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Chowhound Becomes CNet

Posted on Friday, Mar 24th 2006

CNet recently made a very smart acquisition called Chowhound. I had somehow missed this acquisition, and Rafat Ali did not report it on, so I guess he missed it too.

Chowhound is a grassroots community for serious foodies, and my friend Leslie Huang has helped them with their accounting for a while. It has been a very, very difficult business to run, and as you will read in the interview below with Jim Leff, the founder, they have been running this operation in the red for about 9 years.

Some statistics:

Alexa Rank: 4,499 .
Reach per Million Users: 120 .
Unique Monthly Visitors: 800,000 .
Impressive numbers?

Listen to this: Zagat’s Alexa rank is 5,255, which means Chowhound is more popular than Zagat.

I have to say, I am thrilled to see this outcome for them. Over the years, Leslie has kept us entertained with new restaurant ideas that she garnered from Chowhound, and many of them were absolutely awesome, unique adventures. Sam Lok, a hole in the wall on Jackson Street, comes to mind as one that was so off-beat and authentic, that it drove my Chinese friend, Joey, visiting from Boston over New Years a few years back, into fits of ecstasy!

Here is an interview with Jim Leff, the founder. I had the pleasure of meeting him once at a Chowhound dinner in Chinatown, San Francisco some years back.

Well, congratulations, Jim, well done!

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CNET Networks Buys ChowHound; Gets Into Foodie Community…

You want proof of why CNET won’t or can’t be sold? It is getting weirder and weirder by the day. Take this: it has bought out serious foodie website Chowhound. When I lived in NYC in late 90s and…… Friday, March 24, 2006 at 7:58 PM PT

As long as Cnet doesn’t mashup its brands–it makes for an interesting buy. But selling advertsing will require a different salesforce and maybe some extra food sites for the aggregated sales call.

Tom Foremski Monday, March 27, 2006 at 10:01 AM PT

I don’t think so. Look at what Google is doing with Nike for Soccer ( If CNet does an anchor advertiser relationship like Amex, Mastercard or Visa, they’re pretty much all set. Engineering that deal is not rocket science.

Sramana Mitra Thursday, March 30, 2006 at 12:34 PM PT

[…] I just wrote about CNet’s acquisition of Chowhound. […]

Sramana Mitra on Strategy » Blog Archive » Food, The New Phenomenon Tuesday, April 4, 2006 at 2:40 PM PT

[…] CNet buys baby site, care site, and expands beyond tech, reports Rafat Ali. Earlier, they bought food site Chowhound. […]

Sramana Mitra on Strategy » Blog Archive » CNet’s Savvy Steps Tuesday, July 25, 2006 at 11:49 AM PT

Great piece keep it up.

Dan Kaplan Monday, June 25, 2007 at 1:35 PM PT