess program. The CNET Channel PartnerAccess program is offered to manufacturers at no cost.


CNET Channel Contact:
Scott Danish - Vice President, Global Marketing
Phone: +1.415.344.2722
Mobile: +1.415.254.0500