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Innovators: online

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"Innovation is in the DNA of this company," said Barry Briggs, COO of CNET Networks. "Because we care a lot about how we make the user experience great and how we make the marketer's experience great, CNET has been striving to be a different type of media company from day one."

A 20-year veteran of publishing, Briggs is fascinated by interactive media's ability to capture information that can be used to improve the experience and results of marketers as well as users. That capability is exemplified by CNET's 2-year-old proprietary reporting tool called Business Technology Trax, or BT Trax.

BT Trax determines which content items are associated with a given technology or company, from news stories to white papers. It then tracks every move of 6 million users, uncovering hot topics and vendors, preferences and aversions. "Everyone talks about whether or not the Internet is as effective for branding as for lead generation," Briggs said. "We can answer that. We can share with our marketers where they stand in awareness and consideration at each phase of the buying process."

Moreover, with that information, CNET can help a marketer move the needle. "Let's say that there are three competitive vendors that people are reading about more, linking to more and downloading more white papers from," Briggs explained. "Once we know that, we can offer several powerful ways to push that [fourth-place] marketer into greater awareness. Then, we can clearly document the results."

-M.G.

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