Summary:

CNET Networks’ latest non-geek consumer play Chow.com (placeholder for now), gets a pre-launch intro in just the right place to set it aside…

chowlogo.gifCNET Networks’ latest non-geek consumer play Chow.com (placeholder for now), gets a pre-launch intro in just the right place to set it aside from geekdom: the NYT Dining section, where Lorne Manly explains the planned blend of hipness, tech tools and food. The site soft launches next week with a full rollout planned for September. CNET is applying the same pattern already used with general-interest sites TV.com and MP3.com — acquire core assets and build a new enterprise on the foundation. In this case, the base is a mix of foodie message board Chowhound, founded in 1997, and Chow magazine/ChowMag.com, founded in 2004 by Jane Goldman, who is the site’s editor in chief. Goldman’s explanation at Chowmag.com: “Together we’re busily creating the site that we started building independently. Except now it’s going to be a lot snazzier. They know their technology over there at CNET.”
The competition is stiff. Scripps’ FoodNetwork.com and Conde Nast’s epicurious.com (Bon Appetit, Gourmet) have the benefit of TV and print. As Manly points out, AOL Food has the obvious portal benefit.
How will CNET compete with the likes of Rachel Ray for the attention of 25-45 year olds interested in food and drink? In part, I suspect,

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