Red Ventures
FormerlyRed F (1999-2003)
Founded2000; 23 years ago (2000)
HeadquartersIndian Land, South Carolina, U.S.
Key people
Ric Elias (CEO)
ServicesMarketing, advertising

Red Ventures is an American media company, which owns and operates brands such as Lonely Planet, CNET, ZDNet, The Points Guy, Healthline and Bankrate.[1] Red Ventures focuses on sites that dispense news, advice, and reviews.[2] The company's corporate headquarters is located in Indian Land, South Carolina, a suburb of Charlotte, North Carolina.[3]


Red Ventures was formed on September 29, 1999,[4] in Fort Mill, South Carolina by Ric Elias and Dan Feldstein.[5] Before its 2020 acquisitions, the company has grown into an international presence with more than 100 brands, 3,000 employees, and operations in the United Kingdom and Brazil.[6]

In 2015, the company got a $250 million investment from Silver Lake.[7] That same year, it doubled the size of its headquarters[8] and bought postal services company Imagitas from Pitney Bowes.[9]

Red Ventures acquired Bankrate Inc. for $1.24 billion in cash in a deal announced July 3, 2017.[10][11]

On September 14, 2020, Red Ventures agreed to purchase the CNET Media Group from ViacomCBS for $500 million.[12] On December 1, 2020, Red Ventures bought Lonely Planet from Tennessee-based NC2 Media.[13]

In 2021, the company had 4,500 employees and 751 million readers per month.[14][15]

Business model

In 2023 The Verge described the business model of the company as "publish[ing] content designed to rank highly in Google search for “high-intent” queries and ... monet[izing] that traffic with lucrative affiliate links.", with a particular focus on financial content such as credit cards.[16] The characterization came after the website Futurism found several articles published by Red Ventures properties, including CNET, were quietly written by artificial intelligence software,[17] with the stories containing numerous inaccuracies and instances of plagiarism.[18] Red Ventures announced layoffs at CNET a few weeks after the reports from The Verge and Futurism, which the company says were unrelated.[19][20]

Futurism additionally highlighted undisclosed AI-generated, SEO-focused content produced by Red Ventures's education division (internally RV EDU). This content promotes schools with which Red Ventures maintains affiliate agreements, such as University of Phoenix (a for-profit college owned by Apollo Global Management) and Liberty University (founded by conservative activist and Baptist pastor Jerry Falwell). Websites operated by RV EDU include,,,, and, "as well as numerous sites with domain names that imply they're nonprofits".[21]


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  1. ^ Hudson, Caroline. "Red Ventures adding jobs as it integrates ViacomCBS' CNET Media Group". Charlotte Business Journal. Retrieved November 13, 2020.
  2. ^ Goldberg, Steve (July 2019). "Why This $2 Billion Business Swears By the 'Pencil Rule'". Inc. Retrieved December 6, 2020.
  3. ^ "Red Ventures CEO: We're going to keep growing". charlotteobserver. Retrieved April 9, 2018.
  4. ^ "Red Ventures LLC". Bloomberg. Retrieved December 6, 2020.
  5. ^ Elkins, Ken (December 29, 2010). "Ric Elias and Dan Feldstein, Red Ventures". Retrieved September 6, 2022.
  6. ^ Sakoui, Anousha (September 14, 2020). "ViacomCBS sells CNET Media for less than half what CBS paid in 2008". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 6, 2020.
  7. ^ De La Merced, Michael (January 7, 2015). "Silver Lake Makes Big Bet on Red Ventures, a Digital Marketing Company". The New York Times. Retrieved December 6, 2020.
  8. ^ Portillo, Ely (November 4, 2015). "Red Ventures breaks ground on project to double size of its headquarters". Charlotte Observer. Retrieved December 6, 2020.
  9. ^ Elkins, Ken (May 28, 2015). "Red Ventures buying company with important postal contract". Charlotte Business Journal. Retrieved December 6, 2020.
  10. ^ Stratton, Ali (July 3, 2017). "Personal Finance Website Bankrate to be Acquired by Marketing Firm Red Ventures". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved December 6, 2020.
  11. ^ Bond, Shannon; Samson, Adam (July 3, 2020). "Bankrate website to be bought by Red Ventures for $1.24bn". Financial Times. Retrieved December 6, 2020.
  12. ^ Mullin, Benjamin. "ViacomCBS to Sell CNET to Red Ventures for $500 Million". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved December 6, 2020.
  13. ^ Muccigrosso, Catherine (December 1, 2020). "Red Ventures gobbles up another familiar brand name. This time it's travel related". The Charlotte Observer. Retrieved December 6, 2020.
  14. ^ Stenberg, Mark (August 4, 2022). "CNET Hires Condé Nast Chief Data Officer". Retrieved August 11, 2022.
  15. ^ Smith, Ben (August 15, 2021). "You've Never Heard of the Biggest Digital Media Company in America". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved August 11, 2022.
  16. ^ Vincent, James (January 19, 2023). "Inside CNET's AI-powered SEO money machine". The Verge. Retrieved January 24, 2023.
  17. ^ "CNET Is Quietly Publishing Entire Articles Generated By AI". Futurism. Retrieved January 24, 2023.
  18. ^ "CNET's AI Journalist Appears to Have Committed Extensive Plagiarism". Futurism. Retrieved January 24, 2023.
  19. ^ "CNET is doing big layoffs just weeks after AI-generated stories came to light". The Verge. Retrieved March 2, 2023.
  20. ^ "CNET Hits Staff With Layoffs After Disastrous Pivot to AI Journalism". Futurism. Retrieved March 2, 2023.
  21. ^ "Leaked Messages Show How CNET's Parent Company Really Sees AI-Generated Content". Futurism. Retrieved February 22, 2023.
  22. ^ "Staying in Red brings new life". November 5, 2007. Retrieved February 8, 2023.
  23. ^ Leadership: Ric Elias, Red Ventures Website, retrieved July 30, 2008.
  24. ^ " : News et informations depuis plus de 20 ans". DirectMag : News et infos depuis plus de 20 ans. (in French). Retrieved February 8, 2023.
  25. ^ Ventures, Red. "Red Ventures Announces Growth Capital Investment by General Atlantic".
  26. ^ "General Atlantic Team - Anton J. Levy". General Atlantic website. Archived from the original on August 24, 2016. Retrieved November 4, 2015.
  27. ^ "Press Release". General Atlantic. Retrieved January 15, 2016.
  28. ^ "Red Ventures buys". Retrieved November 21, 2021.
  29. ^ Merced, Michael J. de la (January 7, 2015). "Silver Lake Makes Big Bet on Red Ventures, a Digital Marketing Company". DealBook. Retrieved March 6, 2017.
  30. ^ a b c "We Are Red Ventures". Retrieved March 6, 2017.
  31. ^ "Red Ventures Acquires Allconnect". Retrieved September 7, 2017.
  32. ^ "Red Ventures Announces Closing of Acquisition of Bankrate, Inc". Retrieved November 8, 2017.
  33. ^ "Red Ventures Acquires". Retrieved May 13, 2019.
  34. ^ "Red Ventures Acquires Healthline Media". Retrieved August 7, 2019.
  35. ^ Spangler, Todd (September 14, 2020). "ViacomCBS Reaches Deal to Sell CNET for $500 Million to Marketing Firm Red Ventures". Variety. Retrieved November 13, 2020.
  36. ^ a b Asimov, Eric (March 10, 2022). "Chowhound Closes After 25 Years of Food Obsession, Wisdom, and Debate". The New York Times.
  37. ^ "Red Ventures Acquires Lonely Planet". Retrieved December 1, 2020.
  38. ^ Burke-Kennedy, Eoin. "Lonely Planet sold to US digital marketing group for undisclosed sum". Irish Times. Retrieved December 6, 2020.
  39. ^ "RV Health, A Red Ventures Business, Acquires from Mercury Healthcare | Red Ventures". Retrieved September 2, 2021.
  40. ^ Lagasse, Jeff (July 13, 2022). "Optum, Red Ventures partner on consumer healthcare platform". Healthcare Finance News. Retrieved September 8, 2022.
  41. ^ Weprin, Alex (October 3, 2022). "TV Guide, Metacritic, GameSpot Acquired by Fandom in $55M Deal With Red Ventures". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved October 3, 2022.