Web Portals

What if there were a site on the Internet where you could go and find most of what you needed most of the time? This is the premise of the so-called "portal" site. Why would a site aspire to be a portal? Advertising and a steady source of revenue from loyal users.

What could portal sites offer that would not only attract tons of users but keep them at the site as long as possible? Searching, free email, chat, stock quotes, shopping, personalized home pages, etc. You have most likely heard of many of the largest (and busiest) portals. The list is headed by sites formerly known as "mere" search engines: Yahoo!, Excite, Lycos, InfoSeek, AltaVista. Other major portals are American Online (AOL) and Netscape's Netcenter.

There is so much money to be made in the portal market that late 1998 and early 1999 have seen a frenzy of mergers and takeovers. Yahoo! bought Geocities (and thereby gained all of its free web site users). Excite was purchased by At Home. Lycos was bought by Barry Diller's USA and is now known as USA Lycos Interactive Network. Infoseek (as a part of the Disney/ABC family) is launched the GO Network portal. And AOL bought Netscape.

The Internet is busy, once more, re-inventing itself. Which portal(s) will survive?

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Last Modified: 11/16/99