CNET Charges for Download.com Listings

CNET has developed a new advertising revenue opportunity by charging for listings at Download.com, the site millions of visitors come to for free trial software downloads.

The paid listings program, which begins today, replaces a service that has been free for the past 10 years, according to Scott Arpajian, senior vice president of CNET Network Downloads. “We introduced a number of marketing opportunities and a flat charge for submissions,” he says.

There are long listings of software programs at Download.com under categories such as Internet, business and games. A few of the programs are listed at the tops of pages with larger type. Software publishers have paid fees for those listings in the past while others ran for free. Now publishers will pay for all the listings, choosing from a basic listing for a $99 one time fee to silver, gold and elite listings that offer additional features, such as keyword listings, monthly performance statistics and “comprehensive promotional opportunities,” which include the large headlines.

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“We’re offering opportunities for publishers to separate themselves out from the others,” Arpajian says of the premiere listings that will cost $299 a month for gold. “The key difference is incremental promo for the products, faster processing for titles and bolder listings at the top of the page.”

About 40,000 products from 25,000 publishers are listed at Download.com.

When asked why CNET is charging for the listings now, Arpajain says, "The software market is continuing to grow and we're an important distribution partner. Publishers get exposure when their products come out and it's a way to generate revenue."

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