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Suddenly relevant

Since 1993, Shelby Bonnie has dreamed of creating a 24-hour cable channel. More than a decade later, the combination of the Internet, and CNet, the company he co-founded, has helped him to get closer to that reality. Well, sort of.

"Where Web sites are going is what cable networks should become," the boyish-looking Bonnie said to me recently. He's not alone, of course. Most people -- well most people I associate with -- believe that the billions of URL pages are just the extension of those hundreds of cable channels. Bonnie predicts that in three to five years, the Internet will look a lot like TV, or vice versa.  Of course, Web TV will be a more robust, potentially cacophonous, and undoubtedly on-demand, experience as the consumer participates in the creation of the content he or she is consuming.

It's that control by the masses -- whereby a person is both consumer and creator -- that's making it interesting to see how and which content sites become relevant to major marketers.

Years ago, cable companies had to reach 40 million homes before they could become a priority for marketers, said Bonnie, one of the few Internet founders remaining at the helm of an Internet company.  They reached this "mainstream" threshold and became "suddenly relevant" to advertisers, he said. What does it take to be relevant today?

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