Network Solutions/CNET To Cross-Promote
Internet address registrar Network Solutions Inc.
[NASDAQ: NSOL] and computer news and shopping Website CNET Inc.
[NASDAQ: CNET], announced today an agreement to cross promote
each other's online services to consumers.
Under the terms of the agreement, Network Solutions will promote
CNET's services on its "dot com registry" of Internet domain names,
while CNET will serve as another "portal" through which customers
can register domain names with Network Solutions.
Through its News.com and its other editorial properties, CNET has
regularly reported on the legal and business ramifications of Network
Solutions' negotiations with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names
and Numbers (ICANN), a not-for-profit organization charged by the
Commerce Department with introducing competition into the domain name
registration arena. But a NSI spokesperson says the deal is not
a potential conflict of interest on CNET's editorial coverage of NSI.
"This is strictly an advertising deal and an exchange of services," said
Christina Zulandy, an NSI spokesperson. " They don't run their articles by
us before they print them," Zulandy said, of CNET editors.
Zulandy dismissed the notion the company's origins in and relationship
with the Commerce Department could be perceived as a quasi-
government agency endorsing a private product.
"While we may have gotten our contract through the federal government
to develop domain name registrations, we're not owned by the government
in any way," Zulandy said.
Tina Derjana, a spokesperson in the company's public relations office,
claimed there was nothing amiss in the arrangement.
"There's a strong line between advertising and editorial," Derjana said.
"Just because a company like Toshiba is advertising its products on our
site doesn't mean we won't then run a review that's critical of a
product of theirs."
Once the world's only registrar of names in the .com, .org, and .net
domains, Network Solutions recently got the nod from ICANN to remain
the sole registry of names in the .com directory for the next several
with ICANN as the steward of the domain name system (DNS).
News of the deal elicited a mixed response on Wall Street today: By the
time the market closed, each company's stock had shot in opposite
directions on the trading floor, with shares of Network Solutions up almost
3.5 percent, and CNET's shares falling almost nine percent.
Commerce Department officials declined requests for comment for this
Reported by Newsbytes.com, http://www.newsbytes.com .