Well, on my earlier post about MP3.com’s relaunch plans, and the stratgeic direction the company wants to take, someone close to the company (who will remain unnamed) has send me some notes…some of it is speculation, so take it as such [Ed: I edited it a bit]:
1. CNET believes its content is a strategic differentiator, but does not like to pay for it. (Nowhere is this more true than News.com.) Like corporate computing white papers, music is “free”; so although there are possible complications with the labels, the free content does drive activity.
2. This activity, which CNET’s Shelby Bonnie like to call “engagement,” is a service that its Gamespot is offering to marketeers. On Gamespot, a vendor can get data showing how users click on news stories, reviews, features, video clips, etc about a certain game. Importantly, one can measure any changes by result of a marketing campaign. Since the head of GS is also heading up MP3.com (the division is now called Entertainment, I’m told), I’d imagine this will be ported.
3. As you guessed, CNET probably will also use activity to drive “leads” — users clicking through to third-party sites to purchase hardware (eg, MP3 players) or perhaps even sanctioned music sales (a la Apple).
The site may also drive use of the home networking section on CNET. Consumer electronics is of many of CNET’s paying advertisers.