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CNET UK is 5 years old!

It's our birthday, and we'll cry if we want to. Yes, CNET UK is 5 years old today -- and we're looking back at the best bits of the last five years

CNET UK is 5! There's a bouncy castle in the car park, we've got a crap magician doing card tricks and a clown just made somebody cry. Today is our fifth birthday, as CNET UK launched exactly five years ago on 18 May 2005. Here, have some cake.

That's five years of expert reviews, informative videos and witty blog posts. From our birth as an entirely autonomous UK outpost of the CNET brand, in those five years we've experienced astonishing growthiness, with independent body the ABCe telling us we have 5.8 million unique users per month.

When we're not winning prestigious awards for our cutting-edge video, we're finding time to knock out an April Fool's story that's been liked by some 65,000 people on Facebook. Our US overlords liked Crave so much, they borrowed the idea. We moved into spiffy new offices in 2007, along with our buddies at GameSpot UK, silicon.com, ZDNet UK and TV.com, before the global CNET Network was snapped up by megabroadcaster CBS for nearly $2bn, just before our third birthday back in 2008.

Genesis of the CNETers

It wasn't always like this. Crave paved the way before the launch of the full site on 18 May 2005, crewed by Michael Parsons, Mary Lojkine, Nick Hide, Guy Cocker, Rupert Goodwins and Chris Stevens. The first words written in this 'ere blog were "Apple's the best brand on Earth at the moment" -- clearly some things never change.

But five years is a long time in technology: those early reviews took in such technological marvels as the 4-megapixel Sony Cyber-shot DSC-L1 snapper, or the Sharp 902, the first UK mobile phone with a 2-megapixel camera. In 2005 there was no iPhone, no 3D television, not even Twitter -- and joining us for our baby steps in that same year was a little site called YouTube.

It's a tough job, but someone's got to do it

CNET UK was there for the birth of the netbook and the ascendance of the smart phone; we're all over the coming of the iPad tablet and 3D TV; and we're always excited about whatever's coming next.

We've acclaimed the greatest gadgets, and cast out the worst. We've been to the ends of the Earth to bring you the technology stories you need to know about, from the mountains of Morocco and the autobahns of Europe to the annual carnage of CES Las Vegas.

We've ridden the tube with the heaviest laptop ever, pitted plug against plug, taken a kerrazy cab ride with Gail Porter, and wandered the streets of London with the only iPhone in Britain. And we've been continually baffled why people are still commenting on a three-year-old story about turning your iPod into a Ouija board.

The authoritative reviews will continue, and so will the entertaining and informative features, on everything from the 50 most significant moments of Internet history to the world's best off switches. We've asked, and answered, such weighty technological puzzlers as what powers the BBC's iPlayer, will the Large Hadron Collider kill us all, and how tall is Doctor Who?

The site has been through a number of facelifts and growth spurts in our five years of evolution. We've added the legendary CNET UK podcast, and got your feedback in the forums. We've made friends on Facebook and Twitter, and given some people the right hump on Slashdot. But we're not resting on our laurels, and in fact we're working hard behind the scenes to bring you even more cool new stuff this year.

Haven't we grown?

The line-up has changed too. Some of the ol' firm have sadly moved on, but are still very much immersed in the tech world. Michael now runs Wired UK, recently joined by Nate Lanxon's immaculate coiffeur. Chris survives as a soldier of fortune in the app development underworld -- his company made the Alice in Wonderland iPad app that Oprah loved -- while former phone gnome Andrew Lim is editor of mobile phone site Recombu.

But it's hard to leave CNET behind, and still in the same building are Guy Cocker, now editor of GameSpot UK, while Rupert is grand poobah of ZDNet UK, and Mary is in charge of keeping the the back end of this site at the cutting edge of design and development.

Behind the scenes, Kate Macefield, Shannon Doubleday, Marian Hyde-Smith, Charles Kloet and long-standing -- or should that be long-suffering -- chief sub Nick Hide have wielded the sub-editor's red pen, shepherding arrant speling (sick) and errant <p> tags, as well as regularly coming up with some diamond puns. That's not to mention the assorted freelancers, interns, IT and ops nerds, and sales teamsters who've kept the site running.

The current editorial team is overseen by editor Jason Jenkins, with Ian Morris running the podcast and reviewing home cinema. Computer guru Rory Reid has taken CNET UK out on the road with the launch of Car Tech, alongside video producers Drew Stearne and Alper Cagatay. Camera chap turned news editor Rich Trenholm was followed by mobile expert Flora Graham, with fresh-faced Luke Westaway rounding out the team this year.

The future -- and beyond!

So what happens next? Hopefully, hoverboards. Let us know in the comments what you're hoping for from the next five years -- and let us know your favourite bits from the past five years of CNET UK. Thanks for reading, watching, listening, contributing, and just generally being so darn attractive. Keep it Crave, and keep it CNET UK -- here's to another five years!